I was shocked to find out that my brother-in-law had pulled my husband aside to share with him concerns he had about our marriage.
Apparently I was “condescending and disrespectful” in front of other people. My husband was taken aback. He considered our interaction to be banter, as did I. It upset me for a while and I began to question myself. Ultimately I decided to try and put it aside. If my husband didn’t have a problem with how I spoke to him that’s all that mattered to me.
Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something wrong with our marriage. Had years of disappointment and resentment built up to such a stage that our everyday communication was passive aggressive? I couldn’t bring up any of our real issues so I attacked the way he slurped when he ate watermelon instead? Worse yet, was I doing it in front of others with little thought given to how they might view it?
Rachel Jones is a writer who says she's experienced the exact same thing. She's had people take issue with her relationship, telling her that she and her husband "fight a lot", leaving her thinking, fighting? What fighting?
"But, we've been married for 16 years, and so we just kind of say stuff," she writes on Babble.com. "You know, stuff. Like when we have an opinion or when we disagree. We say it. I hated his moustache; I told him so. In front of guests. And I blogged about it. He disagreed with me on a political issue and made that clear. At dinner with friends."
Jones says she credits their habit of having a lot of little disagreements with greatly reducing the number of huge fights they end up having. They let out all the little hurts and annoyances immediately instead of saving them up for a epic, potentially relationship-ending argument later. That rings true for me. My husband and I rarely have huge fight - but we disagree often. We disagree in person and via text messages several times a week. Instead of considering it a problem, I think it may be one of the reasons we've been together for over 16 years.
Long-term relationships are completely misunderstood by those who've never experienced one. Short-term and mid-term relationships run by a completely different set of rules to those that have endured 16 years. Everyone whose been with the same person for 16-years and a deeply profound level.
I was introduced to the book Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix, by an incredible episode of Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday featuring singer Alanis Morissette. They spoke about the book and credited it with keeping their relationships together, with Oprah saying, "I wouldn't still be in a relationship with Stedman if it wasn't for that book." I bought it immediately and read it quickly, loving every single thing it had to say about getting the love you want.
Watch Oprah Winfrey and Alanis Morissette credit this book with keeping their relationships intact. Article continues after this video:
The phases of love were explained like this:
Romantic love - the incredible first stage where your body is flooded with attraction and feel good chemicals.