The 31 year old part of me feels silly offering up marriage and relationship advice, whereas the 12 year veteran of marriage has less of a problem talking about things we could all be doing better in our relationships. I may have been married young, but that means that my marriage has gone through many challenges marriages that happen later in life don’t. Are we perfect at it? Nope. Are we a lot better at it than we were 12 years ago? Yep. Was there a seven year itch? Not really. Did we almost end at eight years? Yep. We almost did.
I’m still a little surprised we survived 2009.
Even with our re-commitment to each other and living the last four years in relative marital bliss (with two cats, two kids and enough graduate school loans make your head twirl) we still make mistakes. Old hurts and mistakes will peek through every once in awhile and while part of me is convinced “THIS IS THE END. WE WILL NEVER SURVIVE THIS. THINGS NEVER ACTUALLY CHANGED.” while the sensible part of me knows that it’s just a little bump in the road. Talks need to be had, sometimes hard ones. Soothing tones need to be used and words like “always” and “never” need to be checked at the door.
I’ve learned one of the greatest wedges in a relationship is unintentional hurt, little things we let slide — “it doesn’t matter that much.” But then it happens again, it turns into a pattern and soon we’re left arguing with our loved ones over “YOU NEVER!” or “YOU ALWAYS!” digging up old hurt like a boat propeller digs up sand and muddies everything up until you can’t remember what you were fighting about in the first place. Cody wrote about the 11 mistakes he made that nearly ended our marriage but the thing that saved us was each accepting half the blame for our downfall and never using it against each other.
The best way to avoid these fights is to pay attention to what you may be missing, ways you may be hurting your spouse or things your spouse may be doing to hurt you — hopefully unintentionally — and work on them now before they become scars.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.