5 Ways We Keep From Killing Each Other

Husband and I just realized it will soon be our 2nd wedding anniversary and will soon after be our 10 year anniversary of being together. We like to think we win when it comes to relationships…I mean we are a pretty awesome couple, but if I’m being completely honest, it’s not always rainbows and daisies. In fact, it’s more often diapers and bills. In the grand scheme of things we are still  young in our relationship, but when I look back over the years of stupid fights and awkward memories I can safely say we have learned a lot.

Like all relationships, we started out simply wild about each other. He couldn’t keep his hands off me and I fell in love fast. The infatuation with each other wore off eventually and we started fighting about phone calls, dates, jealousy and long distance. A couple of years later we were living together and bickering over housework, jobs and bills. We have traveled and argued about where to go and what to do. Since being married some of the old arguments resurface and new ones come up over bad habits and life choices. Now, we are parents and just doing our best to not argue in front of our baby. I know getting into arguments will never go away. No two people can spend so much time together and not have some disagreements. What has changed over our almost ten years together is how we handle conflict.

The NY Botanical gardens
The NY Botanical gardens

There may be moments when I think, “Nope. No more. I’m running away to Paris,” but those moments are fleeting. The truth is that I am happier with my Husband every year. Even when I’m pissed off, I’d still rather be with him than anyone else. After lots of reflection, here’s how I think we keep from killing one another.

Last Christmas when we were still a family of 2
Last Christmas when we were still a family of 2

1. We tell each other EVERYTHING. sorry boys, but I know every single thing that happened on that bachelor party in New Orleans. Seriously, if you tell one of us a secret, just assume you’re telling both of us. We are so honest with each other that Husband actually came to me one night and told me he “had a confession”. I braced myself for devastating news.His confession?  He went to Taco Bell while running errands and did not call to see if I wanted anything. See? We tell each other EVERYTHING. We have also learned to tell each other when we are mad and why we are mad. this is especially important for me. Being a typical girl, I have the tendency to want to hold onto my angry feelings until they are so built up that I explode over something tiny and he has no idea what I’m actually mad about. Turns out, this doesn’t really workout well for either of us. It’s not easy, but we are getting better at letting one another actually explain themselves, process it and try to relate.

Playing around on some Greek ruins in Apollonia, Albania
Playing around on some Greek ruins in Apollonia, Albania

2. Sometimes we go to bed angry. I do not believe the old “never go to bed angry” phrase people toss around. Sometimes I need to sleep on it. I often wake up feeling much more calm and reasonable. For me (more than Husband) I often need to step away from an argument, take a breather and calm down. Actually, I need this after an argument too. Husband does not understand why I am still angry when we are done with a fight, but he accepts and knows that sometimes I just need a moment to simmer down.

Eating fresh sushi together in Japan
Eating fresh sushi together in Japan

3. We compliment each other all the time. It’s disgusting to anyone not in the relationship, I’m sure. I believe in small acts of love and sometimes a simple “nice ass” or “I’m proud of you” goes a very long way. We thank each other often for the small things we do. Husband is very good at acknowledging haircuts, new clothes and marathon feeding sessions with Luna. I try to point out his many talents and skills (He’s seriously good at everything!).

Celebrating at our wedding shower.
Celebrating at our wedding shower.

4. We love and respect each other’s families. This is SO important. No two families are alike and it’s a challenge to combine them. Loving someone else’s relatives as your own makes the challenging times much easier. Husband is so so so good to my family. Anytime we are in Texas he is helping my Mom clean, learning from my Dad and spending real quality time with everyone. I have never once heard him complain about spending time with my family. I try to be as equally loving and accepting of his family, which isn’t hard to do. I truly love them and have considered them my family for years.

Climbing trees together in Hilton Head.
Climbing trees together in Hilton Head.

5. We are on each other’s teams. I do not always agree with Husband and I know he is not always right (how could he be? I’m always right.) However, I always have his back. I have faith in him and know he is going to do his best to do what his right. So, even when I disagree, I trust he is making the best choice because I know his heart.

Eating cake at our wedding.
Eating cake at our wedding.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years, we are still just mad about each other. I’m sure I’ll look back on this in 20 years and laugh because hopefully we will have learned so much more about how to be in a happy, growing and successful relationship. For now, this works and I’m sure glad it does. Love that man.

How do you survive your relationships? I’d love to hear about it!

Cheers!

I’ve Had Enough

My angry face
My angry face

This week has been heated. Everyday seems to bring more controversy. I have a meeting with this person, a conference with that person, an argument here, a disagreement there and I am exhausted. It is bad enough that all of this negativity is happening in the middle of the “the most wonderful time of the year” (Why do we tend to fight this time of year??), but it is made even worse by the way my body responds to controversy.

I am obviously a very anxious person who does not deal well with stressful situations, so it should come as no surprise that my body wants to shut down and give up when faced with any argument or serious discussion. If my someone wants a meeting with me about basically anything I am instantly sick to my stomach. I cannot eat lunch, any food I previously ate does not stay down, and I come close to canceling the meeting because I definitely came down with the stomach flu. It’s not until an hour after the meeting ends that my body calms down enough for my appetite to return.

During any argument where I have to defend myself it shows in my hands. My hands already tend to shake for no real reason (big thanks to my Dad’s genes for that), but standing up for myself puts my nerves on edge. My hands shake and tremble so much that I do everything possible to not show or use my hands. I have been hiding my tendencies to panic for years, but shaking hands are a dead give away, so I try to keep them under wraps.

Then there is the sweating. O.M.G. Why? Why God?? Why do I sweat so much? Girls are not supposed to sweat like this, right? The tiniest case of nerves can lead to a pit stain disaster. Note to self: never ever wear grey to a meeting, and always keep deodorant on hand. It’s bad enough that I have to finish a meeting with a shaky, sweaty hand; no one needs to see or smell just how nervous I am.

Beyond these wonderful little side effects of controversy, is the fact that I have no control over my facial expressions. I am terrible at hiding my feelings. No matter how hard I try to hide the fact that I am mad, sad, tired, sick, annoyed, frustrated, scared, upset, or nervous it is written all over my face. I often think that I am doing a great job at faking it. Like, damn I am so smooth this person has no clue how furious I am, only to be asked by ten different people “Is something wrong?” or “Are you mad?”

Not to mention that when I get angry red splotches start to appear on my chest and slowly creep all the way up my neck towards my face. It’s lovely. One of my high school teachers actually had this problem, and we use to make fun of how we always knew when she was about to explode because we could read her red meter of splotches. Now, all I can say is Karma sucks.

The absolute worst part about my nerves is that I cry. Ever since I was very young I have cried anytime I got in any amount of trouble or anytime I got angry. I cannot help the tears. I try; I really try to hold back for fear of looking weak, but the tears find their way out at some point. I am pretty good at holding back in any sort of professional setting, but the second I get out of a difficult meeting or tough conference I run to the bathroom to let it all out, the tears that is… It is just how my body releases all of that pent up anger and stress. It’s different with Husband, or with my parents, or anyone else on that level. No matter how hard I try not to, I cry. I hate hate hate crying in front of Husband when I am angry. It feels like all my strength and validity are out the window at that point.

The bright side to my controversial week is that I survived and stayed strong. It is not easy for me to stand up for myself, or what is right, or just, or fair, but that has been the theme this week. I am mentally and physically exhausted from all of the debates. I am so worn out that I am drinking coffee at 8pm just to stay awake long enough to write this and maybe wrap a few presents. (I have currently wrapped none.) However, I am so proud of myself and happy that I did what I had to do without a panic attack and without giving up. In the long run, things have worked out for the best.

Two more days until I am Nashville bound where I plan to do nothing but eat, sleep, and spend lots of time with people I love.  No fighting.

Cheers!