Dealing with Conflict When You’re Married

After being best friends with my husband for six years before we started dating, I thought our relationship would be perfect. I realize now that we are perfect for each other, but we are not perfect.

As a friend, I felt that my husband would always consider my feelings before his own when making decisions. I know that many times I don’t extend the same courtesy to him, but for some reason I expected that from him in everything. I’m not perfect, so why should I expect him to be?

I’ve learned a good marriage is not the absence of any differences or conflict. Inevitably, that comes up as you both change and grow. What makes a happy marriage is how you handle your differences.

Here’s a case in point: When we were dating, we spent pretty much all our free time together at the gym where he worked and with the friends we met there. We were both night owls, and most nights we would be together until 1:00 A.M. before we each went home. When we got married, we moved further from my husband’s job. I figured, I could just see him when he got home; I assumed that he would come home right after work to spend time with me.

Things were  fine the first few weeks, and then slowly he started coming home later and later. It became a constant battle because he wanted to hang out with whoever was at the gym late and chit chat after work, and I wanted to spend some time with him and go to bed earlier. I knew that I could also go to the gym and hang out, but I didn’t want to drive out to his gym every evening.

I felt let down because I felt my husband wasn’t listening to me and being my friend. Sure he wasn’t out drinking or doing anything wrong. But I was feeling alone, and I felt unappreciated. I was scared I was losing my best friend. I realize that people need to unwind, but it was coming at a cost to us.

It was after we talked to other people about this that we realized we had made this into a power struggle. Instead of resolving it, we were both holding on to our narrow views.  I wish I could say it only took us a few months to resolve this. But it took us years because it it definitely had become a bone of contention.

It was things like this and smaller things that made me realize that our relationship wasn’t perfect, but in time we could come to agreements that would work for both of us.

Eventually, we agreed that some days my husband can stay late, but not every night. This has helped us to have a balance where he can unwind and where I can have my husband home early.

We realize we are not perfect, but we compromise, even if it takes time. We both are learning that doing what’s best for each other, even when it’s hard, is what’s best for our marriage.

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