To get married in the Catholic church Bret and I were required to go through premarital courses. This included a weekend retreat, 3 one hour sessions with a certified marital counselor/therapist, a course on natural family planning, and a class on marriage the sacrament with the priest. Sounds like a lot huh? I guess realizing the divorce rate being what it is the Catholic church felt it imperative to spend some time working to prepare us for marriage.

Honestly we didn't mind it. Kind of like taking child birthing classes before you have your first baby it was just considered part of the process. Looking back I also have to admit that we learned a lot and have used a lot of what we learned in the years since.

Out of all of the different parts of what we did the sessions with the marital counselor probably stuck with us the most. We talked about money, having children, being parents, our own families and parents, and most importantly for us we talked about how to fight. We had never really thought about fighting before this session. We fought. Everyone fights. Our parents fought, we fought with our parents, roommates, siblings, it was destined that if you spend the rest of your life with someone you were bound to fight.

The counselor even surprised us to say that fighting was healthy as long as you fought fair. Rules to fighting with your spouse? Huh.

The first thing that the counselor did was hand each of us a printed list of the most typical types of responses when met with confrontation. We were then asked to check off the things that our partner did when fighting. Here is what we pretty much narrowed it down to Bret- immediate defense/walls and sarcasm. When you approach Bret about anything he tends to become very defensive...immediately. He puts up this wall and gears himself for attack. He allows no room to talk about things...it's game on immediately. Bret also tends to use sarcasm a lot. When I talk to him about something he makes me feel like I'm being overly dramatic and am exaggerating everything. I feel blown off without him even realizing it.

Adriana- Prerecords conversations and arguments and goes for the jugular. When something is bothering me I spend a lot of time thinking about how to best approach Bret. I think "I'm going to say this, and he will respond by saying this, and the result will be this". The problem is that when the conversation doesn't go that way it derails me. Bret feels like he can't win or say the right thing no matter what he says. I also tend to go for the jugular. From a very early age I got picked on a lot. Not one for physical fights I used words as my weapons. Which means that without realizing (OK sometimes I realize it) I try and find the one thing that I can say that will hurt the person I am fighting with most.

It's amazing how just realizing what it is that you tend to do during your fights and what your partner does helps. Most of the time Bret and I fight fair. We don't fight very often and when we do it's a big blow out that we both get past almost immediately. I love that about us. I know that when we fight that's all it is...it's just a fight. We lick our wounds, apologize, and figure out what is really beneath the fighting.

There has been a lot of stress in our home lately. Bret is on a tough rotation, I'm 33 weeks pregnant, and we are getting ready to make some major changes in our lives (which makes having a new baby seem like no big deal in comparison). Last night we fought, we talked, and we made up. Both of us woke up a little lighter on the stress level this morning which makes for a great weekend.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Adriana, we could be married to the same guy. Our fights go EXACTLY the same way.