My husband and I are a pretty swell match. He’s the Type B to my A, the calm to my storm, and the overall yin to my yang. While we laugh a lot, play a lot, and love a lot, 15 years of marriage doesn’t come without a few heart scars. It can’t.
We’re human. We disagree sometimes. We argue, and not always behind closed doors. I know conventional wisdom warns us about the dangers of fighting in front of the kids, but real life arguments can’t always wait until the kids go to bed. And thank goodness.
Take a look at 7 reasons I don’t worry about fighting with my husband in front of our kids.
1. Marriage isn’t perfect (or easy or always fun)
Anytime two people join forces to cohabitate, combine debt and income, and create small humans together, there’s bound to be discord. When it comes to marital conflict and my kids, I’m choosing to reinvent “happily ever after” to include compromise, understanding, and forgiveness.
2. Love wins
Parents will fight. Sometimes they’ll agree to disagree. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes a hug can fix it and sometimes it takes a whole lot more. If my kids will one day grow to measure their own marital success against mine, I hope that our reality inspires them to fight for their marriages harder than they fight with their spouses because when love wins, no one has to lose.
3. Kids are smart
We can try to shelter our kids from arguments, but come on, they’re smarter than that! Kids tap into our energy all the time and can sense when things are “off.” Let’s not pretend things are fine when they’re not or confuse things further. Instead, let’s focus on resolving the issue and moving on.
4. Marriage is strong enough
If nothing else, I hope silly bickering between Mom and Dad teaches my kids that a solid marriage is strong enough to withstand inevitable conflict. My husband and I put in way too much time and energy to fall apart over the unequal distribution of household labor or who has to play “bad cop” that day.
5. Making up is hard to do
Calling it quits isn’t easy, but reaching a resolution can sometimes be harder. The real lesson to be learned comes from how we go from conflict to resolution. It’s a process, and while never clean or efficient, it leads parents from peace to war and back to peace again.
6. Our kids keep us honest
Early in our pre-kid marriage, my husband and I fought down and dirty. I can distinctly remember at least two occasions when my husband emptied his side of the closet and threatened to leave while I tossed “divorce” into every deafening verbal assault. Today when we find ourselves entangled in a disagreement with an unsuspecting kid audience, we stick to the issue at hand (for the most part), refrain from using profanity (for the most part), and never, ever toss around the D-word. There’s nothing like kids to keep the fighting clean, fair, and civil (for the most part).
7. It’s still worth it
Just because we argue in our marriage, doesn’t mean we’re unhappy. In fact, I think we’re quite the opposite. When we argue, we’re each given an opportunity to vent our frustrations and solve problems so that we can be happy. While we may never agree as to when the laundry ought to be done and by whom, there’s never any doubt about our devotion to each other or our children.