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3 Tips For A Better First Year Of Marriage

3 Tips For A Better First Year Of Marriage

It’s been three years since my husband and I exchanged marriage vows and pretty rings. We said “I do” under twinkling lights, outside on a chilly New Year’s Eve. What followed was a glitzy celebration full of champagne, confetti, and popcorn. The whole day, from […]

Why I Can’t Give Up My Hobby

Why I Can’t Give Up My Hobby

You know when you are aware of something looming in the background but instead of face it head on you try to ignore it for as long as possible? I often do this with my bank account. When the mental math suggests things are getting […]

How To Fight Fair In Love

How To Fight Fair In Love

Those who are close to me and actually ask my opinion occasionally have heard me say time and time again that some arguing is healthy for a relationship. [ click here for more healthy relationship tips! ] I’m always suspicious of those couples who never fight, never argue, never so much as have a calm yet stern disagreement. I call bullshit on every single one of those couples, because all they’re doing is holding it in, and being fake isn’t healthy in the slightest. Of course, full-on fights that include screaming profanities and slapping aren’t healthy either. So, where do we draw the line and how do we find that balance between a healthy argument and an all-out brawl?

It’s all about fighting fair.

Someone out there has a stupid smirk on his face saying, “I thought all was fair in love and war?”. No, you idiot. That old adage was never true. In fact, it’s incredibly important to have boundaries when having disagreements with your partner. We’ve all had those little bickering tiffs, the ones where both parties aren’t really serious and all will be forgiven in a moments time until someone took it too far, said the wrong thing that crossed the line and blew the whole thing up. Yup, I’ve been there several hundred times before, I’m sure. And more likely than not, it was probably me who crossed the line at least 50% of the time. Hey, I’m not too proud to admit my shortcomings.

Obviously, fighting fair is something that I have to work on, and if we’re being honest, so do all of you. Don’t worry, I don’t judge. Instead, let’s focus on how we can prevent our disagreements from turning into our very own battle of the sexes.

1. Choose your words wisely.

Probably one of the most important rules when it comes to fighting fair. We can all say things that cause a little sting, or worse, knock the wind out of someone. For some sick and twisted reason, we are especially capable of this when it comes to our partners. When the argument starts heating up and the tempers flare, it can be easy to just let the words fly. Try your best to breathe, count to 10, and truly think before you speak. You can’t take the words back after they’ve left your bitter little lips and more than likely, you only said what you said to simply hurt the other person, not because you actually meant it.

This is also a valuable rule for those dating someone who has a hot button word. You know, some girls can’t stand to be called crazy and the second you call them crazy, they go, well, crazy. We all have our sensitivities, and it would be wise to not use those against each other during an argument.

how to fight fair in love2. Whatever you do, leave comparisons out of it!

It happens all the time. In a fit of anger you compare your wife to her mother or your husband to your ex. Big, big mistake. The last thing anyone wants to hear during a heated argument is how they are acting just like their stubborn mother or how your ex was a better listener than you. Comparisons won’t do any good when it comes to ending a relationship conflict in a constructive manner. In fact, it will do the complete opposite. Talk about adding fuel to the fire.

3. Try to watch your language and keep it down.

Sometimes your spouse deserves to be called a dick, but be careful when throwing around profanity. Using four-letter words to describe your spouse will likely earn you some expletives in return. This whole cussing back and forth thing will escalate things even further, raised voices and all. You can’t call your boyfriend an asshole without yelling it, right? That’s just how cuss words work. Yelling profanities will do little for conflict resolution, and maybe even get the cops called on you by the neighbors. Plus, it’s just mean and hurtful. Trust me, I know. My ex and I said some of the meanest things to each other when we’d fight (I don’t say argue because it was never just that), most of which would be a continuous “beeeeeeeep” if we were on television. Keep your voice down, its a great deterrent for cursing. Think about it, when’s the last time you whispered profanity at someone? That would just be weird and creepy.

4. Leave the past behind.

Bringing up past arguments, events, or issues is not what I call fighting fair. Those issues are in the past for a reason, case closed on those ones. Time to move on, and moving on means not throwing it in your partners face when it’s convenient for you. If you’ve ever messed up, paid your dues, and been forgiven, you understand how hurtful it can be to have it used against you after months or years go by. Issues that have been resolved don’t get to be resurrected. That’s the deal you make when forgiving someone. To keep your relationship healthy and moving forward, focus on the issues at hand.

5. Don’t be too proud to apologize.

Sincere apologies can make everything better. No really, they can; I wrote all about it here. Refusing to accept your portion of responsibility for the argument stalls things and puts a halt to any conflict resolution that could be happening. Not only is it incredibly unfair to be that stubborn, but it will no doubt create a riff between you and your partner, who will most likely harbor some resentment. I’m wrong all the time, and I will be the first to admit it. If you truly think you’re right about something, find a way to discuss it in a respectful manner. No arrogance needed, thank you very much. No one is perfect, and sitting all alone up there on your high horse is not only infuriating, it’s unattractive.

6. Sticks and stones will break bones.

So, I feel like this is a given, but I also feel like it needs to be said because a lot of women, young and old, find themselves in a situation of abuse that they might not recognize. At no point in any fight between boyfriend and girlfriends, fiances, husbands and wives, etc., should the argument take a physical turn. Again, to some this may seem like an obvious rule of fighting fair, but you’d be surprised. It’s easy to dismiss a shove or two during a heated argument, but any aggressive physical touch should not be tolerated in the slightest. If you feel like you may be the victim of abuse, talk to someone outside of your relationship, call the police, or reach out to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Okay all seriousness and joking aside, I think you get my point. Some healthy bickering is totally natural, but you have fight fair, kids. Put your weapons down and forget about throwing low blows. Isn’t it always better to kiss and make-up, anyways?

10 Questions To Ask Your Spouse Before Getting Pregnant

10 Questions To Ask Your Spouse Before Getting Pregnant

The older I get, the more I find myself suddenly admiring photos of adorable babies and pinning nursery decor on Pinterest. I’m fairly certain that it’s just my natural instincts to procreate kicking in, but nevertheless, it’s got me thinking about the possibility of popping […]

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Much to the dismay of eye-rolling men everywhere, it turns out there may be some truth to that old adage. A Rutgers study found that the more content the wife is in the long-term marriage, the happier the husband is. Professor Deborah Carr, of the Department of […]

What I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

What I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

Blake and I spent the last week in Napa Valley celebrating the new year and our first anniversary as a married couple. It’s a good thing we were in wine country because we had plenty to cheers to. We survived our first year practically unscathed, which is saying a lot considering we had purchased and completely renovated (a pain-staking ordeal) our first home within six months of saying “I do”. You always hear that old adage that the first year of marriage is the hardest. How much truth there is in that statement, who knows? Despite the stress we endured throughout our reno, I highly doubt we will look back and think of our first year as the hardest.

To be honest, we had a pretty great first year of marriage. That’s a good thing though, right? No major fights, we didn’t fall on hard times, and we accomplished some big things. Of course it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. I definitely learned a few things about me and my relationship during our first year that I hope will help me (and maybe you too) in the many married years to come.


first year of marriage tips1. Feeling Sexy Is Important

Since our wedding one year ago, I’ve put on more than my fair share of weight. While there were some pathetic and short-lived attempts to loose those extra pounds, I pretty much did nothing to change it all year long. All the while feeling totally self conscious and unhappy with my weight gain. It became increasingly more apparent as the year went on that my self confidence had a direct affect on my marriage. While my husband will forever compliment me and do his best to make me feel beautiful, if I don’t feel sexy (due to nothing else but my own feelings about my body) it’s hard to get in the mood. I’m not saying I have to be skinny to get my libido going, that’s not it at all. Now I realized that it’s just as important that I feel sexy as it is for my husband to think I’m sexy to encourage a healthy sex life. Just another reason to get my ass back in shape.
*Side note: It’s just as important to give each other compliments. I love getting random “you look hot in those jeans” or ” you’re so sexy” compliments from my husband and I always make sure to return the praise.

2. You Need A Household Budget

Unless you are one of those fortunate enough to be in the now infamous 1%, you will most likely always have to keep a close eye on your finances and marriage will only further the need. No longer are you responsible for your small handful of bills and the rent for a small studio. Being married brings in another income (hopefully) and even more bills. I do most of the book keeping so the juggling of checks and balances has mostly been on my plate, but I do go over our budget at least once a month with the hubby. I make sure he knows exactly how much we need for which bills and how much we have to spend on extras. During the first year of marriage, it becomes obvious that both partners need to be on the same page financially. And while we are on the subject, it’s probably about time to get a real live tax accountant too.

3. Monotony Gets Boring

Don’t get me wrong, I love our typical Friday night of dinner and a movie at home…but, you’ve got to mix it up a little. With all the work that went in to our renovation and for all those months we stayed with Blake’s mom during the purchase of the house, when we finally got settled we wanted to do nothing but enjoy each other’s company in our first home. Those are still my favorite nights but we need to go out once in a while and have some fun. It doesn’t come all that naturally to us. We have to work at it, we make plans to keep dating. After a year of trying to come up with last minute dates that aren’t the same old, same old, I decided to be proactive. For Blake’s Christmas present I planned a year-full of unique dates, one for each month of 2015. You gotta keep it fresh and fun.

4. Compromising Is A Necessity

Compromise is an important part of any relationship but once you get married the compromises are on a whole other level. It’s always nice to compromise on the movie you’re going to watch or where you will go for dinner, but when you have a spouse you will have to make bigger compromises. Maybe you can’t stand your husband’s best friend or you don’t get along with your wife’s brother, yet you are required to be civil. Perhaps you aren’t fond of football but your spouse is a die-hard fan, you have to play along, tail gates and all. The point is that if you’re married, from time to time you will have to do things you would rather not do. It’s all about compromise. Blake doesn’t share my love for Friends (the sitcom, not my besties) but he will tolerate a few episodes for me. My taste buds don’t do well with curry but I attend and attempt to enjoy every family dinner at the Indian cuisine restaurant up the street. It’s best to gracefully accept that you’ll have to compromise from time to time and appreciate when your spouse does the same for you.

5. Tiffs & Spats Are Normal

I’ve sort of always known this one, now I’m just sure of it. I was never under the misconception that marriage was like a magic spell or potion that would alleviate any and all altercations from my relationship. Fights, arguments, disagreements, whatever you want to call them, should be a part of any healthy relationship. Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. I don’t trust any couple that doesn’t bicker from time to time. There are probably some giant skeletons in those closets that are just waiting to surprise attack. Anyways, tiffs and spats are somewhat common in my household. I’m not talking about full blown fights with yelling and nasty name calling, those are not fun and should be few and far in between. Blake and I argue about the most ridiculous things sometimes and it somehow ends with laughter. Half the time one (or both) of us has a grin on our face. It’s a half-serious quarrel that is soon forgotten. That’s how it’s always been with us and marriage hasn’t changed that one bit.

Of course this isn’t a science, just the opinion of a recently married woman with a hunch she’s in a damn good relationship. If nothing else, maybe these realizations can inspire some food for thought about your own marriage.

What did you learn in your first year of marriage?

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