According to Michelle Obama, "The image of a flawless relationship is ... unfair to the institution of marriage, and it’s unfair for young people who are trying to build something, to project this perfection that doesn’t exist.”
I just ran across an interview of Barack and Michelle Obama regarding their marriage and the struggles they've come through and thought that Michelle's comment above is so true. She also states that nobody tells you marriage is going to be hard when you are getting into it. At the time of the wedding, everyone's concern seems to be the dress and whether you love each other or not. Yes, love trumps all, but it's hard work and perseverance too. Now, I am not sure I could come up with something tougher than trying to make a marriage work while the eyes of the whole entire world are trained on you; so, I think we can learn from her words.
Marriage isn't all roses and sunshine. The days that are full of smiles are the easy ones. Tough are the days when you don't agree with your spouse, when you feel like you could strangle him/her because how could he/she be such an ass, when you might not be able to stand to even speak to him/her ... and those days are there. All of us in relationships can attest to that. Because honestly, it would be hard to find 2 people who agree on every single thing. If it isn't politics or religion you disagree on, it could be on how to discipline your children, or how often and how long to walk the dog for, it could even be the faucets you want in your redesigned bathroom. I don't think it matters what you disagree on, it's how you disagree and how you come out of the disagreements.
Let me tell you, being a woman has its advantages. A couple tears down my cheeks and I could probably have Jeff agreeing to anything I want. But, that's fighting unfair. We've had our share of arguments and I'm sure there are more than a few in our future. However, we have yet to resent each other for any of our arguments or any decisions that came out of those arguments. Yes, we've only been married 4 years, come December, but I don't think it's wrong to share what's working for us, is it?
1. No unfair tactics. I don't cry just so he'll give up and say yes.
2. No name calling. Just like they taught us in debate, we attack the position, not the person.
3. Take a few minutes away from each other if the tempers start rising.
4. Don't go to bed angry. I know there are both sides on this, but I also know from experience that going to bed without resolving the issue just leads to a night of bad sleep and heartburn. See #3 if resolution doesn't happen fast; cool your jets and come back to the issue.
5. Kiss and make up at the end, no matter who won or even if you decided to agree to disagree.