Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Oh the art of arguing. It's one thing, that no matter how wonderful and loving your relationship is, all of us couples have to deal with. A lot of times it's not necessarily the conflict that creates long term resentment in a relationship, but it's how we deal with the conflict. When something arises, you can choose to tackle it head on and problem solve, with your partner, to make sure both parties are satisfied at the end (or at least hope to satisfy both parties). Or, one or both of you can avoid the conflict at hand, where one or both of you are unsatisfied, and that resentment and tension just builds and builds and builds.
Jason and I are the perfect example of how avoiding a problem pretty much led to World War 3. One of the biggest issues between the two of us is cleanliness in our house. I need things to be sparkling clean, not a speck of dirt on my floors, clothes folded neatly and immediately put away, absolutely zero dishes sitting in the sink. Okay, you guys get the point. Jason, oh my wonderful husband, doesn't give a you know what about this stuff. He tracks dirt into the house and doesn't think he needs to vacuum right after, his freshly cleaned clothes are usually spread across the floor, he leaves used dishes on the counter or maybe in the sink, but with no water added to soak them! It drives me insane! Now I know what some of you are probably thinking, "Dana, why don't you just ask him to clean up after himself?" Well guys, I've done that. See Jason, as amazing as he is, is definitely one of those types who hates to be told that he's done something "wrong."
For a very long time if I asked him to clean up after himself, I would immediately hear that I was too naggy, the house could look crappy for a little (yeah, he SAID that!), it wasn't a big deal, blah blah blah. You could imagine how frustrated I was hearing this all the time, so I finally just stopped bringing it up and I tried really hard to be the sweet and loving girlfriend (WW3 was pre-marriage), who would quietly clean up after him. But unfortunately, me staying quiet around him only meant that I was cursing his existence in my head. Literally pulling a Charlotte in Sex and The City, when she cursed the day Big was born. So finally, after all of this time of me avoiding the subject, cursing his existence in my head, and day dreaming of the different ways I was going to kill him, I finally lost it! I don't need to go into details, but you guys probably imagine the words and the threats that were coming straight from my soul. Jason stood there, wide eyed, and semi-terrified, at his tiny wife (I'm really not that tiny but he always says I am, so it fits in this story), preparing to remove his head from is body, using her bare hands. At this point something finally clicked for him. He realized that even though cleanliness was meaningless to him, it was important to me. And that I asked him countless times before, to simply pick up after himself. But he refused every single time and that refusal led me to avoid the conversation all together, which lead to this bloody battle. It was the wake up call I have been waiting for. It wasn't the most pleasant wake up call, but it happened and it finally freakin worked.
Using the memory of that almost fateful day, Jason and I now try our best, though we still fail at times because we are NOT perfect, to combat problems as a team. When a conflict arises, instead of us blaming the other person, or claiming that something isn't a big deal, or that one of is is being too naggy, we collaborate and calmly discuss a solution to our problem. Sometimes the solution makes us both feel satisfied, sometimes it only makes one of us feel satisfied, but resolving a conflict honestly and openly means that we both win, and our marriage wins. Sure, Jason still tracks dirt into the house and leaves forks in random rooms (don't ask me why), but he now understands that if I bring it up, it's an opportunity for both of us to work together as a team, and to use conflict to positively enhance our marriage.