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Kimberly Elliott
Kimberly Elliott
Relationships

Couples Reveal Their Worst Fights — Ever!

Read on to discover what real love requires.

It seems that the longer I am single, the more I love it! Consider the perks of singledom: I can watch whatever I want on television whenever I want. I can crank the heat to a balmy 74 degrees or leave it at a cool 63. I can sprawl out diagonally on my bed every single night, and there is no loud snoring to rudely interrupt my sleep. 

When Amazon packages arrive, I need not hide them or lie to anyone about said box’s contents. Ahhh, life is good!

Perhaps the best part (as most of these perks illustrate) is that I never get in a fight with anyone. There is no yelling or screaming or being mad-at. No silent treatments or ranting to my sisters about what he did (or didn’t do)! I don’t storm off to work in a bad mood staring at my phone waiting for so-and-so to text an apology. 

Life is calm, and I kind-of freaking love it this way! If I am being honest, I forget what it is like to fight with someone else altogether. But what I do remember is that when I did get into a fight with the person I loved, it consumed me. It didn’t matter if it was about something small (like hitting snooze one too many times) or something bigger (like dishonesty or deceit) — fighting was always painful.

I now know that every fight presents the opportunity to grow, learn and embrace your partner, and work on healing from whatever-it-is you are fighting about … together.

In order to learn more about these lessons, I thought I would go straight to the source and ask couples about their most memorable fights and what they learned. These conversations, in turn, taught me a few things about lasting, resilient love. Read on to discover what love requires.

Compromise is essential

“As a newly married couple, I had no idea how drastic the seemingly small swing on a thermostat could affect a stable relationship. When winter arrived, my wife was adamant that the perfect choice of temperature was 72 degrees. I thought a comfortable 68 was suitably cozy. I’d come home to a superhot house, and we would argue about it. When I turned the dial down, my wife bought herself a few space heaters. I realized it was costing more in electricity with space heaters, so now we have compromised. We’ve settled on 70 degrees. Who would have known that some like it hot would be an argument I couldn’t win ... but in this situation, I didn’t.” — Evan, 40

Accept support from your partner

“The worst fight I had with my husband was over my career — I was hesitant to get back to work after having my kids. My husband did not want me to give up on my career and fought with me, for me. We eventually worked around it and set up schedules that did not compromise our family. I did not get it then, but now that I do I feel very blessed to have a partner like my husband. He has always supported me through the thick and thin. The reason I can pursue my dreams right now is that he has always had my back and made my life easier. He urged me to work, and he managed the responsibilities and the kids for me when I couldn’t. I am just grateful to have him and cherish him with all my soul.” — Meera, early 40s

Commitment to each other and to honesty

“My husband and I were moving to a new home, and I was trying to clean out dozens of boxes that had sat in a closet still taped-up from a previous move a decade earlier. While doing so, I found information that my husband had had a fling when on a business trip, along with an envelope sent from an old girlfriend of naked photos of her and friends. After a day or so of silently trying to gain perspective, I confronted my husband. I threw the stuff I had found at him and said, ‘No lying, you tell me immediately what this is all about!’ Initially the hurt and the pain of disrespect of one’s marriage is utterly overwhelming. We both realized that we needed to begin slowly and talk over time, until somehow sense could be made of this information. We would do what my mother always suggested during such difficult life situations: He would make big cups of tea for us, and we would talk. It became easier and easier. In this process we learned more and more about each other and about how easy it is to harm a marriage. Honesty became the behavior we would always expect from each other, knowing that sometimes it might not be easy, but we were committed. We wanted a good, solid marriage that could continue to last, and so we added the word commitment (engraved) inside our marriage rings.” — Margaret, 73

Love requires hard work

“The worst fight I had with my partner happened two weeks after moving in together. We thought moving in together would strengthen our bond, but it was the opposite. Minor issues were piling up, and we kept sweeping them under the rug until we couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t remember what pushed the button on this fateful day, but we spent over an hour shouting and cussing at each other. We had said the meanest things to each other until we both got exhausted, and he left the house. After our outburst, I felt like I was done with the relationship and didn’t want to be with him anymore. The fight was supposed to be the end of what we had, but it made us stronger. The day after the fight he returned home, and we had a heart-to-heart conversation. We learned that love wouldn’t be enough to keep us together. We needed to work on ourselves and know when to compromise for the happiness of each other.” — Maria, 32

Love requires patience, communication and respect

“One of the lowest points in my marriage was during a fight about money. We were both exhausted from working long hours and when we sat down to discuss our finances, it quickly escalated into a shouting match. The whole argument felt like a blur, but what I remember most clearly is my wife’s face contorted in anger and the feeling of helplessness as I watched our relationship unravel before my eyes. It took a long time for us to recover from that fight, but we eventually did. We realized that we needed to communicate more openly about our finances and be more patient with each other. Thankfully, we were able to move past that difficult time and our marriage is stronger than ever.” — Max, 31

Perhaps fighting isn’t so bad after all? The truth is, fighting is a fact of romance. It’s going to happen and it’s going to be unpleasant. But love is always the answer — and if you find someone who chooses that answer over and over again (and grows with each passing argument), well then — it just may be worth the loud snoring and one-to-many morning snoozes.

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