How to Argue in a Relationship

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Avery and I have never explicitly discussed how we would handle our relationship and what we put out into the social media realm. But we do have a sort of unspoken rule to just not post badly about the other. Believe me, there have been times where it would have been so easy to tweet out something nasty about him or an argument to have random people tell me I’m right in the situation. But every time I get the urge to do so, I stop and think about it. Sometimes I even write it out in a tweet and save it in a draft. Every single time, I end up deleting before I even send it out or forgetting about it in my drafts folder. Sure, it may feel good in the moment when you’re heated and ready to win at any cost, but when you’ve cooled down enough to want to talk it out, you not only have to talk about the initial argument, you also must talk/apologize for the way you handled it.

People often feel more confident online than they do in real life. Not every thought needs to be broadcast to the entire world via the internet; some aspects of a relationship should remain private. That’s not to say you can’t vent to your best friend about your relationship, but it’s a different ballpark when you decide to invite strangers to have a look into intimate parts of your relationship.

I’m sharing this becasue I know everyone has arguments, big or small. I’m in no way saying that the following suggestions are necessarily the right way for everyone to handle their relationship spats, but here are some healthier ways we can work towards settling an argument.

  1. Take a step back.

Not to say you should let the issue fester about for days, but sometimes you need a minute (or an hour) to gather your thoughts and think about what is truly the issue. I find that 99% of the time when I truly think about the issue, it’s very , VERY stupid. (Don’t ever say this to your partner because it may just exacerbate the actual problem.)

  1. Listen to what the other person is saying.

Even if you don’t agree with an ounce of what the other person is saying, give them the floor for a second. Just listen and don’t say a word. Sometimes, this is just as important as offering an apology.

  1. Offer an apology.

Don’t stay mad just because you don’t want to be wrong. Sometimes, even if you’re wrong, you need to take one for the team. There are sure to be times in the future where you’re wrong but can’t admit it, and it would feel nice for your partner to give you an out by apologizing. Very few arguments in a relationship are worth the anger and resentment.

  1. Try your very hardest not to keep fighting the same fight.

This is one of the hardest steps on this list because it requires communication and finding lasting solutions to our problems. A lot of us like to avoid having tough conversations, so it’s easier to keep fighting. This isn’t healthy and eventually one of you will get tired of it. Work on having good communication when you’re not having an argument, so that way it’s easier to be honest when you are having a fight. Solving issues the first time, will lower the chances of repeating the same fight again. (Sorry Avery, but I have a feeling you’re always going to have to remind me to run the garbage disposal, unless you want to take over dish duty.)

 

If you have any tips you would like to add to this list, please do. Or if you disagree with any of my tips, please leave a comment below.

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Why Laughter is the Best Medicine For Relationships

Laughter requires the movement of muscles, meaning your heart rate increases, and more oxygen enters our tissues. Laugh more, and you can exercise less because laughter burns calories.1 The release of endorphins that is caused by increased blood flow lowers stress levels. 2

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Avery is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. I tell him multiple times a day that he’s not. Gotta keep his ego in check, ya know? He likes to make up his own lyrics to songs that are absolutely ridiculous. And he’s not afraid to be undeniably weird in front of me. I love that he’s able to be so comfortable with me. I think it definitely took some time for us to be completely relaxed in front of one another. It was nothing like “we were completely comfortable with each other right away” crap you hear all the time. While that may be the case for some couples, I would say a majority of us have some reservations when getting to know someone new.

LAUGHTER MAKES IT EASIER TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER
Communication is so much easier when it’s not serious all the time with every single conversation. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place to be completely serious, but most of the time, it’s way easier to talk to someone when you know you can be playful, yourself, and laugh at one another. Communicating your feelings with someone who has the power to hurt you emotionally is daunting. But knowing you can laugh and connect with them makes it easier when you have something serious to relay to them.

LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
For the longest time, I was so uncomfortable laughing at myself. I have this self-conscious need to be flawless, or to appear so to others. I don’t like to fail, so it was hard to laugh at myself and my mistakes. With Avery, I wasn’t afraid to show him that I wasn’t perfect all the time. And he taught me that it was okay to laugh at myself every once in a while. And when you’re able to laugh at yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say about you. This is one of the best things that has come out of my relationship with Avery, and I thank God every day that he was able to show me how amazing it is that I’m not perfect.

CONNECTS US
What’s so funny about Avery and I is that we are very much the “opposites attract” couple. He is very outwardly personable, while I am an introvert through and through. He makes friends easily and I much happier not being put in situations of meeting new people. He likes to have a plan and stick with it. To me, having a plan is nice but things don’t always happen the way we want them to, and I am perfectly fine with that.
The one thing that brings us together as a couple is laughter. Anyone who doesn’t like to joke around with his or her significant other needs to find a new partner. Laughing is universal, and it allows us to connect with each other.

So laugh a little more, stress a little less, and know everything will be okay.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Sometimes You Just Have To Say “I’m Sorry”

IMG_0980I have never been good at saying sorry. Not because I don’t think I’m ever wrong. Often times I will know I’m wrong. But saying “I’m sorry” out loud is acknowledging to OTHERS that I’m wrong. That is difficult and embarrassing and hard. Despite that, people who want healthy relationships need to learn how to say sorry.

I like to hold grudges. Or I used to. I held onto my anger and let it control my actions. This is just not a healthy way of dealing with problems especially in a romantic relationship because relationships require communication. My punishment of choice is the opposite of communication: the silent treatment. And I never liked to admit when I was wrong.

Saying sorry in a relationship is important, though. It allows for healthy dialogue to take place. I am very proud of the way that I have learned that saying sorry isn’t showing weakness rather it shows strength and a willingness to work through problems rather than casting them aside and hoping they get better by ignoring them (this NEVER works, by the way). It’s a sign of maturity.

We need to make a conscious decision to say sorry more often. Mistakes need to be tolerated because no one is perfect. All relationships, in fact, are imperfect. And this is why “I’m sorry” is so vital. It may take a while before you are able to recognize that you aren’t being tolerant enough of your partner and their faults. But it should always be a goal to talk things out, let it go, and say I’m sorry.

I’m learning, and I still have a long way to go. Avery, stick with me. And I promise to do the same with you.

How We Got Engaged

I had absolutely no idea I was going to get engaged. I had wanted to go to NYC during December and being the persuasive person I am talked Avery into the trip as well. We planned everything out about a month before our vacation. I determined all of the bigger outings like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. But the one place I was determined to go to was the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

We left Austin right after my last final of the semester and got to NYC around 9 pm. I didn’t think this next fact was a big deal, but looking back, it definitely should have been a red flag. The entire time we were travelling, Avery asked three or four times if I was going to do my makeup. I knew we were going to try and walk around after we checked into our hotel. Turns out, he was planning to propose that night, but it didn’t end up happening because we got into the city too late. And the reason he kept asking if I was going to do my makeup was because my mom told him to make sure I looked good for pictures or I would be upset (she was right).

Cut to the next night, we went to dinner at John’s Pizza (best pizza ever, btw). And afterwards we walked to Rockefeller Center. While we were walking there, Avery started acting very strange. I can’t recall exactly what he was doing or saying, but I distinctly remember him acting odd. This led me to thinking, “Oh my God, what if he’s going to propose?!” I promise I had no idea, before that moment walking to see the Christmas tree, that he might be proposing.

It was confirmed in my mind when he asked me if we should ask the police officer to take our picture in front of the tree. I told Avery something to the effect of “No, wtf, why him?!” I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or didn’t care, but he went and gave this cop his phone anyway.

He came back, got down on one knee and proposed. Don’t ask me what he said because I have no idea. Had I been more prepared for it, I might be able to remember a detail or two. I was absolutely in shock. We had talked about marriage before this trip. But definitely nothing that indicated he would be proposing in the near future. Of course I said yes, after getting over my initial shock.

So on December 16, 2014, we got engaged. Avery later told me how nervous he was which would explain his weird behavior. Another red flag I should mention and should have noticed, but I’m oblivious, is my brother calling that day asking if I had specifically gone to see the tree yet. I didn’t think anything of it until after the fact. Avery had gone to talk to my mom a couple weeks before. So my whole family was anticipating it while I obliviously thought I was just about to have a nice, normal trip to NYC.

Here are some pictures of our trip and of the proposal:

I Don’t Regret Eloping

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I’m not going to lie, I wanted the big wedding with the huge cake, white dress, and a first dance. Well, my dress wasn’t white, we didn’t dance, but I did get my cake! (In my eyes, that was the most important part.) Before Avery left for basic training, we set a date about a year in the future.

But things changed when he left. I didn’t cry until I got my first letter a week after he left. I hadn’t even opened it yet and I was bawling. Every day he was gone was just a check on my calendar. About three weeks before he was set to graduate I got to talk to him on the phone. And we talked about eloping. And once it was out there, we couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It was actually very easy. Much easier than I expected. After his graduation, we drove to the courthouse where we met up with our families. I had been in contact with Donald Lang who has been helping military couples for many years. He met us at the courthouse to help walk us through the whole process. Immediately after we got our marriage license, we walked to his little chapel across the street and had a small ceremony with both our families. It was short and sweet.

I absolutely, positively do not regret eloping. It was probably the best way we could have started off our marriage. Here’s why:

  1. We didn’t spend a lot of money. The most we spent was on our rings, which to me, is a wise investment.
  2. The day was about the two of us because we didn’t have any frills. There was no anxiety about decorations or food. No worrying about anything other than making it to the courthouse.
  3. Our family was there to witness it. Of course we would have loved to include a few more people, but the most important people in our lives were there.

Maybe one day we will have a ceremony to renew our vows with all of our family and friends, but if we don’t, I will be completely content with our wedding day.

What I’ve Learned From Getting Married Young

PEOPLE WILL DOUBT YOU

We’re young. Only 21, closer to 22 now. Although no one has said this to our faces, I’m sure we had a lot of doubters when we said we were engaged, and we probably still do a year into our marriage. I’ve heard through my mom and some friends what others have said to them about us. That we’re “too young”. (Well, we’re of legal age, so no, we’re not too young.) Or “what’s the rush?”. ( Why wait? I get to spend my life with my best friend, why wouldn’t I want that?) Or “Is she pregnant?”. (No, I wasn’t pregnant when I got married, I’m not pregnant now, and we don’t plan on it for at least a few years. Not that it’s any one else’s business, even if I was.)

PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU

When I tell some people that I’m married, they get this look of shock that morphs into a fake enthusiasm. They’ll then ask about Avery and when we got married and a myriad of others details on which to judge us. I won’t lie. It’s hard to know that people will judge me based on the fact that I chose to be tied to one person for the rest of my life at a relatively young age. Some act as though my life as I know it is ending. I used to feel like I had to prove that my love for Avery was real enough. And when I feel that way, I remind myself that my marriage is between me and Avery and no one else.

YOUR PARTNER WILL PISS YOU OFF

Avery does this thing where he asks me to do things that he’s more than capable of doing. Like we’ll be sitting on the couch and he’ll ask me to get him a water bottle or heat him up some food or get his work boots from the room or any other small task that wouldn’t normally bother me, but when I spend all day running around doing these small things, it really grinds my gears. What makes him incapable of doing any of these things?! Nothing! And I tell him this every few days. And then I get over it. Because IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. Certainly not worthy of the energy it would take to fight about it.

AND THEY’LL MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU EXPECTED

I do a lot of the cleaning around the apartment. (Avery, you know it’s true. Don’t argue with me.) And it’s fine with me because I don’t like having the place a mess. So today when I found that Avery had folded the towels without me having to ask, I was beyond grateful. Not because I wouldn’t have to do it, but because I know that folding laundry is his most hated household chore. The fact that he took the time to do this to help me out despite the fact that he despises it (and is terrible at it) shows me he cares. Who knew I’d be so happy over some folded towels in a laundry basket?

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