They say it takes two to tango and it’s true, it takes two committed individuals for a relationship to work. It doesn’t just happen, it takes time, hard work from two people who really want to be together.
Mel and I have been together since 2002 back in high school and got married last year, 2015. We basically grew up together – from high school puppy love sparks, to college life where we were exposed to the diverse world, up to starting our career where we started exploring the enormous real world. It surely hadn’t been an easy walk in the park but it had all been worth it.
As the Maroon 5 song lyrics goes, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies but it’s compromise that moves us along. At first, we have this infatuation, overwhelming sensation of wanting each other but in the long run, what do we do as we go along the everyday-ness of life? Those ‘kilig’ factors could just easily fade in the background. As much as we want all the positive things we get in being in love, we should be ready to deal with every thing that comes with it including the bad ones. It’s the series of choices and actions based on several factors that get us through to where we are. Below are the matters that I think are common issues in romantic relationships, and my experience and take on them.
These lines in the “Notebook” by Nicolas S. says a lot:
Noah: Would you just stay with me?
Allie: Stay with you? What for? Look at us! We’re already fighting!
Noah: Well that’s what we do! We fight! You tell me when I’m being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you’re being a pain in the ass! Which you are, 99% of the time. I’m not afraid to hurt your feelings, you have like a two-second rebound rate and you’re back doing the next pain in the ass thing.
Allie: So, what?
Noah: So it’s not gonna be easy, it’s gonna be really hard. And we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I wanna do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever. You and me. Everyday.”
Differences and Misunderstandings. There was a stage wherein Mel and I have always fought. Back when we were younger, we quarreled about not having prompt texts or receiving calls, texting with other girls and other silly things that I hardly can remember. We fought about his gimmicks not mentioned to me prior. We also had fights during wedding preparations when my emotions and sensitivity were running high. We’ve argued about coming home late, about household chores division, forgotten schedules or tasks, and not relayed information. We’ve also argued over attention, over tactless words and actions.
We fought about annoying traits such as micro managing and nagging, mostly just caused by difference in doing things or habits, like:
- I’m OC with time, schedule and itinerary. He’s more spontaneous.
- He’s OC with gadgets while I’m not.
- He likes the TV turned on when going to sleep while I like it off.
- I am easily awakened by noise so I keep things silent when he’s sleeping, while he doesn’t give a deal about it (e.g. slams cabinet or door unintentionally).
- i don’t like his snoring like he doesn’t like my fallen hairs on the floor
- i’m annoyed every time he doesn’t put used towel or clothes in its proper place; but his closet is more organized than mine.
These are just to cite a few, but we’ve already passed various phases and gotten over most of the issues. Thank God, because some of those fights were really unhealthy to the point that it disrupted us like we couldn’t concentrate at work anymore.
There are numerous differences, starting with the fact that ‘men came from Mars and women from Venus’; but it should not result to indifference. We should respect and accept that there are things we just cannot change and we should not be stressful about. Mel and I learned how to work around it. We still fight some times, of course there are shortcomings and misunderstandings, but we have learned how to deal with it. Sometimes at the heat of the moment after we shouted at each other, we laugh ourselves out and find ourselves hugging and teasing each other; either one of us realizes that we are wrong or we realize that what we’re fighting about is foolish and just a waste. It’s good to know that these countless fights didn’t break us apart.
It helps that Mel always makes ‘suyo’. I’m the type who doesn’t talk when I’m still angry and takes time to cool down, while he can easily jump from one mood to another. A learning I got from him is that we should not let anger consume us, get over it soon because it’s going to be a waste of time and energy so why not be easily ok afterwards. Though sometimes, I linger on my anger on purpose so he won’t forget what we had fought about and that it shouldn’t happen again; before being ‘ok’, I make sure he sees my point and knows why I got to do it. It’s quite common that women dig up previous ‘sins’ whenever we get mad. It’s exhausting but sometimes we can’t help it because the issue is recurring. Women or men, we need to make conscious effort that we don’t commit same mistakes all over again, and eventually it will become natural. We don’t have to force change to our partners, instead we should work on ourselves on how to be better. Relationship is not ruler-ship, and a grace-filled relationship should be of mutual submission (as brother Bo Sanchez said).
Don’t let anger overpower you and don’t hold grudges. Don’t ever treat your partner as an enemy. Argue, call time out then return to conversation, and forgive one another. Never vent out or rant about your partner in social media- it does you no good at all. Always keep in mind Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Third Party. While we were each other’s 1st serious romantic relationship (i.e. introduced to parents), Mel had some ex’s. At first, it’s not easy to take aside but as our relationship strengthened, the less it became an issue. I made it clear to him that I wouldn’t tolerate exchange of flirty messages. If there’s nothing so important to talk about, why still communicate when you are not really the close of friends. In the long run, past relationships shouldn’t be an issue or cause of fights. Third party should be out of the equation. It just makes the complicated even more complicated. Guy or girl, you should always feel secured in your relationship, and third party should be the least you should worry about.
Finances. Studies say that money is the number one cause of fights in marriage. Though Mel and I didn’t like to fight over money, we had an issue about it at one point, especially that we have different behaviors in handling finances. This might be quite lengthy so I’ll write in a separate post.
It’s inevitable to have fights, as we all are imperfect. Whether we like it or not, no matter how much we love the person, the sparks we felt when we first fell in love naturally fade, and we shouldn’t quit after the courtship cloud 9 moments are done. The sparks however shouldn’t be gone; it just gets deeper. The bonds are made stronger as we go through and succeed turbulences and struggles along the way. With hard work through time, we’ll be able to feel secure about a love that is constant, sure and true.