I grew up hearing things like, “You know they love each other because they fight like cats and dogs,” and “They fight because they both care so much.” Some of those crazy fighting kids are still happily married, and sadly some are not. I don’t know what the final straw was for those who didn’t last, but I do know when I met my husband and quickly fell deeply in love with him I expected that eventually we’d have some big, gnarly disagreements.
But do you know what? Seventeen years later, I can say we don’t fight. Not ever.
Now, I’m not talking about quit-leaving-your-wet-towel-on-my-side-of-the-bed level gripes. We have plenty of those. I just can’t remember to hang up my towels! I’m talking about actual fights; the kind where someone needs to slam a door, and you wonder if marrying this guy was a mistake. We’ve never had a real fight. In fact, my husband has never even raised his voice at me.
Now I’m not trying to paint too rosy a picture. Remember, no fighting also means no make-up sex. Every silver lining has a cloud.
Does a fightless marriage seem suspicious to you? You’re not alone. People are generally dubious when I mention that we don’t fight. They instantly try to figure out how we accomplish this uncommon state of affairs.
“Well you must just be ultra compatible.”
Actually we disagree quite a lot.
“It’s because you’re the perfect couple.”
(insert uproarious laughter)
“You must love each other sooo much!”
Well, yes, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, we married each other.
I’ve even had one person suggest that I must be brainwashed.
That person didn’t know me very well.
The truth is for a long time I wasn’t really sure why we didn’t fight, so I would try to explain it away by saying it’s because each of us is so confident in our own rightness that we saw no point in trying to convince the other, or that I was content to let him be wrong. I’ve even surmised that we were just too lazy to fight. And I can honestly say that all of those things are often true. But the real, deeper reason is so much simpler.
The real reason we don’t fight is that we just decided not to.
Somewhere along the line, without even talking about it, we both decided that our relationship is more important than being right. Our love is bigger, and peace in our home is more important than whatever earthly junk we may disagree about, and there is plenty.
It just isn’t always necessary to give oneself over to anger.
No, we’re not perfect. Occasionally one of us (usually me) does get a crazy hair and try to pick a fight. Fortunately, so far, when that has happened, the other person has been stronger, and just refused to participate. Have you ever tried to fight with someone who won’t argue back, or just outright apologizes?
Honestly, it’s grounds for going to bed mad, which contrary to popular advice, I consider a perfectly valid tension diffuser. Everything usually looks better after a good night’s sleep, and a cup of coffee is as good an olive branch as any olive branch.
I’m not condemning you if you do marriage differently. Like I said before, fighting within the context of an otherwise healthy marriage usually comes from a place of caring. And the occasional blow out can certainly be justified and smoothed over. You were worried. He really thought his idea would work best. You both cool down and move on.
But if the fighting isn’t working for you, or is bringing you to a place where you‘re not sure it‘s worth it any more, why not try another way? What would happen in your marriage if you both decided to occasionally let one slide, or walk away for a minute, or even go to bed angry?
What if you decided to just love each other through it?
Marriage is such a precious gift.
Don’t put it on the line over something as fickle as human emotion.