There are some things I know, and many many many things I don’t. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert at any one thing but I have learned a few things along the 29 years of my existence that I’d like to think I do well… or try to anyway.
I often get asked by my lady friends, and occasional male friend, about my relationship with my hubs. How do we make it work so well? Do we ever fight? Is there ever any drama? To answer the questions, I’ll start with the latter of the three.
We began dating when I was 22 years old, a time when I was over-confident, over-righteous, loved to party and gossip with my girlfriends late into the night. I had dated a few guys, but nothing was ever too successful. Each relationship, I would nit-pick at everything because I never felt the guy was perfect (and I, of course, was) and would quickly get bored. We’d fight, I would cry, then I would get mad, then I might cry again and then eventually I’d get sick of the back and forth and walk out (unless they beat me to it). Then I would get on the phone, and rant about it for hours with my girlfriends about these crappy guys (sorry if any are reading this, I don’t actually mean it!) and eventually get over it. I would tell my friends “I just HATEEEEE the drama!!! UGH!!!!” but in reality, I brought it with me where ever I went. It was thrilling!
Anyway, so after about eight months of dating my now hubs, I picked another fight just because. I honestly don’t remember what it was about, but I know I was getting “bored” with how well things were going and was getting the itch to spice things up. I began my usual tirade when hubs ever so clearly interrupted my rant in a very calm and relaxed demeanour and said, “are you bored? Do you just like drama? Because none of this makes any sense.” In any other circumstance, I probably would have punched the guy in the face for calling me out, but he was so calm, and almost concerned, that it actually made me stop and think. What the heck am I doing? What am I really arguing about? What’s the actual issue? I quickly realized there was none, and that is when I learned my first lesson:
1. Stop the drama and enjoy the calm.
This lesson was revolutionary to me in how I would approach my relationship. Did I need the gossip? Was it even healthy? Nope. Not for me, not for him, not for all those who would partake in my late night rants.
Now this doesn’t mean we don’t ever fight. Sure, every couple does. We just both know to pick our battles. We are both hard-headed mules so to hold our ground on every single thing we disagree on would be a constant war. He often drives me crazy with some of his outrageous opinions (and I’m sure I do the same) but before I open my mouth and lose it, I always think “Is this really worth it? where will this get me?”. But above all, is this really the time? Which brings me to my second lesson:
2. Acknowledge the context in which the conversation/situation is taking place.
Did he just come home from work and all fired up by something that happened at the office? Is he just getting ready for bed? There is plenty of time in the day, pick your battles at a time when he isn’t already on edge or so tired that he just needs sleep. And this is a two-way street; he knows better than to pick a fight with me right when I wake up in the morning or when I’ve had an especially rough day. When you really think about it, most arguments can wait… at least an hour or two.
Finally, how do we make it work? Many factors go into this, and we are constantly working on improving things, but here are a few more lessons we have learned over time:
3. Never go to sleep angry. This small piece of advice was given to me on my wedding day by one of our guests. We have religiously stuck to this cardinal rule, except for once where we went to bed not speaking to each other. BIG MISTAKE. That led to lots of hurt feelings and some tears. We swore we’d never go to bed angry again.
4. He isn’t a mind reader, communicate your expectations. If you didn’t communicate, he simply did not know. You could argue this until you’re blue in the face but at the end of the day, it’s kind of true. This goes for anything, learn to communicate properly and be aware of the impact the non-verbal has as well.
5. Be grateful. One thing I have to say is that we have nearly mastered this little lesson. Anytime either one of us does anything nice for each other, or generally does a task the other didn’t want to do, we thank each other. Example: I can’t even recall one time where one of us did the dishes and the other didn’t thank them for doing it. I feel appreciated and he does too. It’s simply the nice thing to do and it’s not very difficult.
6. Trust that at the end of the day, they don’t actually want to hurt you. Nobody who truly loves another person wants to see the other person sad or hurt because of their actions. So when I’m feeling sad or disappointed, I try to remind myself that he wouldn’t intentionally try to make me feel this way and that he deserves the benefit of the doubt to explain. When you take this perspective, it makes a world of difference both for you and the health of your relationship.
7. Finally, don’t fight in public. It really isn’t fun for anyone. It’s humiliating for your partner and makes everyone else around you uncomfortable. Very rarely is that ever worth it.
What lessons or rules of love do you stand by to make your relationship work?