Monday, September 14, 2009

You Wanna Fight About It?

Last night as we were settling in to sleep (after our nightly Gilmore Girls episode), we heard our duplex neighbors arguing. Our sweet, adorable, happy newlywed neighbors were fighting. This may be wrong to admit, but I felt a bit relieved. Mike and I get into our fair share of arguments and, although I try to keep them hushed, sometimes our tempers get the best of us and I'm sure our upstairs neighbors can hear us. The other day when our neighbor asked how I was doing, I secretly wondered if he’d overheard us arguing the night before. Paranoid? Probably, but since most people don't acknowledge that they get into fights with their significant other, it can make me feel like a total angry bear to fight with Mike. So hearing our neighbors raise their voices in frustration made me feel a little more normal.

Fighting can be healthy; I’d much rather get into an argument with Mike than fail to acknowledge that one of us is hurt or frustrated. As our priest-slash-friend-slash-teacher always told us, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Working out our differences can lead to raising our voices and feeling frustrated – but it’s much better than burying our feelings or pretending everything is fine. Admittedly, we’re both rather sensitive, so I think we tend to get hurt and into disagreements as a consequence. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though – because I love Mike. I know quite a few couples who claim to never get into arguments- and to them I say, “Pshaw!”

No, really, if it works for you – that’s amazing. I’m jealous. Seriously – I’d much rather get along with Mike 100% of the time.

We don’t always fight pretty – sometimes I say silly things like, “You’re a jerk!” because apparently I’m quite juvenile. And sometimes I stomp off because I’m just so mad. Sometimes we’re funny fighters and we end up tickling each other or laughing at how petty we are being. There are many fights due to one of us overreacting. It can so very frustrating to try and express myself and feel misunderstood. Sometimes I feel as though we’re speaking different languages – we’re both saying the same thing but can’t seem to understand each other.

I share all of this not because we had a really big fight recently - yesterday was great, actually. (Although we did get into an argument on Friday because I didn’t want to sneak a brownie into a movie: “Seriously, where am I supposed to hide a gooey German chocolate brownie? Let’s just cram it in our mouths! Fine, we won’t see the movie, then.” (I told you we have silly fights.))

I share this because I think we can romanticize other people’s relationships. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that Mike and I are a “perfect couple.” I sort of want to laugh and tell them a story about one of our fights. Perfection is overrated. My mother once told me about when she and my father were young and married – they fought often and my mom remembers saying in the heat of an argument­, “I bet Sue and George* never fight!”. Only to find out later that Sue and George were saying the very same thing about them.

When we imagine that others never argue, we conclude there must be something wrong with us. Instead of seeing fighting as a part of sharing my life with another person, but as an inherent flaw in our compatibility, I start to doubt us. I think we do a disservice to other couples when we pretend everything is perfect.

Let’s stop pretending we don’t fight, get frustrated, or cry. I’m admitting that my relationship isn’t perfect and we fight – do you?

* “Sue” and “George” are totally not their names - it’s my mom’s cousin and her husband.


  1. Love this, I totally agre- and I adore you even more for putting this out there. <3

  2. I am ABSOLUTELY admitting to both those things! In the first three years of our relationship (we're now going on eight), there were a number of big fights that, in retrospect, I find helped our relationship. You're never going to become a really solid couple by not expressing how you feel and how your SO makes you feel. Now we don't really have big blowouts ... more like bickering that's usually over in a day or less. The best thing is knowing that other people go through this, too, and that it doesn't make you a failure to fight about stuff. Thanks for posting this. :)

  3. YES! Thank you for saying things like this, because it's so true: so many people talk about the good times in their relationships, & rarely ever talk about the ugly times.

    In a way, though, your friends are right. You & Mike ARE a perfect couple, because you DO fight & you admit that you fight. :]

  4. We definitely argue! I think the occasional butting of heads is healthy in a relationship.

    My mom insists that she and my stepdad never fight, but I think that's rubbish. Whenever I hear people say that they don't fight with their significant others, I wonder which of the pair is too passive to address whatever issue there is. That's no way to live--just get it out there! Feelings may be hurt temporarily, but then you move on. And if you can't move on, well, then you weren't meant to be together.

    I always find myself thinking, "This fight is dumb. And I love him more than I care about X."

  5. We don't like yell fight, but I'll say something like you.."you're being mean!"...and proceed to stomp off and lay in bed like I'm 5 years old. Yeah, I'm awesome. And then of course if he doesn't come find me in the next few minutes that makes me even more mad :) LOL!

  6. Wow. So funny that you posted this. I'm facing some issues in my relationship about this same thing. This was oddly comforting.

  7. “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

    I just heard this recently and absolutely LOVE it.

    Thanks for the reminder, and for sharing this little peek into your relationship!

  8. God, SO TRUE: "I think we can romanticize other people’s relationships."

    I really think that's true about all aspects of our friends' lives though, that whole "grass is greener" thing.

    Great, poignant reminder honey.

  9. Great post and perfect timing for me as well. I have been getting so frustrated recently with so much stuff neither of us can control that any little thing puts me over the edge.

    Just this morning I said I give up and we now have a weekly chore list. I feel so pathetic that I have to have a chore list for my husband.

    I guess if that is worst of it then it's really not that bad and even though you didn't mention anything like that your post made me realize that.

  10. i totally agree, this is so very true and it is so great to read that we are in fact normal because we do fight!

    lovin your blog!

  11. So true, everyone fights sometimes, even if they're a mellow couple. I know that because I'm one half of a mellow couple who every now and again, have a little fight. But we make it up. :)

  12. Great post. Mr. Right and I have been working on facing our hurt feelings and disagreements rather than just burying them inside. He claims he just 'got over it' but really, it's just him trying not to acknowledge the problem. But I really believe that a healthy relationship has it's share of arguments. It's conflict resolution that really counts!

  13. This is so true! In fact I just wrote about the same topic a month ago!

    Everyone fights, and really I think it's healthy for a relationship instead of sweeping it all under the rug and seething with resentment or letting one person totally control everything.

    Glad to know other people are writing about the same things, and good for you in putting it out there! No need to pretend we're all 'perfect couples'

  14. haha we had a fight in a parking lot because R wanted me to sneak a litre of pepsi in to the movie, but I had neglected to bring my purse ergo had nowhere good to put it. Meanwhile I'm all "who needs a litre of pepsi anyway?"

  15. Loved your post!! Yes, we have our moments, arguments, fights, etc. and most of the time over "nothing very important", which I feel very fortunate about! We will be married 14 years this month and I love him even more than the day we said, "I Do" if that is possible...I think arguments are healthy for a relationship, but I always want to talk it out right away, apologize if necessary and move on.....

  16. Thanks so much for posting this, Ash. Truthfully, I remember once comparing myself and John to you and your boy, thinking, I bet they don't get in ridiculous, bickering fights like this! ... thinking that you and Mike really are the perfect couple! Or Kyla and her boy must be the best, non-fighting couple! Thanks for reminding me that everyone has fights and that it's important to talk through fights so you can learn a lesson, work through issues and then go back to cuddling and watching silly TV shows and all the good stuff. Love you! And you and Mike really are the sweetest couple! Glad you guys are real too. XOXO

  17. We totally fight! It makes me upset too when we do because I don't want to be fighting but then it happens. I completely agree about the different languages thing. We're both very sensitive people too and it's frustrating sometimes. It's nice to read your post and see that you two as a couple do it too.

  18. ha love this post and totally know exactly what you mean! my hubby and i are still technically newlyweds (until october) and so i think we're expected to be all starry-eyed and in love. we do love each other, SO MUCH, but we also bicker and argue like we've been married for 30 years. at first i wondered if this was bad, but it's us and are personalities and at the end of the day, we're a happy couple :)

    thanks for admitting this though-makes me feel better!

  19. Though I don't typically blog about it, Husband and I definitely argue. Not a lot (what is "a lot," anyway?), but it happens. Being two different people, it's bound to happen. Arguments can be constructive, though; they can be learning/growing experiences. :)

    Thanks for saying what so many of us could say.

  20. I love the fact that you put this out there for all of us to read. It's so true- people start to think that there's something wrong with their relationship if they ever argue. It's great to see someone who obviously has a strong marriage open up & admit to the fact that even though it is strong and happy, that doesn't mean it's always perfect.
    Great post!

  21. I adore this, because honestly, you and Mike do seem like the PERFECT couple who could never yell, fight or disagree on anything.

    For the first two years of our relationship Ju & I actually didn't fight. Ever, about anything. I'm so glad we didn't, but in hindsight it was likely because we were fighting a much bigger battle together. We HAD to be there for each other, and it made us incredibly strong. But because we didn't fight for so long, our first fight was so shocking. I remember sitting on the floor, confused, on the verge of tears and just repeating 'But we don't fight.. This isn't US.."

    We've been together for 5 years now and we certainly argue from time to time, mostly about silly things. The arguments are usually my fault as I tend to be a little dramatic, though I don't see it that way at the time. It makes us human. & she knows I absolutely adore her, even as I storm out of a room.

  22. I'm glad we're not the only ones. We just had a pathetic & lame fight the other day. Sometimes we find ourselves laughing but then I get frustrated because he doesn't think I'm serious about it anymore and I'm trying so hard to get my point in his head. :)

  23. I really appreciated knowing this one couple at church- she was very open about fighting with her husband- and used it openly as an excuse for why she was late or something like that. It was really nice to know that we were not the only ones who fought. Good post.

  24. yup! we sure do. not a lot. not often. but if one of us is upset or needs to get something off our chest we do it. then we make up :) i LOVE the quote "the opposite of love is not hate... it is indifference"

  25. We do too. :) I rather call it arguing than fighting though. I remind myself that arguing sounds nice... netter... more romantic. Haha!

  26. I think we all get in arguments with our SOs, whether or not we are willing to admit it.

    My boy and I? When we argue, it's not pretty, but we do it. And then we figure out a way to work through it and make things better. It might take a little time, but we're better off for it.

    Glad we aren't the only ones who get into arguments!

  27. I think we can romanticize other people’s relationships.

    Ashley, you are my hero. I've had to deal with this EXACT THING so much throughout my marriage. Of course, it's always me comparing my marriage to other marriages/couples (oh, the jealousy thing gets to me every time).

    I must confess that after meeting you and your hubby, I was totally jealous of you two. I kept thinking how you were so cute together and probably never fought, and that I wish Jay and I were more like you two. Nice, eh? It's something I've been working on a lot lately, though - learning that I have to appreciate exactly what I have to come home to...which is absolutely perfect for ME.

    I have so much respect for you, writing a post like this. I really wish that more people were open and honest about the (normal! regular! supposed-to-be-there!) struggles in marriage. Fighting? Totally normal. And honestly, with each argument Jay and I have, I walk away feeling like we've really learned something about eachother...and about how to "fight" the right way.

    You are a gem.


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