Don’t Fight — Be Happy
Probably the most difficult thing we humans do is make a long-term relationship with another person. A relationship with a partner is different in kind from relationships with our children or the family we were born to. A partner is another adult we choose.
Even when we believe we “fell” in love, ultimately it was our choice whether to follow the lead of our hormones and interest or not. In the search for the perfect mate, we believe we found “the one.” What we may not realize at the time is that we found the one we would have conflicts with for the rest of our lives.
What? Conflict? Aren’t marriages made in heaven (or even on earth) supposed to be conflict-free? Aren’t people in love supposed to be in sync and completely compatible?
Nope. Regardless of what chick flicks, pop songs, TV sitcoms and romance novels tell us, successful relationships are not defined by being conflict-free. When we choose one person over others to be our partner, we are only choosing one set of challenges, problems, and differences over others. We are in essence deciding that the rest of the person’s positive beliefs, attributes, and behaviors outweigh the things that bug us.
It’s not the lack of conflict that makes for a good relationship. It’s how we handle our differences that can either make the relationship grow and thrive or that can destroy our love and trust. Regardless of whether they realize it, successful couples follow some basic “rules” for managing their differences. Regardless of whether they’ve made a study of it or can talk clearly about it, they behave according to a common set of principles.
Make the decision not to fight.
Fighting inflicts pain. People get loud and abusive in their language and their behavior. Civilized people don’t have to “fight.” Just because you feel like having a fight doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Just because someone invites you to be in one doesn’t mean you have to go along. If you want to strengthen your relationship, strengthen your resolve to negotiate, cooperate, and discuss issues instead of fighting.