Finding depth through conflict

Luke and I never fought while we were dating. We dated for five years, so naturally I thought we were pretty set when it came to disagreements. Obviously we never fought, so we must be experts, right?

Then we got engaged.

I always thought that engagement would be a time of joyous planning. Unfortunately, that was not my experience. I did not enjoy engagement, and, for the most part, I did not enjoy planning my wedding. I wasn’t one of those girls who started planning her wedding at the age of 5 and couldn’t wait to actually see it happen. I wanted to start my marriage. My cousin ended up picking out the bridesmaids dresses and color, and in truth my fiance did a lot more work than I did.

The decisions Luke and I had to make during this time weren’t our usual easy decisions, like whose house to hang out at or what to have for dinner. They were hard decisions like where should we live, where could we afford to live, how much we can put toward the wedding, etc. Not only were they the biggest decisions I’ve ever had to make, they had to be made with Luke. His opinion mattered, and I couldn’t just decide everything. All of a sudden, my choices greatly impacted another person.

In the middle of all this, Luke quit his 100% commission sales job that was costing him more in gas then he was making. I was now the breadwinner – living with my parents and planning/budgeting for the wedding while supporting my fiance, who was living in our newly rented apartment. Needless to say, I was stressed. Those five months were pretty rough.

But through all that and the years to follow, we began to learn that arguments can really be good things.

I don’t know how you and your spouse argue or what it looks like. For Luke and I, we’ve learned that in the heat of a new fight, it always goes better when we take a deep breath, and remember that we are on the same team. Our goal is to calm down, listen each other, and work it out. We both need to be open to being wrong. Both of us need to be open to saying “I’m sorry.” There is no one in this life closer to me. We share such an incredible bond, and our goal needs to be to preserve it and make it stronger.

We’ve been married for five years now, and in that time we’ve moved four times, and have lived three of those years out of state – away from the friends and family we grew up with. Our life together has been an adventure I would never trade. As you can imagine, we’ve had our fair share of conflict. But as we grow together, and we get more arguments under our belt, I can feel us getting better at navigating them. We are calmer when something needs to be brought up. For the most part, we don’t raise our voices. We listen to each other, and ask questions so we can truly understand both sides of what’s happening. We are arguing because something isn’t working. Let’s come together and work to fix it.

When I look at my marriage, and the marriage of some of my closest friends, the husband and wife are best friends. Laughing, dreaming, and creating together. They are each others’ true confidant – partners through thick and thin. These marriages make it through the hard times to become stronger, and don’t bolt at the sign of rough seas. Marriage is so beautiful when it is made up of two people working together to stay together.

Our fights will never be perfect, but we are learning. With each one we fight through, we are understanding more how each other processes. I think those arguments make us stronger, because the simple fact is, that through those arguments, we are deepening our understanding of each other, and thus our marriage.

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