All relationships have their ups and downs. ~raises hands~ We definitely do.
The last several times we have hung out with other couples, there are parts of the conversation when we all vent or even laugh about a fight we’ve each had. It definitely can be uncomfortable, because naturally, you don’t want your dirty laundry exposed. You don’t want others to see the not-so-nice side of you. But lately, I am realizing that it actually can connect you to others even more. It’s humbling and it creates accountability.
Last night, we met up with my best friend, Steph, and her boyfriend in San Francisco for dinner. Steph and her boyfriend are moving in together after being long distance for about a year. So they asked us some questions about how it was for us to move across country to live together. She had this idea of Michael and I that we were always so positive, adventurous, loving, and supportive of each other. We are all of those things, but not always. We told her some of our worst fights where we didn’t even sleep in the same house. We told her our shortcomings. We also told her that sometimes we fight about the same things over and over again, and it’s okay. It’s hard to change overnight.
When Michael and I dissected our fights, we came up with our biggest issues with one another.
His frustration: She sometimes assumes things about what I am saying or doing, but it isn’t what I mean. She misinterprets what I’m telling her, and assumes the worst. There’s definitely miscommunication that is happening, whether it’s my words or my body language.
Her frustration: He shuts down when there’s conflict, and it feels like I’m talking to a wall. He will say he understands or he hears me, but he’ll do it with an eye roll. It just makes the situation more frustrating.
Below are a few of the little tricks we’ve learned along the way to help our fights:
- Be emotionally honest and transparent – We try to encourage each other to open up, and not end it on “I’m fine.” or “It’s nothing.”
- Validate each other – Even if we don’t understand each other at the time, taking initiative to validate each other’s feelings is helpful for better communication.
- Own up to your shit – Be responsible for what you did wrong, and admit it. Simple as that.
- Agree to disagree, then move on – Sometimes we can’t meet eye to eye, but we acknowledge that and move forward. No sense in wasting time talking and arguing in circles.
- Say “I love you” – After a fight, saying i love you and giving each other a hug helps create intimacy again.
- Don’t hit below the belt – Don’t be a jerk for no reason. It only creates guilt and a worse situation.
- Forgive – We have to remember that whatever happened was not intentional. It was a misunderstanding. Forgive each other for the action and the reaction that caused the fight.
We have so much love for each other, and we have grown more than we ever imagined. Between being in a long distance relationship to moving across country together to getting married, we have dealt with a lot. Despite the relationship ‘downs’ we have had, we wouldn’t change a thing because it’s made us stronger for it.
Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning. Without it, your relationship goes cold. William Paisley