Whenever Mara and I write about our commitment to seek to embody virtues like love, patience, kindness, calm, forgiveness, and gratitude (instead of anger, impatience, sharpness, agitation, grudge holding, and bitterness) we always get some people expressing disbelief. Especially when we talk about applying it to difficult moments in your relationship with your significant other, we often get this question:
“Don’t you ever fight? Isn’t the fighting good for the the passion aspect of a relationship? Isn’t the arguing part of a healthy dynamic?”
I’ve heard this a great deal over the years as people have shared their marriage advice. It’s also something that has come in over comments and emails as long as we’ve had the blog.
I’m entirely comfortable (and in fact happy to take a stand) saying that you will NEVER hear us touting the importance of anger or fighting in order to increase passion in a relationship. My experience is it does the opposite.
Perhaps some will see it as a sign of my own emotional immaturity, but I am honestly incapable of connecting a fight with my wife to an increase in passion. Fighting has never been something I enjoy.
If I were to think about what it is that people so enjoy about the much talked about “make-up sex” after a fight, it is because in that special moment all differences are put aside, forgiveness and vulnerability are re-extended, egos are laid down, and two people decide to come “back together” after a period of forced separation.
I suppose I can understand how something like that is appealing. It’s certainly better than remaining angry with each other for hours or days or weeks.
But what is more appealing to me, is trying not to ever leave the place of forgiveness, vulnerability, togetherness, and companionship in the first place. My experience is that when I succeed in doing this, the passion and love actually doesn’t need to be rekindled, it is always there.
The most tender moments in our marriage have come when one or the other exerted the inner strength to avoid an argument by maintaining their cool and control when the other partner was heated. In such situations, the agitated spouse has come down from the state of being so much faster than arguing would have ever achieved. And when they come down, not only is there an outpouring of love as they return to their normal/healthier selves, but there is overwhelming gratitude for the spouse that kept their ego in check when the other was struggling.
That, to me, is a tremendous source of deep love, passion, and unity.
For those that feel the occasional anger/argument is important to the expression of passion in the relationship, help me understand why you feel that is so. And if arguments have lead to passion and love, what was it about the situation that you think created that love? Do you believe your passion could be more consistent and sustained if you approached things differently?
For those that have found greater passion with a more peaceful and patient route, explain why and what the results have been.
There are all types of people, and we need not all be the same. So please don’t hesitate to answer even if it differs from what I described above. We love to hear from both sides!
If you want more discussion on this subject, or to look at other great comments, follow the link at the top of the post.
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