I learned a whole lot about myself overwhelmingly fast when I got married two years ago. I learned I am quite particular about my routines, unbeknownst to me, and that I am highly emotional. (We lived in a loft our first 6 months, and there were NO DOORS except to the bathroom. I spent many hours crying… ok ok WAILING… in the bathtub because it was the only place of solitude!) Now I look back at this and find it hilarious. God knew what was up when we decided to move into a loft for our first apartment together. I learned also, contrary to what reigned true my entire life up to that point, that I am very opinionated, fiery, and downright a fighter in disagreements with my husband. I had no idea this human existed inside of me before moving in with Paul. Up until marriage, I classified myself as VERY passive, very non-confrontational, and terrified of upsetting someone. Paul and I are both very passionate + opinionated in all areas of life, but especially toward one another, which means that those beneficial qualities can also be our greatest nemesis in marriage. We are fighters, but we are also very open and honest about that truth with others.
I stand by the statement that conflict is good- as long as it doesn’t get ugly.
(And we have had our share of ugly, too.)
Finding healthy ways to resolve conflict early on in our marriage was the greatest struggle we went through as a young couple. (And, even still, it doesn’t come easy.) In an ideal world, maybe this is you and if so… I envy it, you and your hubs get into a fight and a few minutes later he walks in, sweeps you off your feet, kisses you passionately and says, “are we done yet?” Let me tell you what doesn’t happen in the Morrison household- that. Not even just because Paul doesn’t do that, but because even if he did, I would probably smack him upside the head for trying to kiss me while angry. 😉 Movies give us such an unrealistic expectation of how conflict resolution might look in love, especially as hopeless romantic women, but it just isn’t reality for most. Paul and I BOTH are not naturally going to come in, apologize, listen (and ACTUALLY listen, not just for the next rebuttal), and then kiss and make up. I was (am) a talker; when conflict happens I want to immediately talk through it and fix it. I have always been a fixer to a fault. I learned that Paul needs space, though. If I press him for answers and responses right after a disagreement, it will only further the conflict. Likewise, Paul had to meet me in the middle, because I fear brushing things under the rug and moving on as if it didn’t happen. This is what wells up within me the need to talk immediately. (Plus, I just really love my husband and don’t like fighting.)
We are absolutely, 100%, nowhere near “experts” on conflict. Unless, of course, you consider experts by quantity, because then that might absolutely qualify us. But, Paul and I came up with a list of things together that keep us fighting for one another even in the midst of conflict that we think might help you, too.
Fighting For The Same Team (AKA: Each Other)
1. Fight For Date Night
I cannot even count how many date nights we have left for still in the middle of a fight that either started two days before or just seconds before walking out the door. I am talking like, sitting on the bed in my heels and dress fuming, but when asked if we are staying home I say, “NO WAY, ARE YOU CRAZY? IT’S DATE NIGHT AND WE ARE GOING ON A DANG DATE.” If you are a man reading this- I feel like you can probably say, “yeah, that sounds about right…” Women are complex. 😉
Paul and I are FIRM believers in date night. Whether it is a tight budget month and we just go grab drinks and take a walk around the park or it’s a fancy dinner date we get to blow a bunch of money on, Friday nights are ours. Paul and I don’t see each other much throughout the week (we are talking, like, Thursdays if we are lucky), so we are very selfish for date nights together. No matter what the fight, if we leave for date night not talking, we come back home as a unit. There’s just something about setting aside time to pursue one another that fixes things. I am telling you, do NOT back out of a date night just because you are upset at one another.
2. Leave It, Come Back
I don’t particularly LIKE this one, but it’s true. Like I said, I tend to want to talk right away, but that’s not always wise. “Don’t let the sun down on your anger” is a verse in the bible, and OBVIOUSLY I believe this to be without error and completely true. But, where I think people take this the wrong direction is feeling the need to work it all out before you go to bed. This isn’t true. Paul and I MANY times have gone to bed still in complete disagreement, but we are not bitter, spiteful, or angry toward one another. Do you see the difference? Sometimes the best thing you can do is leave it, then readdress it whether it is 30 minutes later or 10 hours later.
3. You Don’t Have to Win
We are human- winning is the best feeling. We like to win and be told we are right. We want to hear that our rebuttals were logical + well put together as if we are on debate team, circa 2009. In love, though, sometimes “winning” isn’t in the best interest of your marriage or your spouse as an individual. Winning an argument, meaning getting the response you want, might not happen exactly as you want it to or when you want it to. Having this expectation will only harm you, make you bitter, and leave you unsatisfied by any growth your spouse DOES have in the future on whatever the topic. Loving your spouse despite your differences in opinion means that you might not hear what you want, but in the best interest of your marriage, that’s perfectly fine. Then, if you still feel it is something that needs further discussion, have a mentor who is unbiased that can lead you through resolution. (Meaning a middle ground!)
4. Never Stop Laughing + Trying to Impress
This one is SO simple, but laughing is what makes Paul and I feel the closest. Having fun together, acting as though we are still college students in love who flirt, play board games, and do silly things together. I try to never stop serving Paul, doing cute things I used to do to impress him like cook new + extensive meals or dressing in the outfits I know he loves. Paul knows I love to dance, so sometimes he will just grab me and start dancing or he will bust out goofy moves in the kitchen for me while he cooks. Paul and I can have so much fun together, he truly is my absolute best friend. I never want that to change.
I hope this encourages you. Know that Paul and I don’t nail this marriage thing by any means, but are constantly trying to fight FOR one another. Like, literally, I have already thought of a couple more I would like to add to this list… maybe I will do a part two.
If you have questions or any topics you would like to hear from Paul or myself on, email me and let me know! You are all so loved.
xoxo- Han + Paul