Okay so we’ve gotten over the fairy tale that everything is perfect after the wedding…but what to expect? One 20-something who wrote in wants to know if fights are different after the commitment.
The big difference about being married is that when you have a fight, you can’t just say forget this. I’m outta here. You can’t go back to your place. You can’t go home. You are home. And no…your parents don’t want you either. They don’t want to know…really. I know when I had my first big fight, I thought, “OMG, how can we be meant for each other if he really thinks that…If he can react that way then he can’t love me. I made a mistake. We must get divorced.”
Many women relayed similar stories. But I can assure you, he’s not thinking about divorce. He’s probably not thinking anything. He just wanted some space and has moved on. One 40-something, 15 years married, summed this up well .
“When we first got married and would fight, I would think the world was ending. That’s it. We’re getting divorced. I would always say that. And he would say, ‘Why are you so upset? It’s over. We both were cranky. We both fought. We both apologized. We are both wrong. Let it go. Why are you still sitting here stewing?’ I said to him, ‘I don’t know. There must be something fundamentally wrong with it.’
Then one time, five or six years into the marriage he said, ‘The reality of it is we are going to clash. I’m a hothead. I blow up. You get quiet. We have to acknowledge that we’re going to have moments where we’re not on the same plane and then it’s over with. It doesn’t mean anything. It just means we disagree over something. We’re mad at each other. You got to let that go.’
I finally started relaxing about things because I know that if we have a fight… okay, so we’re not really talking and friendly for the next couple of days. We’ll both get over it and it will be fine.”
Everyone has different fighting styles. Expect to have fights. Don’t expect everything to be resolved. You will have big blowouts. You will find yourself wanting to run away, but in the grand scheme of things, you just learn that it’s part of sharing a life with someone. Even though at the time it seems like you can’t really ever picture the other side, you won’t remember those fights 20 years later. As another long married woman relates, “A year is like, we don’t even remember 1982.”