I was at home for lunch one day last week when The Talk came on (before you judge me, I just turned the TV on and it was there!). Anyway, they shared a quote from Pete Wentz explaining his divorce from Ashlee Simpson. He had this to say:
"I think there's an important thing where you know how to fight, because you can fight with somebody and it's not the end of everything. But if you don't know how to have those arguments, then they become nuclear."I thought his take on it was kind of perfect. I've always been very shy and non-confrontational — and I've always been at least mildly aware of the way it affects my relationships. Whenever I was mad, my default used to be shutting the other person out and holding in my anger until I was just annoyed for the same reasons all the time. It sounds cliche, I know.
But Adam doesn't let me do that. The first times we fought, he was annoyed with my resistance to talk through the problem right away, but he just went with it anyway. And then one day he took a new stance; he called me out on my habit of shutting down and made me share what I was feeling when I was angry. I'll admit that I was resentful about it at first, but then I realized something kind of amazing.
When one of us was mad or upset about something, we could talk about it openly, tell each other why we were mad and how we wanted to fix it — and then it was over. We didn't leave angry, we both understood how we felt and how we would move forward. And then we went back to laughing and being happy again. Fights weren't this big, stressful thing anymore, and the issues that started them didn't become recurring incidents between us.
I think every couple has a different way of dealing with their issues, but it's important to talk through them and find resolutions that work for both people. When you're trying to make a relationship last, you can't just push everything under the rug — you have to know how to eliminate those problems. And if you find you're having the same fights over and over, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the real problem.
Adam has always been better at open communication — it's in his nature as an extrovert. This is what he has to say on fighting in relationships: It's okay to be angry with the other person, so long as both people know where that anger stems from and both know it's not the end of the relationship.
It makes sense, right? Couples are supposed to fight. It's learning from those arguments that helps you learn about each other. And ultimately, that's what is going to determine how long you stay together.
Related: the choice to have children, family names and pet names: yes or no?
(Image via Everly True)