Why arguments in your relationship can be a good thing

Sometimes, I’m a bad girlfriend. There, I said it. Most of the time, I’m pretty good at the girlfriend thing. I do thoughtful things, I listen, I counsel and I try to keep the relationship fun and interesting. There are times ,however, when being a good girlfriend can feel a little too much like hard work. Anyone who has been in a long term relationship or who has been married a while will know that while there are beautiful, magical moments, there are also difficult and challenging moments too. There are everyday struggles; you know, the stuff you don’t see in Disney movies.
I used to often be the pedant watching these films and say things like ‘sure, Belle and Beast are gonna live happily ever after, but what about an income? Who’s gonna be the bread winner? What about children? Will Beast not want to enjoy his evidently more useable genitals with more than one broad?’ Call me pessimistic, but relationships are not fairy tales.
I don’t want it to appear like I’m unhappy in any way. I love Jack more than I could ever have thought possible. I’m just a realist. One of my favourite tv shows is ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ for this reason: it might be uncomfortable to watch sometimes, but that’s real life (and it’s damn hilarious). Yes, relationships are great and fun and fluffy but we have to be aware of the other side of the coin too. If you go into a relationship or marriage expecting constant bliss, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
The thing is though, I like the other side of the coin. I like that Jack and I argue and have our struggles. It gives our relationship depth. We learn from it, and from each other. We don’t view arguments as anything massively negative, because we know we can fix it. And that’s a great feeling: knowing you’ve worked at something and the reward is a stronger relationship.
It’s funny how the years can change your relationship without you noticing. We get on each other’s nerves a lot more now. When I sleep in on a day off, it’s not longer ‘cute’ but lazy. When he takes forever to finish a sentence, it frustrates me more than queuing at the post office. That’s a LOT. Jack and I know that this is normal. You do begin to annoy each other over (seemingly) very trivial things. But you also can laugh about it, and be honest about it. I have a friend who constantly uses words in the wrong context. It used to only be mildly irritating but now it’s become full blown annoying as hell. I feel like I can’t tell her though cause it would hurt her feelings. And that’s the beauty of me and Jack. We might be mean to each other sometimes but it’s water off a duck’s back at this stage. He knows not to put his feet anywhere near me, not to say anything about me menstruating if I’m in a bad mood or not to try and communicate with me if I am on the phone unless the house is on fire (I can’t multitask). For my part, I try to chew in a more lady like manner, not to ruin the end of movies and stop taking in random stray animals. Sometimes, we still do these things. And the other will point it out. We might argue. The important thing is, we’ve come to learn so much about each other because we don’t walk on egg shells around each other.
One of my friends finds it strange how we sometimes communicate. Take for instance our quibbles over who makes the tea. We drink a lot of tea. We probably drink enough to fund a small country. In the beginning of our relationship, I always made Jack tea. Constantly. After a while, that started to wear thin. I’m not lazy or anything, but I think many people start to resent the little things they do going unrecognised. My friend once told me that she finds our over quibble over who makes the tea very silly. Ten years ago, I would have agreed with her. But now that I know how relationships work, I told her that it seems silly and trivial, but it’s not just about the tea. It’s about compromise and respect. Ironically, a few months later, she complained to me that she was tired of having to pick up her workmates coffee on the way to work. She said that although it was on her way and her coworker always paid her, she couldn’t help but resent it after a while. That’s when she finally got it: it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person to get annoyed at someone you care about. It’s completely normal. Relationships evolve, and that always involves overcoming strife together.

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12 thoughts on “Why arguments in your relationship can be a good thing

  1. The Hook says:

    After 18 years, my wife and I have our fights down to a science.
    We fight.
    I refuse to back down.
    She walks away.
    I surrender and spend hours apologizing.
    It works for us.

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