I’ve written about marriage before but today I present a new facet to ponder. I’m not bragging when I tell you that people occasionally ask Conor and me how we get along so well. I’m pretty much just telling you that, you know, it happens. Mostly because we have a lot of fun together.
It’s been nearly 5 years since we did the whole ‘I do’ thing and rather than entering a slow decline into quiet disdain for each other our relationship has gotten stronger. I’ll admit that this is a bit of a surprise because at least part of me did kind of expect the downward spiral, but I know exactly why that’s not what’s happening in our relationship.
This works because we’ve made a conscious decision to make it work, from the beginning. Because our happiness and being together mean more to us than being right in arguments, more than pretty much anything else. Arguments are fleeting and the most important things to remember are to respect each other and that no matter how upset we are in the moment we are speaking to a person we love, so we don’t say stuff to hurt each other, stuff we ‘don’t mean’ that we’ll feel bad about later.
I’ve found that since I’ve applied that philosophy to my entire life I’m happier, I don’t hold onto stuff I really need to let go of and I have what I think is an easier time keeping an open mind about things. That last thing is important. Especially when in an argument – with anyone. No matter how firmly entrenched we may feel in the validity of our position on any given topic there is always another side. Rarely is one person all right and the other all wrong. Often the answer is somewhere in the middle and once we let the hot emotions of an argument calm down we’ll be able to see the other person’s point of view. Even if we don’t agree we will have perspective.
An intractable position is a dead end. The ability to be flexible in thought and philosophy is what keeps us in touch with each other as people. That’s why it’s important to decide at the beginning of our relationships, or to go forward from today, to respect each other no matter how angry we get. ‘Cuz how bad will we feel after a fight when we can see the other person’s point and we have remembered what we like about each other and we realize we said terrible things to the other person so that we could hurt them when we were angry? It’s not a good feeling.
At least that’s what I think. But the beauty of it is, if I’m wrong there’s always room in my mind for change.