The first four months of my relationship were heavenly.
Our moments were filled with uncontrollable laughter and beautiful, sleepless nights.
Once, we were at the beach and overheard a couple fighting. We chuckled and held hands, reaffirming how perfect our relationship was and how we would never fight.
Five months into our relationship, our dating transformed from “perfect” to not-so-perfect anymore. My traumas came to the surface, and his were shining bright. Our moments were now filled with uncontrollable fighting and ugly, messy nights.
What happened? We both wondered as we thought we would never become like that “imperfect couple” on the beach.
It took us almost a year, multiple fights, and almost separating to understand that:
>> one, we could never be a “perfect” couple
>> two, there is no perfect couple
>> three, fighting doesn’t make us imperfect
>> and four, it wasn’t about fighting
It was, in fact, about learning how to fight. I learned to gently express what I needed and to not hold grudges; he learned how to listen and communicate. I learned to never make him feel guilty; he learned how not to verbally attack. I learned to trust; he learned to trust too. And most of all, we both learned to always learn from every fight.
When we started fighting better, our relationship started expanding. We started to grow and learn more about each other. Instead of taking conflict as a bad thing, we now turned it into an opportunity to enhance the relationship.
With time, we’ve understood that we have different mental patterns, and we just need to tweak our emotional responses in order to meet in the middle.
Yesterday, as I was scrolling on Instagram, I came across a new reel by Jay Shetty. It read, “The #1 Skill Needed for a Long-Lasting Relationship.” I had to watch it, and when I did, I remembered how my husband and I almost broke up because we had misunderstood the idea of fighting.
Jay Shetty explains:
“The #1 skill needed for a long-lasting relationship is not date-nights, it’s not holiday cruises, it’s not walks on the beach, it’s not giving each other gifts, it’s not cooking for each other, it’s learning how to fight. The truth is that any good relationship will always have conflict. You’re never gonna be in a scenario where you’re dating where you don’t argue or you don’t have a disagreement. It’s going to happen.”
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Reading this beautiful reminder by Shetty reaffirmed to me that fighting better does indeed improve our days, and it’s extremely recommended for a long-lasting, happy relationship.
Date nights, cooking for each other, and getting each other gifts is absolutely beautiful. These habits strengthen our bonds and bring us closer. However, they’re easy and can be nearly successful with anyone with whom we have an undeniable connection and chemistry.
On the other hand, fighting well requires skills. It is only when our relationships get tough do we know how resilient our bond is. This is when real work begins and showing we’re a team is crucial.
How can we fight better? Learn to effectively listen to each other, understand where you both come from, understand your traumas and triggers, choose your words carefully and gently, learn from what has transpired and put the lessons into action, be empathetic, be respectful, and most of all, put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
Fighting can improve your relationship. You just need to be willing to do the work.