Conflict Resolution

There are those couples that never fight. Some of them might get into little tiffs here and there, some of them are just utterly zen, but they don’t fight. They don’t yell. They don’t hide out behind closed doors…and they definitely don’t argue in public.

We are not that couple. It’s easy for me to admit that because most of the people who know us in real life have witnessed some sort of argument we’ve had.

Our first fight ever happened a few months into our relationship, and it was about Call of Duty (can I get an amen, video-game widows?!). Since then we’ve argued over little things, like weekend plans, and big things, like religion, politics, raising children, and all the other stuff you aren’t supposed to talk about at the dinner table.

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Personal photo / Angry Dragon face/sweaty post-mosh-pit face

What does this have to do with weddings?

To start with, weddings are a topic of argument to begin with. We have had many a spat about wedding stuff—planning, guest lists, location, who is more interested than who, who is going to do what, so on and so forth.

If you’re a particularly volatile couple, it feels like people start to look at you and wonder if you’re really right for each other. They don’t see the deep-down love and respect that is still present in the relationship, they just see two people at each other’s throats. Even if you’re one of the people in the couple, it can still start to seem a bit fishy.

Planning a wedding also, obviously, makes you think about the future. If we fight about this now, are we going to fight about it forever? It can be daunting to contemplate, if you ask me. I fully understand why people go through pre-marital counseling, and I can see that as a huge benefit to having a religious wedding.

We’re not doing that, though, so I find myself wondering if there are other options. We are both stubborn, though I am the one who hates to walk away from a disagreement. We both escalate things, over and over, until we are really, really unhappy. It’s something I’d really like to sort out pre-wedding so that we can have stronger ground to stand on and better strategies in our relationship to get us through the stresses of married life. I know that we are good for each other and we are capable and willing to get along on the big stuff, but it’s the “who does the laundry/why are you doing that like that/someone PLEASE feed the cats” kind of conflicts that wear us down.

It’s something for me to ruminate on, I guess, for now, and to be conscious of when I start reacting to a situation. I am going to try very hard to be the kind of person who counts to 10 and makes a rational decision rather than giving in to my immediate emotional reaction. I know wedding planning adds additional stress.

How do you deal with conflict in your relationship? Do you fight, talk it out, ignore each other, or do something else entirely?

And, did you do any pre-marital counseling, religious or otherwise? Was it a good thing?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Dragon

Location:
Sioux Lookout/Brockville, ON
Wedding Date:
September 2012

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  1. Member
    hosannac 194 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:46 am

    We had been seeing a counselor during a rough patch for DH and when that resolved, we continued through pre-marriage counseling. It was non-religious, and I preferred it that way. It really helped us understand the ways in which we are different and how that impacts how we act toward situations differently (including the crying and screaming, which happens more likely that I would like to admit). I can say 100 percent that we are better at resolving conflicts on our own and talking through issues in meaningful ways. We still go roughly once a month. It just helps us get back on course and focus on the big picture. Our counselor also provides us topics for us to discuss together about our future and how we are dealing with things. If you can’t tell, I’m a big advocate!

  2. Member
    Amanda88 27 posts, Newbee @ 11:51 am

    I have currently made Miss Eagle into a video game widow. But for Mass Effect and Reckoning rather than call of duty. But luckily we don’t argue about it. Instead, because Im such an obedient future wife, Miss Eagle uses the video games as a reward system. If I do the laundry or help with a wedding craft then she will let me do my thing uninterrupted for a given amount of time.

    As for the fights. Well we’re both pretty vocal women so when we’re mad we can get loud. Very loud.
    We both decided that pre-marital counselling isn’t for us as over the years of us dating we have come to realize what we both need when in the midst of an argument. For me it’s to have my side heard. I’m marrying a very dominant ocd type woman so I’ve learned to trust that HER way is probably the best way to go as she’s done extensive research or what not. But I like to be heard. I’m also a very anxious person so in the midst of a total meltdown all I need is a hug and we’re good.
    For Miss Eagle, she needs reassurance that no matter what, I have her back and that if it means so much to her, I’ll let her win the fight ;)

    OR if all else fails, we’ll beat each other up in a girl on girl wrestling match – all in good fun of course! :D

  3. Member
    NVACat 349 posts, Helper bee @ 11:51 am

    If i could tell you the number of times an arguement has started over a video game in our house!! I hate being a video game widow, but sometimes its actually kinda nice to be able to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and some trashy reality tv show :)

  4. Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 11:53 am

    Oh lord, we used to fight over anything and everything, haha. We still have our moments, but after 4 years we’ve figured out how to handle those situations without biting each others’ heads off. To be honest, I don’t really know “how” we did it — I guess just…practice? I feel like just neither of us even have the energy to fight about those things anymore, haha. Eventually you give up the need to be “right” and you just do the thing that you’re arguing about — feed the cats, take the trash out, buy more milk, etc. — instead of arguing about it, because it’s less energy to just do it and be “wrong” than it is to be mad and yell about it and be “right”.

    We have totally gotten those looks/comments from people who have had the misfortune to witness one of our arguments — “Are they REALLY getting married? Their marriage is so gonna fail.” It sucks.

  5. Member
    porcupine 633 posts, Busy bee @ 12:10 pm

    People definitely say things to us about how we’re gonna kill each other one day. I don’t let it bother me. I happen to be a loud-mouth from Brooklyn and have an easy to piss off personality. It’s in every fiber of my being. I can’t change it, but I can change how I react, which is a work in progress (and probably will be forever). Mr. P is pretty stubborn/defensive so our arguments can be idiotic and long winded. When we’re both stressed (like um wedding planning) it tends to bring up more arguments and eye rolls, but at the end of the day we know we’re right for each other. I’d rather get things out then let stuff build up, which I’ve noticed a lot of “non-fighting” couples do. (Or, they’re just really high).

  6. Member
    Littlebitfunny 3 posts, Wannabee @ 12:20 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, even though SO and I are not a fighting couple. It gave me new perspective on some of my friends relationships, who are fighting couples. Sort of an Aha! moment.

    SO and I still get annoyed at each other, we just don’t fight about it. Generally we talk it out, starting with saying how we feel. “SO, I feel annoyed with you right now, because _____” is usually how it goes. We try not to make it about blaming the other person for a problem, but about letting the other person know how we feel about a subject.

    We used to fight more when I kept silent about what I was angry over. Eventually I got it through my head that my SO isn’t a mind reader, and that since he genuinely does want to make me happy, the easiest way to fix what is wrong is just to tell him.

    Still, it isn’t always easy. Telling someone that they hurt you leaves you feeling very vulnerable. It is hard to trust someone not to hurt you, and even harder to tell someone that they have the ability to hurt you. It is something that we have to work at a lot, and occasionally I still have to push myself when telling him what is wrong. But I hate fighting, so in the end I think it is worth it.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    NewBee, Guest @ 12:47 pm

    We recently discussed/argued over how laundry should be done. To me, doing the laundry means
    1-Wash
    2-Dry
    3-Fold.
    To him its
    1-Wash
    2-Dry
    3-Dump it out on the bed so fiance has to fold it ALL before she can get into bed.

    That drives me nuts. From his POV he has done the bulk of the work. From my POV I’m now forced at an inconvenient time of day to fold laundry that is now wrinkled thus causing more work.
    Its one of those arguments that goes in circles because he says “Wouldn’t you rather JUST fold laundry then have to do it all?” Yes, if it magically stayed flat and fresh and was not in between me and sleep!
    Then I try to tell him I’d rather you do 1 or 2 less loads and fold in between then do ALL the laundry in one day while i’m working, and leave it on the bed.
    He just does not see it my way, and I don’t see it his way. So I’ve just decided to make a laundry schedule and try to keep up on it better than we have. That way, even if he does a load and leave it on the bed, it is a manageable amount. We both are bad at doing choirs around the house unless we schedule time specifically for them.

  8. Member
    coyote 1564 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:59 pm

    This is such a great post. Mr. C is very calm and quiet while I can be a little more, erm, passionate. You would think this would be a good thing, but it often makes me even MORE angry when he is being calm. He’s all, it’s okay we will figure this out and get through it and I’m all, NOOOOO THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ANYTHING I SAY WAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    We are a big ol’ work in progress if you couldn’t tell. ;)

  9. Member
    kit_kath 1331 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:01 pm

    We’re not engaged yet, but ever since I’ve met my SO I’ve realized I need to change the way I argue. I am lucky that my SO is very non confrontational and mellow, because I’m high strung and get very edgy when stressed. I make a point now once I’ve calmed down to apologize for snapping at him, and am trying to find ways to deal with my stress without taking it out on him (though I haven’t figured that one out yet).

    I also encourage him to speak up and tell me if I’m doing something that bothers him. He’s very passive and would rather avoid any fight, but I want him to tell me about little things so that they don’t turn into big problems.

    It’s a work in progress. I know we’re not going to prevent EVERY big fight, because I’m stubborn and have a temper. But I like to think that there will be a few less fights down the line because of the effort we’re putting in now.

  10. Member
    Caizn 734 posts, Busy bee @ 1:21 pm

    Fantastic post! I’m so glad this is being discussed. My FI and I are a volatile couple, while my sister and her very newly minted husband are of the never fighting type. Sometimes its hard for each other to see the other side, but I’m glad to find out neither way is “wrong”.

  11. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:22 pm

    We don’t argue that much. If we’re mad we don’t talk about it until we calm down (we don’t want to say things just in the heath of the moment), we talk about everything and that’s pretty darn great.
    But don’t be fooled, we don’t live together so of course we don’t have little disagreements as for claning the house or leaving things around. Let’s hope the system works once we share the same roof.

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Guest, Guest @ 1:22 pm

    @NewBee: Sounds like a job for Wash-N-Fold! Then everyone’s happy! :-)

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Hannah, Guest @ 1:26 pm

    If you’re interested in some sort of premarital counseling that’s not religous based, I would recommend Prepare Enrich. Our pastor (who we hired soley for the wedding) offers it, but so do others who are not religiously affiliated, and the questions/excercises aren’t religiously based either. Even though we hardly ever fight, FI and I both found it really helpful to bring up things you might not otherwise just start a conversation about! I’d definitely recommend it.

  14. Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 1:36 pm

    @hosannac: I’m glad to hear it worked for you! I see it as sort of like bringing your car in for a tune-up, or getting your teeth cleaned — maintenance work!
    @Amanda88: Mr. D has held off on Mass Effect this time around which is funny because I actually like watching that one! :) He sometimes does things for me and then asks if he can play some games so it sort of works like a reward system in that way.
    @NVACat: If only we had two TVs… haha!
    @Miss Wizard: I have to remind myself that we’ve been together for only two years and a bit, and that we’ll get better with time. Mr. D likes to say that one day we’ll just be able to understand each other better and from the sounds of it, that’s true.
    @Miss Porcupine: Yeah, we have nothing festering under the surface. I can’t do the silent grudge thing — it all comes exploding out of me pretty fast!
    @Littlebitfunny: We usually have to get through a fight before we get to the “you upset me because _____” calm talking stage… I hope one day we can skip the crazy part, though. ;)
    @NewBee: Ooooh man, we do separate laundry now because we could *not* agree. Sometimes we do a joint load but that’s rare and usually because we both forgot we needed clean clothes for the next day. Laundry is a volatile subject!
    @Miss Coyote: Ahaha, yes, I am the “STOP TELLING ME IT’S OKAY, IT IS NOT OKAY AND IT WILL NEVER BE OKAY AGAIN!” type, which flies in the face of the usually quite rational Mr. D. If he starts getting angry, that means things are going very, very bad. Dude is calm.
    @Kit_Kath: I think it’s important to go back and apologize if you realize you were being awful for no good reason. I’ve been trying to do that more often, even when it hurts my pride.
    @Caizn: I agree– it’s just a different style, and I’m not sure that one is more ‘right’ than another.
    @Coffee cup: One thing I find about sharing a space is that, if you’re like me and you sometimes want to just get away and get your space to clear your head, that doesn’t work well. It sounds like you guys have a good foundation for dealing with conflict, though.
    @Hannah: I’ll have to check that out!

  15. Member
    futuremrsbauer 44 posts, Newbee @ 5:27 pm

    My FI and I took a christian pre marital class at a church in the area. Although we are having a family friend officiate, we still wanted a pre marital class. They are just so easy to find at churches, and I found our class to not be so overwhelmingly religious. My FI is not really religious, but he still found the class really helpful. Churches generally have almost free classes (ours was $25 for eight weeks).

    Premarital classes were oh so helpful, our relationship grew up so much during the class!

  16. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:54 pm

    I’m the stew in silence type, which is really not healthy, but like everything in a relationship you recognize your weakness and try to improve.

  17. Member
    Miss_Manda 301 posts, Helper bee @ 7:11 pm

    I’m like one of the PPs… I’m the high-strung, stressy one and he’s the mellow, saint-for-putting-up-with-me when I’m in one of those moods one. Thanks for sharing your story… it helps to hear the “we’re not perfect” stories from Bees SO much!

  18. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:45 pm

    So glad you are real. We fight too.. wedding is making it worse – not that we fight more but if I get annoyed and vent, I get the “you wanna figure this out before the ‘I do”
    Blah.. those people are crazy – I love him more than anything, but he can drive me crazy :-)

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    S, Guest @ 7:58 pm

    We’re doing non-religious pre-marital counseling and it’s been great. I’d totally recommend it to anyone. We’re fighting so much less and working things out much more easily.

  20. Member
    KYbride86 307 posts, Helper bee @ 8:04 am

    I’m sure you know this, but just wanted to note that you can do pre-marital counseling even if you’re not doing a religious ceremony! It’s a good way to talk about things that will effect/come up in any marriage — finances, kids, family, backgrounds, expectations and conflict resolution.

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