Yet another elephant

Posted on February 3, 2009. Filed under: reality |


(Yes, we took this picture during our e-pic session.  Foreshadowing?  Let’s hope not!)

I want to talk about the thing nobody talks about: fighting with your fiance during your engagement.

I don’t know why we all don’t talk about it more.  Do we worry that it means we’re with the wrong person? (*raising hand sheepishly even though I know better*)  Do we wonder if other people will tell us we’re making a mistake if they know that we fight as often as we do? (*raising hand*)  Are we hoping that it will all be better once we’re married and the silly stressors like napkin colors and the dreaded words “and date” have gone away? (*raising both hands*) Are we afraid to believe that life together might be as full of petty disagreements and frustrations as it is now? (*standing up and waving both arms in the air*)

I have found fewer situations more sad and disappointing than being hurt by, angry at, or upset with him and walking into my office to face a mountain of wedding-related stuff.  “Wait!” I want to shout, “How can this be?  How can I be bookmarking lovely quotes about love while wanting to scream at the possibility that we might always fight over who does more of the housecleaning?”  I do know that I’m feeling more like a “me” and less like a “we” these days and wedding planning isn’t helping.  I hope that once we find “our” way of handling disagreements, I will feel less sad about every one, but I wonder if I’m just sticking my head in the sand.

You Mrs’ out there, please (please) tell me: did things really get better after you got married?  How did your parents fight**?  And if you’re engaged, do you fight with your fiance?  Does it make you as sad as it makes me?

**My parents and most of the parents I knew growing up were divorced, so I have very little experience with how married people live.


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3 Responses to “Yet another elephant”

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You write such wonderful, insightful posts. I relate! My parents are divorced and his have just separated, so I struggle to define what a healthy marriage looks like.

Thankfully, my adopted grandparents have bucked the trend and are celebrating their Golden Anniversary five days after we get married. My grandad’s advice is that “the key to it all is love” (so disagree, but stay committed to seeking the best for each other) and to keep short accounts. He and his wife have some points of contention that have never been resolved, but they have learned to forgive each other for being imperfect. If an issue comes up, they will literally stay up all night to talk it out. My pops says the lack of sleep deters them from picking stupid fights, especially late at night. 😉

I totally fight with my fiance, and always have, and I think what makes me so sure that it’s still okay to get married is that every fight is a teensy bit better than the last. We may fight about the same thing twenty million times, but each time we get a little closer to figuring it out. I hate fighting with him, but I have to say I always learn a lot.

My parents have had a long and happy marriage, and one of the things I’ve learned from them is to always kiss when you see each other after spending some time apart. Just that brief but constant reaffirmation of love makes the possibly ensuing argument about housework less about “you don’t love me” and more about… well, housework.

I think “How can I be bookmarking lovely quotes about love while wanting to scream at the possibility that we might always fight over who does more of the housecleaning?” is what a committed relationship is all about to me. By marrying him, I’m saying that I’m always willing to act as though we’ll figure out the housecleaning, the fight will end, we’ll still be in love, and that’s what’s most important.

My parents divorced when I was 12. They fought all the time and they fought dirty. Yelling, screaming, an occasional thrown object. My now fiance and I have been together for four years. At first when we’d fight, I’d raise my voice, get very emotional and this always caused the fight to escalate even more on both sides. But my fiance’s parents rarely fight. If and when they do, they take it to the bedroom to discuss privately. They don’t yell or scream and certainly nothing is ever thrown.

After a couple of years of my fiance’s patience and calming presence and a lot of effort on my part, we don’t fight anymore. We disagree. We bicker. But we don’t fight. I’ve learned to never rasie my voice. We hold back words that would hurt too much and can never be taken back. If we have a serious disagreement, we sit and talk about what is REALLY bothering us. I wouldn’t marry someone I fought with all the time. You won’t fight less when you get married. You get too tired and too busy and the problem gets bigger, the hurt grows deeper. Try a new approach when you disagree now or be prepared to try to glue a broken vase back together later.

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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