Be at peace evermore

I read this article recently about 31 ways to know you're in the right relationship.  I can't say I'm a relationship expert or have any kind of background in therapy or psychology or anything (and I don't know whether the author has either) , but while I was reading through, most of the items seemed like good advice for couples, and it seemed to me that a relationship would be healthier if those points were followed.   All except one.  #22 Fight.

I remember as a child I would often hear my parents fight--usually after all the kids had gone to bed.  It scared me.  When I was in 6th grade, one of my close friend's parents divorced.  I didn't understand it.  But, I knew that when my parents fought I was worried that they would get divorced.  One time, my mom was so upset that she stormed out of the house saying "That's it!  I'm leaving!" and drove off in the car.  I remember, as a young boy, I watched her drive down the road and seriously wondered if I would ever see her again.  I didn't know if she meant she was leaving for good or just temporarily.  I was afraid to ask anyone.  I was devastated.  It was hard for me to understand what would make my parents do what they do.

I've seen many couples fight, and I never like it.  It's always uncomfortable for me.  Sometimes it's in their home, sometimes it's in public, and sometimes it's in my home.  And it's always the same.  I don't understand it.  Especially with how trivial some of the things are that some couples will fight about.  I just want to say "Is it really that big of a deal whether you squeeze the middle of the toothpaste tube?  Honestly, what's more important--your relationship or a toilet paper roll?"  Not all arguments are about such disgustingly trivial matters, but many are.  The point is, any time I'm around a fighting couple, I'm uncomfortable.  It also makes me want to steel my resolve to never fight with Conrad.

Now, I understand why the author of the above article says that fighting is good for a relationship.  The point is that neither person in the relationship should be repressed and trampled over--physically or metaphorically.  If there aren't any "fights", that means one or both people are holding back their feelings and not being honest with each other.  I get that.  But I most emphatically do not believe that fighting is ever good in a relationship.  I do not agree with the rather widely-accepted notion that all couples do and should fight.  I do not believe that it is a sign of a healthy relationship.  I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect a couple to live together and not fight, and I know this from first-hand experience because Conrad and I do not fight.  Yes, we disagree.  We don't see eye-to-eye on everything.  But we allow those disagreements to happen without boiling up heaps of anger and malcontent toward each other.

When I witness a couple fight, the first thing I think is "How could I ever say/do that to someone that I truly love?  Why would I want to hurt the man of my dreams by saying that to him?"  And I always answer that I really wouldn't want to do that.  I want to love him and respect him, not fight with him.  I don't want to call him names, and I don't want to belittle him in any way at all.  I don't want to hurt his feelings.  I want to make him feel special, loved, and appreciated.  I want to make him feel like he is the most perfect man in the world.  Because I sincerely believe that about him.  If I don't like the fact that he leaves his towel on the floor after showering, I can politely and respectfully say "Hey, honey, I would really appreciate it if you'd hang your towel on the rack after you're done with it."  I don't have to blow up in his face and say things that I'd later regret over it.

Every day, every moment, I have a choice of what to say and how to treat my fiance.  I can say something that will make him know how much I love him or I can say something that will seriously hurt his feelings.  I can hold him in my arms in a loving embrace, or I can create a bruise on his skin.  Which one will I do?  The choice is always mine.  I choose the former.  I choose love.  I choose respect.  I choose kindness.

Conrad actually makes it extremely difficult to fight with him.  I know that there would be a couple times when we would have fought if he were as stubborn as I, but gladly he's not.  He's very gentle and far more pacifistic than I am.  He won't even kill insects.  He was very excited about this new effort scientists are making to grow (animal) muscle tissue synthetically, so we can eat meat without killing animals.  And I can only take the smallest bit of credit for our no-fight record.  He's very good at preventing fights.  And that's one of the many things that I love about him.

So, I amend the list of 31 things.  I say that #22 should be "Be able to disagree with each other."  Be honest, be frank, and be respectful.  I think the true sign of a healthy relationship is not that you can be open and honest enough to fight with each other, but that you can also be respectful and mature enough to disagree with someone without making a big fight out of it.

I intend to continue my relationship with Conrad without ever fighting with him.  It has not at any point been difficult.  I don't hold back my feels.  I don't stew about things for days.  I'm not secretly angry at him about anything.  There's nothing that I hold in the back of my mind that I feel like I need to deliver with a wallop.  I am completely honest and real with him.  I express my feelings and my opinions openly.  When he asks for constructive criticism, I give it.  And I do so respectfully and lovingly.  We do not fight.  And I don't think that any couple should.  Life is too short to make it miserable for the person you're trying to spend it with.  Instead, make it more pleasant for them.  Bring them breakfast in bed.  Have dinner ready when they come home.  Give them a back massage.  Listen to them complain about work.  Cry on their shoulder.  Hold them in your arms.  And be at peace with each other.