My husband and I just had a big fight the other day. We’re not yellers and we’re respectful of each other when we fight, but it still sucks. I find fighting often leads to the shocking realization that the other person has very complex emotions and views of things, just like you do. It is easy to take people at face value and not realize there is a LOT that goes unsaid – especially men who may want to be conflict avoiders or feel like it’s better to be quiet then get attacked by their fiancee’s or wives.
My husband and I don’t fit a lot of the gender stereotypes and yet we find we get in some stereotypical fights! It’s frustrating to realize that “roles” we play have an impact on our perspective about things, our experiences and how views.
If you weren’t aware, John Gottman did some research and has really categorized two types of fighting that all couples go through. One kind CAN be ended… either with the right skills, or the scenario around the fight never happens again, or through therapy. The other kind of fighting is perpetual. There is NO answer, no end result, no way to “end” the fight. These are often where personalities clash – you’re always early, your fiance(e) is always late… or you’re a neat freak and you’re marrying a total pack rat. Since we can’t easily change our personalities there is going to be lifelong friction. But the fascinating thing is those fights do not have to mean you are not meant to be together. It’s actually a question of HOW you go about fighting that bodes well or poorly for your marital happiness and longevity.
This last fight was about parenting (we have two small children.) Nothing got resolved, but we are able to sit on what was said, recognizing there are some inherent limitations we each hold and there is probably no real solution. So we’ll do the marriage dance – give and take a little more now that some dirty laundry was aired, we’ll try to be more patient with the other, try to change our own behaviors slightly, and ride the wave of what is possible.
Speaking of my husband, I’m going to try to get him involved in The First Dance more. He’s very skitish about being involved in a “family business” but he has so much to say and has taught me SO MUCH about the male perspective! We shall see… 🙂