Here are the five things worth fighting for in your relationship:
1. Your personal freedom. Money symbolizes this freedom, yet opposites attract. Sara was frugal and typically saved her pennies, while Ben was an over-spender who oozed reckless abandon. Each found the other’s spending habits intolerable. So before they got married, the couple set up a “you” account, a “me” account, and a “we” account for their funds. Each then felt free, yet also bonded together.
Lesson learned: The more compromise a couple enjoys, the more devoted to each other they feel.
2. A healthy lifestyle. Alan promised to stop smoking if Maggie married him. She did, but he didn’t follow through. Maggie fought for their family to embrace healthy eating habits and exercise routines, but Alan refused to participate. Maggie finally left the marriage when Alan almost died of COPD.
Lesson learned: Share your needs and preferences with each other right from the start so you can test your partner’s buy-in on such matters.
3. Emotional and physical safety. Bonnie seemed like an ideal catch when Fred first met her, but after they dated for four months, her short fuse revealed itself; Bonnie was blowing up at the slightest provocation. At my urging, she enrolled in Anger Management classes, and Fred now appreciates their relationship more than ever before.
Lesson learned: Openly communicate your concerns about physical safety. Discover how far you’ll be willing to go for what your partner may call “love.”
4. Your own bathroom comfort. Jim had been dating Violet for several months. He was fastidious, and she was messy. He couldn’t stand her hair in the bathroom sink; she couldn’t fathom falling into the toilet another time after he left the seat up. She put the toilet paper facing one way, which compelled Jim to replace it going in the other direction. Each partner’s bathroom habits annoyed the other, but I advised them to find some humor in their disagreements. When they recognized these arguments were hardly earth-shattering, they chose to change their routines in order to sustain their love for each other.
Lesson learned: Air your complaints with humor, because laughter accelerates and maintains the romance!
5. Togetherness. Unifying as a team bonds you against the big, ugly world. Fight for your mate’s success, self-esteem, and career goals while your honey fights for yours. Crissy supported her new beau when he ran for public office. The pair endured the stress of living in a fishbowl and the unfounded subsequent attacks on both of them as individuals. But together, they kept their eye on their shared goal. When Cliff won the election, he proposed to Crissy. He gushed, “I can’t imagine life without this strong team we’ve formed.”
Don't forget to share your "favorite fight" here!