Some Advice On How To Fight Well In Marriage
Marriage can be amazing, but it doesn’t just come naturally. It takes intentionality and effort to get through disagreements in a healthy way. One of the most important aspects of settling disagreements is compromise. In a case study explained in this article, a wife and husband are met with a classic disagreement where the wife feels the husband should stay home from a trip for financial and planning purposes, but the trip is very important to the husband. Who bends when financial priorities are different? Relationship columnist Brent Stroller lays out some good steps to finding a compromise.
My husband’s side of the family lives in the U.K., and we just found out my mother-in-law is getting married at a courthouse in London. There will be no ceremony, but afterward, she and her new husband will head straight to Bali to celebrate, along with other relatives.
We can’t afford for both of us to go to Bali, but my husband still wants to go, even though the trip would eat up all funds we’ve been saving to celebrate our anniversary at another beach destination.
If he goes, I would not only miss out on Bali, I’d miss out on the vacation we’ve been planning — the only vacation I’ll have for the next year.
Is it unfair for me to tell my husband, “Please don’t go”?
I want him to have the opportunity to be with family he hasn’t seen in forever, but this is money we saved for both of us. I also don’t want to sacrifice my only vacation — to celebrate our anniversary! — for his impromptu trip.
Am I being selfish?
–Wife Who Wants Her Vacation; Charleston, WV
“Pick your battles.”
When it comes to marriage advice, this is among the most common offerings.
Which isn’t surprising.
No matter how similar two people are, and no matter how much they love each other, they aren’t always going to be on the same page.
It’s impossible, especially given marriage’s spectrum of (potential) squabbles, from finances and family planning to what constitutes a clean house.
Sometimes, you have to stay quiet; other times, you have to step into the ring.
Your situation is worth stepping in the ring for.
In fact, if it were a boxing match, it’d be on the level of Ali-Frazier. It’s got everything: monetary disputes, in-law drama, life-cycle events and dashed (vacation) dreams.
But what chance do you have of winning? Whose desires should take precedence, yours or your husband’s?
Let’s go to the tale of the tape…
Wedding vs. Anniversary
On one hand, your husband’s mother is getting married. Not his co-worker, not his college buddy, not even his best man from your wedding — his mother. It’d be strange if he wasn’t there.
And, in theory, this is something that happens once, whereas anniversaries happen once a year.
Plus, while he has to travel to celebrate his mom (either to Bali for this or to the U.K. for a separate celebration,) you don’t have to travel to celebrate the two of you.
No, that’s not as special as a beach vacation. But in terms of commemorating your relationship, finding something special to do at home could mean just as much.
On the other hand, though it’s HIS mother, it’s YOUR anniversary. There are few occasions more important than that.