Monday, January 4, 2010

Love... and War

Yeah, the other side of relationships. The Battlefield.

I float around on a lot of these blogs, and sometimes I think, 'Everybody's life just seems so happy. So perfect.'

Can anyone else out there relate to me??? Am I the only one who feels like sometimes love and relationships are (cough, cough) less than perfect??? That they can be hard sometimes?

I'm sure nobody wants to hang their dirty laundry out there for all of cyber-world to see - I am not saying they even should. Some things are private and should be kept between you and your man. Absolutely true.

Maybe we women are trying to respect our men and paint them in a positive light - and that is great. I am all for showing our men respect and think that is totally appropriate.

But being newly-engaged and soon-to-be-married, I guess I am curious to hear how other couples deal with conflicts in their relationships - I can use all the insight I can get! And I haven't really seen a lot written about that.

I don't know if there is a 'right' way - each couple is so individual. And we are all works in progress. But I guess sometimes I want re-assurance that we are "OK." "Normal." Not that we are being graded, but I guess sometimes I want to know where we fall on the Bell Curve. But that's just me...the recovering perfectionist.

[I have to add this disclaimer - of course - you knew that was coming: things are actually very good with the J-man and myself. For real! They are!]

But I admit that it takes a lot of mental energy always trying to decipher the best way to deal with conflict.

To not react emotionally.
To seek to understand before being understood.
To think logically about what way of communicating is effective and what is just a waste of time.
To know which battles are worth fighting and which ones will only put us on separate sides instead of on the same team.

They told us in our pre-covenant classes that women see the world through pink glasses, hear with pink hearing aids and speak through a pink megaphone.

Men, on the other hand - yep, you guessed it: blue glasses, blue hearing aid and blue megaphones (That came from Love and Respect by the Eggerichs). And I am sure that those differences alone cause most of the skirmishes.

It's a lot of energy to just try and understand them as men.

So I guess I am curious to hear from you ladies - married, engaged, dating, newly-wed and even singles... Can you relate to this??? What kinds of things have come in between you and your man? How do you resolve it? What have been your experiences with this? (It's OK to be honest but no male bashing here! I hope we all love our men and want to respect them!)

Relationships. It's all about love - but it can feel like war sometimes...
It's a lot of energy.
But to have a relationship with a good man, to love him and experience his love in return, I've found, that is worth fighting for.

(PS...God is teaching me a few lessons about this, too. I'll share some in future blogs.)


  1. No doubt, I think most people are very careful about blogging when they fight with their husbands - me included! So rest assured that you're not the only one who occasionally struggles to be heard. I remember that the first year of our marriage was especially difficult. Wrenching, in fact. But we learned a lot...we've been married for 20 years.

    Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!!!

  2. battle, war...those words shouldn't belong to a normal relationship! It shouldn't be a war zone!

    Talk, talk, talk...and talk. About everything. Be yourself.
    We can't read others minds
    nor should we imagine what he/she is thinking.
    Ask. Talk. Be equal partners.
    Men need as much attention as women. They have feelings too even if they don't show them as women.
    Talking is number one thing in a relationship!
    After that comes everything else...

    SITSta greetings from Cairo!

  3. You know that you and I have gone over this topic so many times but one thing I will say that since being married, I found that I kept issues between us, between us. Before I got married, I would talk to mom or you but once we said "I do", I felt it was important to keep things between me and the MR. God was the only one I needed to talk to about the hubs. I have a friend who once told me you should never talk to anyone about your husband unless they love him more than you do. Not that we'll never need counsel but you know what I mean. :)

  4. Sometimes it does help to hear a third perspective, but there is a tricky boundary there where suddenly it starts to feel really good to complain about a spouse. That's probably the biggest lesson I've learned so far.

    SITSta hello from Detroit.

  5. What can I say? Dh and I have many differences as you have been able to read on my "bread and tortilla" blog LOL! But believe it or not.... we have NEVER had a fight! (not to discourage you more about "other relationships seeming so perfect") my relationship with him... is... not perfect of course, as we live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect ourselves, but I think the biggest secret of all is in 1 Corinthians 13 ... LOVE and what LOVE really is.... We both come from "bad relationships" and we weren't willing to get into another bad relationship... so ... it is true, it requires work, humility, selflessness! but it is doable when the SOURCE of love is the right one! You'll have a wonderful, happy, imperfect (like mine) marriage if its foundation is the ROCK that never changes!

  6. I've thought about this a lot too - very few blogs I've seen focus on working through conflicts :) S and I definitely have had our share of conflicts, wedding-related or not, and so does every real-life couple I know. One reason I don't write about them a lot is because I don't feel like our arguments are anything unique and interesting - we fight about the same things millions of couples have fought over in the past, and we get through it using time-tested strategies everyone knows.

  7. Just one piece of advice that I think is important...leave the past in the past. If your boyfriend/husband does something wrong or makes you angry, forgive and FORGET! Staying bitter and reliving, throwing it in their face, so to speak, will dampen the relationship until the fire is completely out. It is something I lived with growing up and vowed to never do to my husband. I thought I was doing it for him, but it makes me happy, too.

  8. You've gotten some good advice here so far. My husband and I have "bickered" here and there and had a few arguments--mostly during the time that we were engaged and planning our wedding. Since we got married (8/23/08), we really haven't fought. We talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and then talk some more. We don't go to other people with our problems; instead, we talk to each other. I think it's also important not to compare yourselves and your relationship to anyone else--you're unique, and nothing you do is going to be the same as everyone else--enjoy your uniqueness and learn and grow together!

    (Found you through SITS)

  9. katie!!! how i do miss our talks and letters and emails. i remember when we would snail mail while you were in college!!!! I have to say, our saving grace was going to a class at our church that was hosted by this LFMT who was brilliant and came from a family of therapists. This one book called "How to argue so your spouse will listen" written by her sister Sharon Hart was lifesaving. Basically, we argue more about secondary emotions but really we are arguing about issues that are driven by primary emotions. I would definitely recommend it. I think it really helped us make it through the first critical year!!! love you and praying for continued grace and courage!

  10. Well, if you come over to my blog enough, like today for instance you can tell that we've been through our ups and downs in 37 years of marriage. And yes, it was hard when we first were married because he grew up in a family totally different than mine. His was quiet, Mine was loud. We were both Christians but way too young, only 19 and 20. I've said many times that you really don't know who you are until you are at least 30. so we both had a lot of growing up to do. But submitting to God, both husband and wife, and praying together out loud and for each other is what changed our marriage more than anything else. When you totally submit yourselves to God, then He can direct your thinking and fill you with love. Something impossible without Him.
    So glad you came by the BSB yesterday. Hope you come by again soon!
    hugs and blessings,

  11. THANK YOU!
    for supporting me in my struggle for achieving justice for my rights to my pictures. RESPECT!

  12. Mr. Milk and I had more conflicts when we were long-distance. And to be honest, these helped us in the long run find a better way to argue (not that it always works). Since we've been living together we have argued and fought much less, and when we have it was usually been due to miscommunications, lack of patience, and just everyday difficulties.

  13. Coming late to the discussion, but I'd love to add something useful. - Just gimme a sec to think of it!

    I can't deny the value of talking. Fearless communication! I was not always so good at it until Gary taught me with positive reinforcement. He recognized how hard it was for me to speak my mind and never "punished" me for speaking up.

    Also, address it in the moment. Or as close to it as possible. Otherwise, the mental buildup is a worse agony and it will adversely affect your significant other because (s)he will know something's up and get edgy.

    Apologize freely. Practice apologizing. Practice saying "I was wrong". What a difference that makes. Apologize as soon as you recognize your mistake and only when you mean it. Apologize about the little tiffs so that it's easier on the big arguments. And always take as much responsibility as possible.

    Finally, communicate expectations clearly and as conversationally as possible (without judgments). I didn't grow up around alcohol, so I'm not comfortable with drunk people. One night, Gary got sloppy drunk as he would have in his bachelor days and I retreated. Later, I explained the aforementioned cultural difference and made it clear that I was embarrassed to be around him like that.

    Gary certainly didn't want to be an embarrassment, nor did he want to make me feel vulnerable and exposed while he was taking a detour from being my "protector" (something very important to me) and he has never been sloppy drunk around me since.

    I simply conveyed what I don't respect or admire and left the choice up to him.