Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Twelve Years of Marriage, No fights

My wife and I have enjoyed twelve years of Marriage now. We have managed to do so without any fighting. I thought perhaps I should share how we have accomplished that. At least what I think worked. My wife may need to correct me.

First, I should say there was probably a bit of luck involved.

I was very fortunate to have been discovered by such an amazing, loving, patient, kind, devoted, beautiful woman.

From the beginning, we had a good foundation to work from. We had similar religious and social values. Not identical by any means, we had, and still have some very differing opinions on some things. But we work from what we have in common, and we respect what we don't have in common.

One thing in particular which we have in common (though I don't recall that we ever talked about it specifically) is a desire for peace. We don't enjoy fighting. that has helped greatly.

I can remember one night coming home from work, and starting into a passionate discourse regarding something I heard on the news that had fired me up (I don't remember what it was now, something to do with healthcare, I think). Tennille responded with an equally passionate, but opposing response. Immediately and unprompted we both dropped into "Spock mode", and proceeded to have a calm, rational, logical conversation. I don't think either of us changed our position by the end of the conversation, but it occurred argument free, and by the end I felt I had gained a greater insight than I had previously. My view did not change, entirely, but it did perhaps shift, as points I hadn't clearly considered were presented to me.

Another important thing which has allowed us to go fight free is the method we use to handle annoyances, yes, there are things she does that annoy, even irritate me sometimes. Likewise there are things I do that drive her crazy. Same stuff every couple deals with; differences in parenting, housekeeping, finance management...

I guess I can't speak specifically to how she deals with these things, I suspect it is fairly similar to the method I use. We have actually never talked out the strategies we use in detail.

Lots of experts talk about the value of talking it out when it comes to that stuff. I think you can overdo "talking it out". Me, I use the 24 hour principle. If I find myself irritated by something my wife is doing, I give myself 24 hours to consider the questions, "Is this really worth talking to her about? Is it worth risking an argument? Is it worth risking hurting her feelings?". Typically it only takes an hour or so for me to realize the answer is "no". Most things are simply not that important, we grew up differently, we do things differently, I don't understand exactly how she thinks about things, I don't know exactly what she feels, so how can I judge her behavior as better or worse than mine? It is just as likely (or more likely) that her way is better than mine.

So she has a habit that annoys me. I can cope. She puts up with me after all.

Now that isn't to see we never talk it out. We have also discussed some annoyances, calmly, and rationally, and we have both made an effort to, if not change, at lest lessen the impact of those annoyances on each other.

Then of course there are those times when I have said something that could be taken badly. She gives herself time to get out of the emotion, than asks me to clarify what I meant, at which point I realize how poorly I worded what I said, explain what I meant, and beg for forgiveness for being linguistically challenged. (How lucky am I that I have a wife who realizes that I was probably being dumb, rather than mean, and gives me a chance to explain myself before calling for my execution).

Ultimately It is a choice we both made. For us, it came fairly easily. We didn't really discuss it, we just both seemed to have made the choice to not argue. I suspect we were an exception in that regard. Most people would probably need to have that conversation, make that choice explicitly, and set out a plan of action.

I suppose perhaps it also has to to with how we view our wedding and vows. When we were married, we made a covenant to each other, and to God, to work together, to be faithful to one another, to stand by each other, to raise our children together, and do our best to help them to become faithful, dedicated, trustworthy, honorable citizens. You don't break promises.

Anyway, for what it is worth. That is how I think we did it.

(I love you, sweetheart. Thank you for the best twelve years of my life. I look forward to many more with you.)

1 comment:

  1. I love you, too. I do have to say though, I find it rather SHOCKING that anything I do annoys you. :)