A few months ago, my husband and I had a big argument—the kind where feelings were hurt and we didn’t want to be around each other. It was ugly, and we barely spoke for the next few days. But we got past it, forgave each other, and don’t doubt our love for one another. Some might read that and think our marriage is in trouble, but fighting in marriage is normal.
In fact, fights are evidence that you’re actually in an intimate relationship, that you aren’t conflict-avoidant, and you’re willing to show each other the good and bad parts of you. Fighting in marriage is a sign that two imperfect people are trying to form a life together. So why do so many people believe the myth that it’s bad and try to avoid it at all costs? Believing myths like that causes more problems for couples than fights do. Here are 4 more common myths about fighting in marriage.
Fighting in marriage is a sign that two imperfect people are trying to form a life together.
You can’t go to bed until the fight’s resolved.
Ever had one of those horrible, gut-wrenching fights that goes on until the wee hours of the morning? So have I. Sometimes the two of you are so tired, angry, and hurt that resolution isn’t going to happen. When you’re in the middle of a late-night fight, it’s OK to pause, decide to handle the issue in the morning, and get some sleep. Many times an argument seems much less important once you’ve had a few hours to think through it or sleep on it.
This doesn’t mean you should roll over in a huff or send him to the couch. Make sure you reassure each other of your love and go to bed peacefully while agreeing to continue the conversation in the morning.
You shouldn’t involve others in your arguments.
Both you and your husband need people in your life who you trust to speak the truth to you. It’s OK to seek advice or vent to a trusted friend or family member about your marriage fight. Just make sure you present all sides of the argument. If you decide to share details about your fight with someone, you should only discuss it with someone who knows both you and your husband and isn’t going to talk badly about him.
My husband and I have an older couple that we asked to be our marriage mentors. We’ve shared many details about fights both individually and as a couple and I trust them to speak the truth without picking sides. They are on our team, not his or mine.
Your kids should never see you fight.
Kids need to know that even healthy couples have fights. You and your husband are trying to do the best you can, but sometimes arguments happen in front of the kids. If kids never see their parents fight, they may enter their own marriages thinking a healthy relationship never involves arguing. Don’t set them up for that failure.
When your kids hear you fighting, make sure they also hear you resolve your argument. Too many parents take their fight into another room, away from the kids. At some point the couple reconciles, but the kids don’t know that. It’s important for kids to witness reconciliation at the end of a fight or at least be told that their parents resolved the argument.
Marriage counseling is only for marriages in trouble.
I’ve heard that if a couple goes to marriage counseling as a last resort, it’s too late. Marriage counseling is a great way to involve a neutral, third party in working on some of the issues you face. In fact, according to Alexandra Smith, a licensed professional clinical counselor, 70 percent of couples participating in marriage counseling report improvements in their relationship. Counselors are trained to help couples find ways to better themselves and their marriages.
Counseling is an opportunity for spouses to learn some things they need to work on that they otherwise may never have realized. Marriage counseling is a safe place to discuss things with your spouse and can make a good marriage even better.
What are some myths about fighting in marriage that you’ve encountered?