As a married couple, how should we fight?

My husband and I were never good at it. Or were we TOO good? This picture of us paints a super pretty tale that was never super pretty. We fought ALL THE TIME early in our marriage until just a few years ago.

We named-called. We doled out silent treatments. We brought up past grievances. We kept score. We competed. We held grudges. We did all the wrong things.

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I can’t say that we never fight now. But it is very rare, and when we do, we laugh and make up quickly. Even when it’s hard. Pride does not belong in a marriage. Neither does being right (trust meif you are not both winning, then you are both losing).

So my unsolicited advice after 15 years of marriage?

Forgive and do it quickly. Right now.

Whatever you are holding onto in your marriage, big or small, forgive it and move on. Grudges are slow poison. You can’t even see the damage it’s doing until one day you are on the floor spewing bile and wishing for death.

Respect and validate each other’s opinions. Don’t discount your spouse’s feelings or differences of opinion. No one wants to feel disregarded by the person who is supposed to value them the most in this world.

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If things get heated, walk away from it and come back after 10-20 minutes. Pray. That’s the quickest way for me to calm down. Works every time.

Do counseling and/or marriage enrichment classes, workshops, and books. Not whenever you have time because then it will never happen. Make time.

Don’t let marriage get comfortable. Keep growing as a couple.

Prioritize your marriage above your parents, above your friends, above even (I know this may be hard for many) your kids. This is God’s purpose for marriage, seriously. Kids will grow up and move out. Marriage is for life.

Inject God into your marriage more. Pray together. Read devotions and the Bible together. Worship together. When God is in it, miracles happen. I know because it did for us.

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My marriage is still a work in progress. It always will be. The important thing is that every day, I am learning how to love my husband how God intended him to be loved by his wife.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

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Melissa Neeb

I'm a Minnesota native and lover of nature, WW2 memoirs, rescue dogs, photography, and thrifting. My husband and two teenagers are the great loves of my life. I am passionate about advocating for addiction recovery, writing about parenting, life, faith, and everything in between.