When I mentioned the idea for this post to Dave he gave me the side eye.
This is nothing new. In our long history together there has been many a side eye aimed in my direction. There have been a lot of, are you absolutely sure you want to put that out there? There have been plenty of, but are you really sure? Yes. I’m really sure I want to write a post on things we fight about. I want to talk about it because I don’t think enough people do. You see all these gorgeous posts on Instagram of date night, but don’t realize that a couple didn’t talk for three days last week because they were arguing about money. You see your co-worker’s Facebook with a perfect collage of her marriage year in review, but nobody knows they were fighting for most of it. I worry that because nobody is talking about it, then everyone is afraid to admit that their marriage is struggling. I worry that when we don’t talk about it we allow negative things to fester and grow in the darkness. I worry that too many people are focused on making their marriage look good rather than making their marriage work well. I worry that young married couples have a misconception about what a relationship really is. I’m worried guys.
So, I’ll be the first person to stand up and say what’s really going on behind our closed doors. Our marriage? It’s work. It’s so stinking fun and awesome and special and romantic… but, it’s also work. And in the midst of that work we argue sometimes and if you do too, that’s ok. Here are the things we fight about. Do you do this too? Awesome, that means you’re humans. Come sit at our lunch table!
1. Temperaments – Let’s start here because as a young married couple I didn’t even understand how our different temperaments would play into our marriage. I am an extrovert (I assume nobody is shocked by this information) while Dave is an introvert. People struggle to believe that because he’s so outgoing and charismatic, but what it really boils down to is energy level. I go into a crowd of people and I feel pumped up and energized. Dave goes into the same situation and feels completely drained, he needs time to recharge. This is a big deal because it affects everything from the way we argue to what we do for fun. So when we were first married it would hurt my feelings if he didn’t want to go to my friend’s birthday party which would snowball into a, "why don’t we ever do what I want to do" argument. Understanding how the other is most comfortable interacting with others, recharging, arguing, etc. means it’s easier to compromise.
2. Money – Phew! This is tough for nearly everyone, right? I assume money is a big issue at some point in everyone’s marriage. When we were younger it was about learning to budget, it was about learning to spend, it was about combining incomes and making sure the mortgage was paid. Now that we’re older arguments can stem from unexpected costs to a late fee on pre-school bills because, wait, weren’t you going to pay that? Money can be stressful and bills can be overwhelming which is why it’s essential that you get on the same page financially as soon as you can.
3. In-Laws – I’d like to say that this is something that only pops up early on in a relationship, but who am I kidding? In-laws will likely affect your relationship as long as you live. You each grew up differently (no matter how similar your families seem on the outside) and combining multiple personalities, temperaments, experiences, etc . into one cozy family holiday is stressful. When it comes to in-laws you better have grace shooting out of you like a fountain! So, his Aunt Helen hates the fact that you were raised in a different faith. So, he has to put up with your dad’s constant financial advice. Who cares? Life is going to throw so many bigger things at you, don’t let something as trivial as other people’s opinions affect your world.
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