Jesse & I have our fair share of arguments. Sometimes they have to do with important issues & other times they are less significant. As we approach our sixth wedding anniversary, I have been thinking about all the times we got angry with each other in the previous six (ten - if you count our dating/courtship period before getting married) years.
What I've realized about all our previous fights is this: try as I might, there were really very few arguments where I could recall the actual topic we were fighting about. My memories were much clearer when remembering the things we said/did during our arguments. And that really spoke volumes to me about the importance of my actions. When Jesse gives talks to his religious education teachers, he tells them that the kids won't remember what you taught them, they'll remember who you were. I think the same goes for how we treat not only our spouses, but our family members, friends, co-workers and complete strangers.
Jesse & I have given countless talks on marriage for our local Pre-Cana retreats. One of the things we stress to these soon-to-be-married couples is the importance of fighting fair, especially during the inevitable arguments. If you're thinking about winning the argument, then that means your spouse will lose. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to hurt Jesse or fight in such a way that he feels like less of a husband. This is not to say that we have idyllic arguments, but we usually try our best to vocalize how we are feeling. These skills have gotten better the longer we've been married (after all, we've had lots of practice!).
That being said, when we do have arguments & need some time apart to blow off some steam, I usually end up pouring my energy into something. As a result, my dishes are usually done, a load of laundry gets folded or the bathroom gets cleaned. Recently, I heard this song, which I think is my new post-argument anthem. Although it might be a little harsh for some, I find the frank emotions of the song point to the irony of a strong, committed marriage. After all, when you devote yourself to a lifelong Sacrament, you are going to feel crazy with your spouse sometimes. But the irony is that even though he may drive me crazy, at the end of the day, I feel God's presence working in my life, in our marriage, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else.