This week I have the brilliant Suzanne! She and her husband have been married for 4 years and have entered the foster parent world. You will love her heart and wisdom!
We all know marriage is wonderful. You come together with someone that you are head over heels with, and cannot imagine living another day without them by your side. The only thing to do is get married, and it makes perfect sense! And so begins this beautiful, wonderful, complicated and sometimes incredibly difficult relationship called a marriage.
I don’t know about you, but I remember my first married fight. I don’t remember what in the world we were arguing about, but I remember walking next to my husband, stiff and angry, on the beach in the Dominican Republic. Yes, our first married argument was while we were on our honeymoon.
Don’t worry, though…we continued to fall more and more in love, and of course, we also continued to get into arguments. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? There was one fight in particular that I remember so clearly. Actually, I don’t remember what we were actually fighting about (this seems to be a theme, doesn’t it?). Theo said something that made me furious, and I went into our room and slammed the door. As soon as I slammed it, something on our dresser toppled over. I spun around and looked, horrified, at our wedding cake topper lying face down on the dresser. The head of the groom, my groom, was not attached anymore and slowly rolled off the side of the dresser onto the floor. I was so surprised that I had (accidentally) popped off my husbands head that I did the only thing I could think of to do: I burst out laughing, summoning my husband to come and see. Thankfully, he also found it fairly funny and was able to glue the head back on.
We have now been married for four years, have 2.5 children, and we have continued to fight throughout all those years. We recently went on our first vacation kid-free and I was thoroughly surprised to find that we still got into an argument or two!
I’m sure if you are married woman, you are nodding along and maybe even thinking about to a humorous or not-so-humorous argument that you have had with your spouse (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) There are hundreds of books written on marriage, and I’m sure that each book contains a chapter full of advice on how to “fight fair” or argue or forgive or don’t go to bed angry. But from one woman to another, here’s my advice:
* Always assume that your spouse did not mean to hurt you: So many of our arguments are based on assumption. I usually assume that because he said that, he meant this. But if I go off the assumption that maybe he wasn’t meaning what I feel like I heard, a lot of arguments can be avoided!
* Find what works for you. Every couple is different, every person is different: You can’t follow all the advice you hear, so try some different things out, and find what works for you. What works for my husband and I is to go to bed angry. Neither of us can function without sleep, and if we are trying to work something out at midnight, it just never ends well. Instead, we go to bed and revisit it in the morning (although usually after sleeping on it, it’s not a big deal anyways).
* Be wise around the children: We all know families/parents who only argue behind closed doors. While there are some matters and discussions that need to wait until the kids are not in the room, there are many arguments that are healthy to have in front of the children. It is good for them to see their parents disagree, problem solve and forgive. Or consider simply explaining to them that you need them to go outside because Mommy and Daddy are having a disagreement and need to talk it through. Don’t hide all arguments completely from your children. Be honest with them and yourself, and it will help teach them how to deal with arguments and disagreements.
* Take cool down time: Theo and I have found that sometimes our arguments are escalating and we need to simply step away from each for a minute or two. Frequently, the best way we do this is for one person to leave the house. While I highly recommend this strategy, I do not recommend one person storming out. Instead, calmly communicate that you need to step away from the situation, that you love your spouse and that you will be back. Then go ahead and take the outside of the situation that you need.
I am not perfect, and the very fact that I am writing a post on this topic shows you that I have had A LOT of practice in this area. Please remember that you are not alone in the struggles that come along with marriage. We all argue and we all have personal difficulties that we struggle with. It’s what happens when two people vow to spend the rest of their lives together. Take heart and make sure that you argue effectively and with respect for the feelings of your spouse.
More about Suzanne: Christ follower, wife to Theo, Mom to Tera Evelynne and a sweetly growing baby bump, and foster Mom to the children that God places in our home. I am a stay at home Mom and I fill my days with chasing children, cooking dinner, staying active outdoors, reading, and blogging. Find me on Instagram @thegloriousmundane or at http://www.suzannehines.org .