Adam and I’s first year of marriage was UNFAIRLY easy. We (almost) never fought, we seemed to like all the same foods and shows, and we just couldn’t get enough of each other. We fell into an effortless chore routine. It seemed like we were naturally taking turns at cooking meals or cleaning things up and we weren’t even realizing it. We just fell into the perfect rhythm. “It’s because we’re meant to be!”, we would boast… but we’ve found that even meant-to-be takes work.
Before we got married, Adam and I worked together as partners in the college ministry. He took care of the men, I took care of the women. He was mostly focused on the public schools in our city and I was focused on the private ones. Even though our work was mostly separated by gender, we saw each other every single day. During the summer, we spent all day together for almost 4 months. We humorously calculated that we saw each other more than we slept (not an exaggeration). Together, we shared our faith on college campuses, lead bible discussions, lead bible studies, mentored younger christians, and organized college events. It was during this time that Adam and I developed a friendship and realized how perfectly we fit into each other. I would often marvel at life and think, “everything I’ve ever wanted that I never thought could realistically exist in a man is right across the table from me.”
We quickly learned our strengths and weaknesses. I like to work alone. He likes to work in groups. Facts are the most important thing to me. Feelings are the most important thing to him. I don’t care what people think about me – at all – and he is a slave to public opinion. I like making all the decisions, he would rather come along for the ride. There are so many things that are so beautiful about each of us, but also things that betray a goodness inside of us. I may be confident, but I am prideful. He may be humble, but he’s insecure. I may “get things done” but, naturally, I’m a loner. He is a friend to all, but forgets about his responsibilities. You catching my drift?
So when we came together, we found something remarkable. He taught me sensitivity and how to need people and I taught him how to be true and secure in himself even if it went against the grain. All of our weaknesses were made stronger just by being near each other, and I knew it was the mark of something that was “meant-to-be.”
But we fight. And it seems like we fight about the same things… over and over again.
What We fight about:
1. Talking. (I know).
You can EASILY tell how different Adam and I are by asking us one simple question: “How was your day?” My response will be something like: “Oh it was good! I hung out with X, Y, Z, and had a lot of fun. It was a good day.” Adam’s response will be something like: “WELL… I woke up and opened my eyes. I thought to myself, ‘wow, I’m awake.’ I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, put some clothes on…” You get where I’m going with this? I’m very minimal in my words. I honestly can’t help it. Adam is very expressive and can talk your ear off for HOURS. It drives me crazy. I just want the bullet points, don’t give me the whole novel, but Adam NEEDS to give you the novel, it’s how he bonds… and it’s something we still haven’t figured out in our marriage. We get in a lot of fights about conversations. He’ll be understandably hurt when I say, “Hey, get to the point!” and he often feels disconnected if I don’t share about my day the way he would. He feels like I’m just brushing him off or holding back, though I’m not, and I just am not a woman of many words.
It can also be really hard on us when one of our feeling’s gets hurt. When my feelings are hurt, I need space. I need to go away and think and just cool off. Adam needs to TALK it out immediately with me. He doesn’t want space, he wants immediate closure. So I usually run away from the conversation, and he usually chases. When you have a runner and a chaser, nothing gets done. No one is happy, no one is healed. Adam is slowly learning to value the space that I need, and I am learning to only take a certain amount of space (usually 30 min to an hour) and then come back and initiate the conversation. This helps me feel put together and recharged and helps Adam feel like he’s getting the attention and closure he needs. It’s a good plan that works for us when we follow it, but in the heat of the moment, we have still found ourselves reverting back to our running and chasing (insert rolling eyes emoji here).
Adam likes to spend our money on food and I like to spend our money on home decor and clothing. I can easily spend 100 dollars at a store and Adam thinks it’s RIDICULOUS (which it’s not, right? WHERE MY LADIES AT), but 70 dollars on a dinner is no big deal to him (insert rolling eyes emoji here). When we first got married, I couldn’t FOR THE LIFE OF ME understand how food was better than stuff. Stuff you don’t digest. But he also felt like food was WHERE IT’S AT. Another thing we fight about is budgeting. Adam is in charge of our budget (since he has the advanced math degrees and I only know 2+2), but he’s not always disciplined about checking our bank accounts and budget. EXAMPLE:
“Hey babe, I want to buy this REALLY CUTE SHIRT THAT I DEFINITELY NEED LIKE NEED. It’s only $” and his response is “YAS QWEEN DO IT” and so we live happily ever after until we check our bank account at the end of the week and, !!! oops, we have 34 dollars left. (INSERT THE BIGGEST ROLLING EYES EMOJI HERE). “Like are you kidding me? You said it was fine.” and bam, fight.
In this matter, we’ve learned to value each other’s interests. What’s a life joined with someone who has passions and interests you’re not going to support? So if food is his #1, then fine – food is my #1. And if stuff is my #1, then.. you guessed it, it’s his, too. We’ve also learned that a budget takes two. Adam has his own strengths and weaknesses and while he’s good at math and good at making budgets, he occasionally forgets to maintain them. I’m good at maintaining stuff, just not starting it – so I’ve learned to pull my weight and check our bank accounts occasionally and keep us in check. He’s also learning to grow in that as well, but growth takes time. We’re learning to support each other in slowly growing, too.
3. People (Yup).
Adam is a kind and trusting person. I can’t tell you how many times Adam has called me in frenzy and said, “BABE, someone told me they have 10 THOUSAND dollars to give us if we just give them our bank account number!!! They’re on the other line!” and he legitimately believes them. One time someone rear ended his vehicle and almost totaled it. They said, “Well, I’ve gotta run but I don’t have my insurance information or my license with me, can I just give you my phone number?” And of course it was a fake and, no, Adam did NOT see it coming. He believes the best in people and believes in everyone.
There have been many times people have severely hurt us, talked about us, judged us, and then invited us over for dinner? As much as I believe in forgiveness and unity, I don’t believe in letting people walk all over you. So I usually say no and try and stay far away from them (unless they apologize), while Adam tries to continue to be their friend (regardless). It’s hard. I want to protect Adam from everything bad and evil in the world, but he doesn’t always believe it exists. I, on the other hand, think there’s way too much evil, even in places where there isn’t any. For this reason, Adam and I have the amazing potential to balance each other out and help us be our best, but arriving in the middle… well, that’s MARRIAGE and we’re still learning it. Adam has taught me how to trust people, and how to believe in them… and I like to believe I’m teaching him how to look at things realistically, not just ideally. In an ideal world, everyone would be good, trustworthy, a true friend. But we don’t live in such a world. Earth is no Heaven.
This is the fight we have the most.
How We Ultimately Resolve Things:
1. We pray.
I realize that a sizable portion of my followers won’t be spiritual, religious, or believe in a higher power – and that’s totally fine. I didn’t once, either, and being someone that hinges more on logic than anything, I struggle with my faith every now and then (which, luckily for me, the Bible and God are totally cool with). But FOR US we’ve found time and time again that nothing compares to prayer. When we pray about our worries, concerns, hurts, we feel God working in ways we wouldn’t be able to progress without. There are so many times I have prayed, “God I don’t believe you are listening, and I don’t believe you are working… but if you are, can you…” and God does. You’d think that for someone that has been around God since I was 3, someone that went to a christian school until I was 18, someone that worked for churches and helped start ministries, I would be more faithful in what I believe and what I share with others, but that’s not the case. I get by on a little faith at a time, and I still think that’s powerful enough for God to work and for me to live in. Faith comes in all shapes and sizes, and our marriage has seen it’s big sizes and small sizes but we’ve had it thanks to prayer. So we pray together and individually when things are hard and when things are good, and we will continue to do so until the day we die.
2. We go on dates.
We go on, at least, one date a week. We don’t have children right now so we have a bit more time than the average marriage with kids. We are trying to use the time we have right now v e r y wisely. We want to use this time to save money, travel often, build good marital habits/routines, and just get to know each other. There have been weeks when we’ve just allowed ourselves to be “too” busy to go on a date and just settled for time together on our couch to watch netflix. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with watching good ole’ netflix. Netflix gives me life. I will probably name one of our kids netflix. But when we don’t take the time to go out and do things and experience things, we get what I call “emotional cabin fever.” A couple needs to stay in, and needs to go out. FACT. It’s good to have a peaceful and warm routine to live in, but it’s also necessary to go out and experience new things together. Less fights and more bonding happen in our home when we go out and experience new things together. And sometimes when we’ve had a big fight, we do our best to apologize and talk it through, but a fun date is what really gets us past it and feeling light again.
3. We give it time.
Adam and I didn’t share a bed until we first got married. I’m not talking about sex (though we didn’t do that either), but our wedding night was the first time we ever slept together. For some reason, sleeping next to each other during the honeymoon was perfect, but as soon as we got home, it was AWFUL. I woke up like 20 times in the middle of the night. I legit cried. I wanted him out of my bed and I wanted my bed all to myself again. I remember thinking, “Am I ever going to sleep again? Did I make a mistake in getting married?” (insert laughing face emoji). I think sometimes fights or marital discomforts can be hard because it’s half the fight and the other half just anxiety over what this means. “What shape will this take in our relationship?” I think is something we’ve all asked ourselves. I’ve found that a lot of things don’t take any shape. After about a month, I started sleeping through the night again (hallelujah) and I realized my fears were just transitioning pains. And even though Adam and I fight about the above 3 things often, it doesn’t really “weigh” our relationship. The troubles come and the troubles leave… kind of like a headache (and sometimes they give me one). So we give things time. We try not to jump to conclusions. We try to be anxious about nothing. We pray, go on dates, and give everything a little time. It’ll pass. And if you fight right, the fights can turn out to be a good thing.
I know my instagram may be curated and have snapshots of all the pretty things we see and do and feel, but that is not the complete version of us. I think there’s a whole other side of us that is it’s own kind of beautiful. The side of us that isn’t naturally pretty or something we can edit with a filter, rather, it is a side of us that is constantly in the making and something (we think and hope) God is hard at work in.