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Psst, Listen Up!

The Marriage Secret Nobody Tells You

When one of my friends got engaged, he was over the moon. At dinner one night, he told my husband and I how much he was in love.

"It's like nothing I've ever felt before!" he said so sweetly that it was easy to forgive him the cliché.

"I know," my husband said, smiling at me. "It's great being in love."

"No," our friend said shaking his head. "This is different than what you have. We never fight, ever."

I winced, but my husband maintained his gracious smile. "That's great! We can't wait to be at that wedding."

Six months after their wedding, I got a call from our friend. I could tell something was bothering him. "Are you all right?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said. "It's just that we fought and it was really bad."

After talking with him some more, I learned that "really bad" meant that she walked out of the room on him only to return a half-hour later to apologize. I told him about our fights. I told him how we had both slammed doors, said really horrible things, stomped and not only left the room but left the house for hours on end, returning to fight again instead of make up. I told him how I, in a fit of anger, had thrown away an entirely good batch of cookies just so my husband couldn't eat them. I had also hidden cookies, turned up the thermostat and left every single light on in the house (including flashlights and closet lights), just to irk my husband. Also, once, I air-conditioned the outside. I still haven't apologized for that.

When I finished, we were both laughing and my friend was breathing easier. ...Read More

When love is newly minted, it's easy to be insular and believe that you and your partner have everything figured out, that nothing can ever shake you, you will never fight and nothing so stupid as socks on the floor could ever make you raise your voice at that adorable face. I don't mean to be condescending. It's a great time. Every couple has it, and it is my sincere wish that it last as long as possible. But it doesn't. At some point, in every marriage, you find yourself sobbing into your pillow over toothpaste caps, and if you don't, you are a Stepford Wife.

When Dave and I got married, no one told us about these ugly moments—when something as simple as sweeping the floor can cause you to question whether you've committed to the right "forever after." A friend once told me that she felt horrible for questioning her choice of spouse until she told her mom, who has been married for 50 years. "Oh honey," her mom replied, "I ask that question at least once a week."

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  • All couples fight — conflict is part of any healthy relationship.

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Psst, Listen Up!
The Marriage Secret Nobody Tells You
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