Listen up y’all because things are getting real today. Yes, I know I’ve been conspicuously absent this week. I’m lazy, I’m sorry. Yes, I know it’s Thursday and that’s basically Friday and Fridays or gray-area Thursdays aren’t days for deep thoughts. I’m sorry for that as well. Yes I know that lists are way better if you list three things rather than two because hello high school AP English. I’m sorry that the third item in my list was actually just for looks and contains no intellectual merit.
So here’s the thing: sometimes Andy and I fight. Sometimes over really stupid things. Though in my own mind I am an endless stream of pure sunshine and rainbows every waking hour, my sweet, darling husband occasionally lets me know that this is not the case. We always make up after a disagreement, but I never want to get to the place in our relationship where we are more consumed by nitpickiness and quick-to-anger-ness than we are willing to extend grace, forgiveness and love.
Yesterday I read a post over at An Auspicious Adventure on how to fight without being mean, and it got me good. Andy and I aren’t the best at fighting, especially because sometimes all I want to do is punch him in the throat. We’re dramatic, we’re stubborn and we both really like to be right. But it shouldn’t be about being right, it should be about loving each other wholly and completely, and working toward a common goal: making our relationship stronger. And I also probably shouldn’t punch him in the throat. That sounds like spousal abuse, so…yeah…let’s not.
With that in mind, here are some areas where I personally could stand to grow and improve when it comes to marital…disagreement.
Guard your tongue. I’ll be honest with you, fighting isn’t fun and if you’re anything like me, you get emotional and if you’re not careful might say something dramatic and/or hurtful that you don’t mean. Example:
Andy: “I really wish you’d keep the closet door shut so the cats don’t get in there.”
Me: “Oh my gosh you blame everything on me and you never consider my feelings wahhhh.”
(note: dialogue exaggerated for emphasis)
Listen more than you speak. I could REALLY stand to work on this one. Like Casey wrote in her post, men want to solve the problem and move on, women want to be heard and emotionally understood. I tend to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk in an effort to make Andy understand how I feel. That’s great and all, and he does a wonderful job at trying to understand my feelings. But ultimately, I need to listen with both ears and my whole heart, be quick to forgive, and move on when he is ready to rather than letting myself feel like I haven’t been “heard.” I have been.
Assume the best about your partner. His intentions, the meaning behind his words, everything.
You’re not perfect. Woof, hello. This is a tough pill to swallow, because like I said…I’m pure joy and sunshine every waking hour. Nope. Not the case. I can be rude, obstinate and sometimes I’m just plain wrong. Due to aforementioned stubbornness, this can be difficult for me to admit, but it’s absolutely essential for personal growth. I’m not perfect, I have vast room to improve as both a wife and as a human.
Give forgiveness freely. Seriously, give it to everyone. To your partner, to the car that cut you off in traffic this morning, to the girl who stole your brand new Lisa Frank pencil in fourth grade, to everyone. Sorry, tangent, let’s talk about marriage again. Give forgiveness quickly and easily, and mean it. Forgiveness isn’t like exclamation points, you aren’t limited to 1,000 to last for your entire life. You have an unlimited supply, your well of forgiveness never has to run dry. Make it rain with that shiz.
I didn’t write this post to fool you into thinking I’m a great wife. In fact, just the opposite. It is a reminder to myself that I need to work in this area. No one has a perfect marriage, including us, and no one is perfect, including me. But I always want to be working toward being the best wife I possibly can, because I love Andy more than anyone and anything, and he deserves nothing less.
And that’s all I have to say today.
—The Wife in Training