How To Know If It’s Really Worth The Fight

I’m convinced that if our local library ever does any additions they’re going to name the new wing after my family. This honor will be due in large part to the fact that our late fees will supply a significant portion of that building project’s budget. It’s not uncommon for Kara and I to pay two or three dollars each time we go in, but as Kara and I were headed out for a date night we were unprepared to receive a bill for $70.50, all from one set of books.

Adam and his wife Kara competing in an obstacle race together.
Adam and his wife Kara competing in an obstacle race together.

With two young kids, Kara and I don’t get to date each other as much as we’d like, and we found out about our skyrocketing debt right before we headed out on our monthly escape. Both of us were pretty heated when we saw the bill, we were quick to point fingers at each other, and we starting arguing about what we could do. Kara was ready to move out of Des Moines to find a new library where we could have a fresh start. I thought that was excessive. I wanted to set up a payment plan where we’d chip away at our debt over the next couple years. One of us suggested cancelling the date to help us save some money, and honestly in that moment neither of us was that excited to be with the other.

But then Kara and I were able to settle down and realize that there were more important things than $70 of debt. Namely, we were more important that this debt, and we realized that we didn’t have to let it ruin our night. Instead of battling with each other to sort out blame and consequences, we decided to surrender to each other for the sake of our time together. Sometimes the best thing you can do in an argument is lose.

Sometimes problems really need to be addressed and resolved, but I’ve also found that some arguments just don’t need to be had. One of the best things a couple can do is learn how to distinguish the two. Here are some tips that might help you discern which is which.

01. Consult a trusted friend. Sometimes all you need is a little perspective, and so it helps to seek help from a friend. But make sure that friend loves your significant other as much as they love you. You need someone who will challenge you when you need it, and at times we all need it.

02. Consider how important a resolution really is. Some things can never be tolerated, things like degradation, abuse, or contempt. But really there are a lot of challenges that will always be a part of two people in a romantic relationship. For instance, my wife and I approach finances differently, and so we don’t always agree on our monthly budgets. But we are a team and the differences aren’t that big, so we’re okay knowing that this problem will crop up every now and again come budget time.

03. See if it sticks with you. Sometimes an issue seems small but you just can’t shake it. Maybe for you, washing the dishes within 24 hours really is non-negotiable. And if it is, don’t let it fester, say something! If your relationship is rooted in love, your significant other is going to want to sacrifice to love you better.

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