They Do Exist.

We Don’t Fight – By Blair.

Editor’s Note: This submission is from Blair. I love her. She’s like the chicken soup of passion, sweetness, truth, honesty, and a spicy kick. She emailed me asking if she could help with the project, and in her email, she mentioned that she was still wildly in love with her husband, and that they never, ever fought. WHAT. Are you serious? So I asked her to share a bit of her story with us. Read read read. – Lauren

My husband & I do not fight.

That may seem odd, or difficult to believe, or impossible…but true. We have never raised our voices or thrown out words in the heat of the moment that we regret. In our marriage, there is never name-calling or storming off with slammed doors & tears. It is not because we are both meek lambs that avoid conflict; in truth, we are both bulls that lovingly point fingers at who is the most stubborn. No, my partner of seven years & husband of almost five & I do not fight because years ago, I pledged to honor & cherish him.

I strive daily to uphold those vows, & thus in the simplest, most raw form, be a good wife. A good woman.

Today, I stood alone over a grimy sink full of dishes. My shoulders ached through the suds as I scrubbed pots & bowls & spoons. Mountained up from a weekend away followed by a blistering week. I thought of the weekends my husband left for work or golf to come home to a fresh-scrubbed home. A warm smile to welcome him home, all worries conquered so he would rest upon his return. That labor of love so willingly given by me, yet not returned. Bitterly, I gazed around the kitchen, taking measure of crumbs & coffee cups & dust bunnies that welcomed me home. “It’s unfair,” my mind snapped. I seethed at the inequality.

I heard my husband’s steady footfall into the room – my back stiffened & I spun to face him, a retort hot on my tongue, ready for a fight. Ready to make my opinion known. Ready to win.

Fires blazing, I looked him in the eyes & drew in a breath to speak, only to find myself suddenly deflated. If I said those hot words that I felt so justified in saying, I would hurt the man I love. Those words would show ingratitude for the months he encouraged me to leave town. They would null the hours he spent as a “single parent” while I was away, policing over our 15-month-old on the staircase. These words I held would strip him of the good he achieved & give him justification for resenting me. If I fought, there would be no winning – only dishonor & resentment & selfish pride.

Those words may have felt good as they exploded from my mouth – but I will never know. Instead, I handed my husband a dishrag & said, “I’ll wash, you dry.” Side-by-side, we worked together in the quiet stillness of the afternoon, letting the dish water carry away the frustration & fight..

48 Responses

  1. T

    >I hope I can learn something from this. Unfortunately, I let those words fly out sometimes. I hope I can muster up the strength you have and hold them back in the future.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

  2. >Wow. My husband often has dish duty on the weekends. I let him. I'll try and use this next time he leaves his shoes out. Though what I want to do is throw them out. I mean that's not yelling right?

    February 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  3. >Wow… I can't imagine not having a tiff every with the spouse. It is a joke with the spouse and I that some of our disagreements i.e fights, (& yep I have said the same vows of honor & cherish) have lead to the best sex ever. Yes, some knock down drag out fights = foreplay in our house. lol

    February 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  4. >That was seriously one of the most enlightening and inspiring posts I've read in a while. What an amazingly simple way of looking at it. Honor and Cherish, I promise to look at the dishes a little differently tonight after work! I promise to look at him a little differently tonight after work! You are so, so right. Why stir the pot with dishonor and resentment? It would never be worth it. Thanks for this, taught me something invaluable today.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm

  5. >I fall in the "don't believe it" category. I have yet to believe one person who says they don't fight.I firmly believe that sometimes fighting can be a good thing. Holding in something is not healthy. Some our worst fights have brought out the best for our marriage.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

  6. >& see, I can't imagine a knock-down fight!We've had moments where we've had to simply take space to breathe, then come back & discuss what is irking us.We get our opinions known, but we've never had anything that I think most people would classify as a "fight," even when we were dating.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  7. >The only time I have raised my voice in anger to my husband was over his dip tobacco habit that literally made me explode with anger. Other than that, we don't fight either. Our first year of marriage was rough, we were in college, I was pregnant twice (miscarriage then a healthy pregnancy), and my husband was depressed. It was a super fun year! But — we never really truly fought. We never slammed doors. We never yelled and screamed and said things we later regretted. We discussed things. Tears were sometimes shed on my part (because I cry ALL THE TIME). But we didn't fight like so many couples I know fight. My husband, seeing how stressed, or how tired I am, will say "Baby, go to your moms. Have a cup of coffee. I'll wash the dishes." and each time he does that, my love for him grows a little. Because 9 days out of 10, he comes home to a clean house, and a fixed dinner. But sometimes it's ME that needs that little push, that little bit of help. And I'm so glad he knows that, and does it without me asking. We don't fight either, and we're one of the strongest marriages I know. But we don't survive or thrive on drama either. In fact, we strive to have a drama free marriage. Love your posts Blair! Thank you for your honesty.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

  8. >My husband and I fight. We have even called each other names. I hate it. I wish we would talk calmly and walk away from each other when we are super pissed. This is something that I am going to work on and talk to my husband about. Anyway, great post!

    February 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm

  9. >I guess if it works for you…most fights are over stupid stuff anyway! I'm not sure I agree that always swallowing your anger/irritation is the healthiest thing to do though. I'm guessing you do discuss things that bother you and I agree that it's smart to choose your battles, but denying that you feel anger or unfairness is dangerous. If you do this, then it becomes a habit, and you begin to feel overwhelmed with emotions you can't/won't express. That's when anger turns inward and becomes depression and anxiety. Just some food for thought!

    February 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

  10. >Yes, Rebecca…we absolutely discuss things!For instance, the situation described above – after we finished the dishes & scrubbing the kitchen, I thanked him for his help & said something to the effect of, "You know what's really unfair? Is how when I go out of town, you're just expected to keep the house from burning down & the child alive. If you clean the house on top of it, we should probably call CNN. But if I clean the house while your gone, it's just expected. It's along the same lines of a dad 'babysitting' his children. It's not fair."But by scrubbing out some of my frustrations over the pots & getting him to help me without screaming at him, it set the stage for me to state my opinion without pointing fingers or throwing a tantrum.So obviously, the post could have kept going & going but I didn't think it should be 10 paragraphs long ;)

    February 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

  11. >You ate inspiring in more ways than one. I will think of this post every time I look at my husband.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm

  12. >oh good! so you did tell him how you felt! awesome. I was just worried you were stuffing all of this down. Props to you for having the patience to not snap right away but to think it through. We've all been in this exact situation before.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  13. >Thanks for this post. Currently, I am engaged to be married and during our time of dating and our engagement my fiancee and I have had numerous arguments. I think that there is a distinction between a fight and an argument. My fiancee and I value arguments as an opportunity to discuss our differences. Sometimes the dialogue gets heating, passionate, and voices get raised. BUT the argument is always centered in dialogue. In other words, collaboration. We are trying together to better understand each other because we know that some things will never be solved and we just have to live in the tension. The difference between this type of argument and a fight is found in this questions: who do you want to win? Our desire is to see our relationship win. The moment one of us feels that "we" are trying to "win" the argument then we are heading into a fight. So we take a break and come back to the table at another time. We have decided to fight for each other by not disregarding the value of open, honest, and passionate dialogue in an argument.I think the distinction between a fight and an argument is important because I have seen many people suppress their feelings, frustrations, or anger.. and I watched those hidden feelings lead to infidelity, abuse, or neglect. It is healthy to express these things in the context of an argument that is centered in dialogue. Thanks again for sharing. This is just what my fiancee and I have come to think in our relationship.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm

  14. >Oh! What a precious family!! Love the post!

    February 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm

  15. Vee

    >We don't fight in the traditional knock-down drag-out name-calling way either. It's just not the way we do things. And though we do have disagreements – and we DEFINITELY have nights where we just don't want to be around each other – we have never broken down into saying things we would regret in the morning. We have never thrown cutlery or cookery. And it feels good to have never been called a name you know you sometimes deserve. =P Love this post, Blair.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

  16. >You are amazing blair. You are right up there with jesus. *insert red font*

    February 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

  17. Lo

    >I absolutely love this, mainly because people look at my husband like we're crazy when we say we've never had a fight. Do we disagree on some things? Absolutely. Are there moments of frustration? Of course. But rather than fight about it, we talk. We do the whole "I feel" thing rather than pointing fingers. If there's one thing my college relationship and our pre-marriage counseling taught me, it's that if one person wins, both of you lose. And I do NOT want a loser in my marriage.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

  18. >Thank you for writing this post! My husband and I don't fight either and it's nice to hear another woman share that sentiment. I have never raised my voice in anger to him or called him a hurtful name (though a few playful "poopyheads" have been tossed around). That's not to say that I don't ever feel annoyed when I'm cleaning the kitchen after cooking dinner (again!), but I refuse to express my frustration in a way that would hurt the man I love most in this world. I choose to use kind words in place of hurtful ones. I choose to to be respectful and loving. And I know I can expect the same in return.So far it's been the recipe for a happy marriage: it was modeled for me by my parents and I plan on teaching my future children the same way.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  19. >I would love to be able to possess some of your self control. We fight and we can fight ugly. I hate it, I hate that our son has witnessed it. I hate the words that comes out of his mouth. I wish I knew how to change it but I don't. Good for you for figuring out how to communicate without being ugly.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm

  20. >That is something I never knew about you Blair, and now I respect you even more. My husband and I fight, and he believes I have a lack of respect because I often (most times unknowingly) use hurtful words towards him. I'm working on it, and reading your story has helped me keep it in the forefront of my mind. Thank you.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

  21. >My husband and I have never fought, either. I don't believe fighting is (or isn't) indicitive of a healthy relationship. We don't communicate that way. I also wouldn't work all weekend to get the house clean, if he was going to go off and golf. I might be able to stomach that disparity for a short period of time, but after a while resentiment would mount and divide us. We don't fight, because we have an equal partnership in our home.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  22. >ha! I love this. and not because I never fight with my husband (oh, I do) and not because I am inspired not to anymore (because who are we kidding?) but because I have the SAME thoughts about the friggin' dishes! :)

    February 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  23. >My husband and I never fought very often, but when we did, I always used cheap shots and tactics. It took me reading Dr. Laura's book (I know, I know) "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" to finally understand my man and where he was coming from. Thank you for inspiring me to keep changing and bettering myself as a wife, Blair!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm

  24. >Wow – thank you for the reminder and challenge BA… words cannot be taken back. ugh. What a good reminder to make sure my Ho knows every day just how lucky I am + how much I love him!

    February 8, 2011 at 1:03 am

  25. >That is so great! I wish I could do that, but usually in the heat of the moment I let my emotions get to me and usually the fiery words explode from my mouth.. But thankfully that rarely happens, usually we just talk about what is bothering us. But what a great way to think about it…

    February 8, 2011 at 1:07 am

  26. >This was a great post. Maybe the reason we find the fact that you and your husband don't fight so hard to believe is because it challenges our thinking about what many of us have been taught or have seen in society. We are taught that fighting can be healthy for relationships. It is unhealthy to keep things bottled up because over time resentment and anger may build. Anxiety, depression, rage, passive aggressiveness, etc. are just a few ways bottled up feelings will come out. When you have a fight with your partner, you release all those feelings. Your fight either brings resolve or you both grow tired of fighting and just leave things the way they are. If that happens you are bound to fight over the same thing again down the road. We believe fighting can be healthy because we lay out all our feelings on the table and when it's all over we've worked things out. This is the thing though. Resolve usually doesn't happen during a fight. Many times we fight; then we walk away, shut ourselves off from our partner (even if we're still in the same room) or start crying. Once we've calmed down, we talk to our partner and resolve whatever it is that made us fight in the first place. (We also apologize for the hurtful things we said during our fight.) So it's not the fight that brings resolve. I think we've got it backwards. Instead of fighting then calming down we should calm down first. Find another way to release your frustrations, in Blair's case it was scrubbing the heck out of those dishes. Once you've calmed down then talk to your partner. Without heated emotions in play resolve may come a lot quicker and your partner will be able to listen to you and not your emotions.I apologize if it sounds like I'm repeating myself. It's been a long day but I really wanted to reply to this. I'm not speaking as a wife who never fights with her husband. We've been married for five years. During that time there have been health problems, difficult pregnancies, postpartum depression, job layoffs, financial difficulties, and unresolved things from our past. We fought. We said hurtful things. We called each other names. We let our emotions do the talking. Sometimes it would be only a short time later, two hours, or until the next day before we sorted things out. For the longest time I thought that letting my husband know exactly how I felt about something was better than keeping it bottled up. I fought because I loved him. If I didn't care about us I would have left. I fought because I wanted us to grow stronger. I didn't want us to have unresolved pent up feelings inside that would eventually be our undoing. That was my thinking. And I went about it the wrong way. I let my emotions take control. When you fight that's what you're doing. You're lettings your feelings and emotions call the shots and they can land some pretty nasty punches. I have to say I never walked away from our fights feeling good about what I said, even if what I said was true. To be honest every time we fought, I hated it. Why do we hurt the people we love the most. I had to take responsibility for my emotions and my actions. I couldn't blame my husband for our fights. I couldn't blame life's circumstances. Marriage takes two people to work, but I couldn't wait for him to work on things. It was my job to be the best wife I could be because that was the promise I made to him. So I worked on myself. My attitudes, the way I handled my emotions when I was angry or upset with him. Instead of being passionate in my reasons for being upset with him, I would be passionate with how much I loved him. As I became a better wife, he became a better husband.

    February 8, 2011 at 3:07 am

  27. >~ * ♥ * ~I love this post Blair; because my hubby and I are very similar. People ask me if we've fought yet, and although I admit we've had our debates/disagreements/'heated' discussions{!} I feel we have always concentrated on what we are trying to say to each other. So I always tell them, "No, we don't fight" because we don't. We don't call names or use our words to hurt each other. We definitely let each other know how we are feeling {I for one could not cope if I didn't let it out} so there is no unhealthy repression of anger or hurt or resentment. We just take the time to think about what we say before we say it and I think that is truly one way we can honor and cherish our spouse. Thank you for pointing this out. xox,bonita of Depict This!~ * ♥ * ~

    February 8, 2011 at 3:13 am

  28. >Inspiring and amazing and all of it.

    February 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

  29. >Thanks for posting this — I really need to try and take something away from this. It can be so hard to control oneself in that moment. You illustrated, perfectly, why we do need to take that moment, however, to think before acting/speaking.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

  30. >This has been a big challenge for us, the Husband comes from a family of "yellers." They fight, they yell, get it out and then it's over. It took a long time for me to make my husband understand how much yelling scared me. We're still working on the right balance of letting it out and holding it in too long, but we're getting there. A work in progress.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

  31. >Blair-thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I are the same way. I think it's important for people to hear this because it is possible. Before we ever married my husband told me that he was not a fighter and that there was nothing important enough to fight over. Knowing that he would respect his future wife and family that much pretty much sealed the deal for me. Both of us grew up with parents that fought (mine divorced when I was 7) and we wanted none of that for our family.I think the critical line of the whole post is when you say that you looked at your husband and realized that what you wanted to say would hurt his feelings-that is the essence of love-putting someone else's feelings first. Sorry this is a long response but I love you and love this post, even if other people don't believe it!

    February 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

  32. >My husband and I would never fight over dishes, either–because neither of us could imagine in a million years a scenario in which I, after a busy week of work and baby-wrangling, would give up half my weekend to scrub the house for him while he played golf. Swallowing resentment while washing dishes just isn't my speed, sorry. But then again, I was never trying to be "good." How terribly boring.

    February 9, 2011 at 3:05 am

  33. >I agree with Sarah. This reminds me of Seinfeld. "Serenity now … insanity later." Then again, I'm not the type of woman who sees a freshly-scrubbed house as a gift to my husband, either.

    February 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  34. >It isn't 1951. I think you are full of it.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  35. >My husband and I don't "fight" either. We never have. Disagree? Yes. Snap at each other or become frustrated? Sometimes. But we never raise our voices in anger, attack one another's character, call names, etc. And to me, that's what fighting is. I think this is a great post and you definitely gave me food for thought. I think both husbands and wives can benefit from taking a moment, thinking things through, and holding their tounge until they can discuss things rationally and calmly. Of course it's not going to happen 100% of the time, but it's something to strive for! Also, FWIW, I grew up in a family of "yellers" and my parents did have BIG, loud, angry fights in front of us as kids. It was never physical, but there was name calling and disrespect from both sides. I grew up knowing that I would not tolerate that type of behavior in my house and now that I am half of a couple, that's just not how we solve things.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm

  36. >To Anonymous,You're right, it's not the 1950's. We could learn a lot from looking to the past. Yes, they had their share of problems and although the divorce rate was significantly lower, people did still get divorced and struggle with their marriage inside closed doors. But family ties were stronger. It's sad that family values and marriages have gone down the drain. "I do" used to mean "I do forever". Now, people try marriage on like it's an accessory. If they don't like it after a while they call it quits.I do think that some people fight less or not at all in their marriages because they haven't been through traumatic events or big challenges that other marriages have faced, but I applaud Blair for her post and how sad is it that we're telling her she's not being honest about actually have a strong, happy marriage without fights.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

  37. >Mamie, thank you :)It is absolutely not the 1950's.But I did not realize that basic values like respect, patience, & considering another person above yourself had expiration dates & were irrelevant in 2011.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:18 am

  38. Elz

    >My husband and I rarely fight. We disagree often, but we resolve those issues. I don't think that disagreeing with your spouse or admitting that you feel neglected or put upon, or stressed, or whatever is ingracious or off-putting to your husband. It would be insincere to hold those feelings in, and not healthy in the long run. I believe that there are ways you can cherish and love your spouse and still disagree and fight and love. Black and white is not life. Life is gray. If it works for you now, great. Also know that life changes and your feelings may change as well. And, that's ok too.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:49 am

  39. >After 6 years together and 3.5 married, my husband and I often ponder, "what will bring on our first "real" fight?" As I read through these comments, the common theme to the non-fighters is communication!!…and taking the time think about things that are bothering you and talk about them in a calm collected manner. Thank you Blair for giving me the confidence to know that doing just that makes me a good wife and not the push over I sometimes wonder if I'm being!!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm

  40. >We've been married for almost 6 yrs and haven't had a big fight yet. We both take the time to cool down before things get heated and then we get together to talk it out. We both think it is beyond reprehensable to say unkind things to your spouse. Respect and kindness shouldn't stop just because you've been living with a person for a while.

    February 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

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  47. Gabi

    Blair, I really identify with your feelings of "inequality" that you describe in this post. I work full time and my husband is a student. He has class 2-3 hours a day and does not have a job or do much homework. I am easily frustrated because not only am I making all the money, but I'm doing all the housework! Usually while he watches sports or does sudoku puzzles. When I do ask him to help, he usually says he will do it but "forgets". Besides an unequal work load, literally every sporting event televised is a better use of his time to him than spending time with me.

    Obviously I don't want to be the nagging wife from proverbs who is "like a constant dripping", but his use of time is really weighing on me and our relationship. I feel like if I keep biting my tongue and keeping this to myself, I am just going to get progressively unhappier. Any advice for how to go about a healthy conversation regarding this situation??

    April 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

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