This morning, my husband and I got into a big fight. I wanted him to talk to his father about something, and he felt like I was calling him stupid. We blew up, yelled at each other, huffed and sighed, and within about 20 minutes were again playing grab-ass in the car on the way to breakfast. This isn't atypical for us. And we have one of the happiest, most sexual, most passionate marriages of anyone I know. Fights make us stronger.
We are not alone. Countless studies show that communication is one of the main cornerstones of good marriages and while fighting isn't outright a sign of a strong marriage, healthy arguments and cathartic blowups actually help to diffuse building tension. My husband and I blow up and then we calm down, but we almost never bring up past fights. Because they are in the past.
That's the thing about fighting: If you do it right, it's like a thunderstorm. It moves in. It wets the area ferociously and with great vigor. And then it passes. The sun comes out again, the end. If you are afraid of confrontation and fighting, you end up living under the constant threat of a thunderstorm but without any discharge for all that energy. That's when resentment builds and marriages fall apart.
Obviously, this doesn't mean all fights are equal. Yelling curse words at each other and then retreating to separate quarters does not a healthy marriage make. But the marriages I see where people are just living peacefully with very little drama (and very little passion) make me personally sad. They seem more like business arrangements. And if you dig beneath the surface, that same quiet reticence extends to the bedroom. Meanwhile, the passion that explodes in anger during the day explodes into fire at night in my marriage. It's not a bad thing. They are just two different sides of the passion coin.
If you are a couple who fights a lot, take heart. It doesn't automatically mean things are bad. In fact, it could be a sign that things are very right, indeed.
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