Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Piece of Marriage Advice You Shouldn't Give

"I'm sorry," I said to my husband as I pecked his cheek. He set the bowl of oatmeal down in front of the screaming two year old and faced me.

"I'm sorry too," he said as we wrapped our arms around each other. We whispered a few more words to each other, smiled as we mentioned make up sex later, and kissed each other again.

We had had a fight about work schedules, parenting, household chores. Basically, just life. We fought, couldn't come up with a resolution, and went to bed. We went to bed angry. The one piece of marriage advice everyone gives you and we don't listen to it. At all. We never have and we never will.

When my husband and I fight and can't reach a compromise or resolution, we walk away from each other. We leave each other to find our own thoughts, calm down, breathe, and gather our feelings. Sometimes I come back to the table with a new argument, which is sometimes just a nicer way of presenting my first argument (I'm pretty sure after 7 years of marriage he sees through this tactic). We rarely continue an argument until we can respectfully speak to one another.

Sometimes the argument ends in agreement, sometimes it ends with a compromise and a backup plan in case our compromise fails, sometimes it ends with one (or both) of us realizing we were wrong, and it always ends with the words "I'm sorry." I have yet to meet a couple who didn't benefit from taking a step back from the fight, calming down, and then going back to the fight. For us this can take minutes, hours, days, or even well after we go to bed.

Marriage is a long road that is often complicated by other's well wishes. Just be careful what advice you dole out and what you choose to listen to because no two marriages work the same. When asked for marriage advice or how our marriage works, I never give the good ole' 'never go to bed angry' line. Maybe this piece of advice has worked for some couples, but as for us, going to bed angry has saved my marriage many times.