Even though we like to focus primarily on financial matters on this blog, today I want to talk about relationships, and our marriage in particular. We’ve been married for nine years, but together for a total of fourteen as of this coming January. What continues to amaze both of us is how well we still get along. And we very rarely fight (we do play-argue a ton, though, because we love to tease one another and have a good time).
So what’s our “secret”? I think it comes down to respect and appreciation, among other things. But those two are at the top of the list. We still say please and thank you and do not take one another for granted. We also approach each other respectfully even if the other person has done something to aggravate us. A good example of this comes from an incident that happened this morning.
To give you a little background, Joe shaves his own head in our master bathroom. I also keep a night light plugged in for when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom so I don’t wake myself, or him, up fully by turning on the overhead light. Early this morning when the alarm went off I went to use the restroom, but as I felt around the outlet, the nightlight wasn’t there. It then occurred to me that Joe had removed it last night to plug in his clippers and had forgotten to put it back (which he does from time to time). I didn’t want to turn on the light as I was planning to go back to sleep (since I don’t work on Fridays), so I went back in the bedroom and said, “Joe, can you plug in the nightlight so I can use the bathroom? I can’t find it”. He quickly apologized and jumped up and took care of it for me. When he came back to bed I thanked him for finding it for me (since I had no idea where he had put it and couldn’t see it in the dark). Then we got a little snuggle time in before the alarm went off again and he left for work.
Now, I could have just gotten aggravated (to be honest, I did feel a bit aggravated, but I did not let that color my response) and “yelled” at him for not putting it back, but what kind of start to the day would that bring, and over something so trivial? I can totally see people doing that, however. I actually know of a couple who would probably get into a huge fight over this exact thing. But in the end reacting in a negative manner will only bring resentment and bitterness to a marriage, not love and togetherness. And if it was really that big of a deal to me, I could always bring it up later so we could talk about it without emotions getting involved.
Even though I said we never fight, that doesn’t mean we don’t disagree with one another or never get on one another’s nerves. It’s just in how you handle it. We’re extremely lucky in the regard that we both tend to approach things in the same way so it makes disagreements easier to handle. For instance, we always take the other person’s feelings into consideration, and we never call each other names (except when we are playing around and it’s obvious we’re not upset). Our neighbors are always screaming at one another (we can hear them through the not-so-insulated walls) and it just blows my mind to hear people treating each other that way. I honestly can’t think of even one instance when either of us screamed at the other one in an angry way. The only screaming that has ever occurred in this house is when one of us needs the other one’s attention ASAP and they are on a different level and we can’t come to them for some reason (like if we hurt ourselves, for instance).
If you happen to be in a relationship where fighting or screaming is the norm, I challenge you to try a gentler approach and see what happens. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to see how your reaction can positively influence your partner’s response (and if not, they suck and you should separate… kidding!)