Like any couple, we fight. Our most recent fight was at a local airport here in Nepal (where we currently live and work) after our flight to a remote mountain community was cancelled for the second day in a row. Oh, and it was 47 C outside without a breeze let alone a working fan. In situations like this that do genuinely ‘suck’, I have the shocking habit of trying to tell my wife Brittany to “look happy” (even when she has the right to some deserved frustration). So that I did, and it didn’t go down well. This was made even more awesome by the group of Nepali men gathered to hear us have it out at the tea shop.
But when you’re on the border of Nepal and India, stinking hot, exhausted, madly frustrated with each other, and you have none of your normal support networks or ‘escapes’, you don’t have a choice… you have to pull it together!
It’s in these moments that we turn to each other – often after a fair amount of ‘heated’ conversation and maybe even a few tears (Britty will tell you they are more likely to be mine than hers!!) – and finally say these six words to each other that save our marriage daily:
We are all each other’s got.
Even if you don’t live in Nepal, or have to deal with 47 C heat waves and cancelled flights, I’m sure that when the pressures of life build up for you and your partner, you could do with such a simple phrase that has the power to reframe any situation immediately, no matter how bad.
What makes these words so powerful?
They bring us back to the ultimate reality: Which is that we love each other and that we have made a commitment to each other that is for life. If you can bring yourself back to this ultimate reality, even in the midst of the most heated fight, it will help you to see that continuing to fight is an exercise in futility.
They remind us of what we mean to each other: I married Brittany because when we met, there was something incredible about her that made me want to be with her for the rest of my life. It takes discipline, but you need to remember that version of your partner. Not the one you see now in your state of anger and frustration. And I know you might say, “But this person isn’t the person I first married,” (and obviously there are cases where this is very real and difficult decisions must be made) but can I say for a moment, forget about that, and instead have the courage and humility to see your role in the mess. It’s amazing how many times this has caused me to shut up, realise where I was at fault and instead seek forgiveness.
They provide an ‘out’ for ending the fight: How many fights start, and then continue, because one or both of you feel like you’re being misunderstood and can’t possibly get your actual point across? Because we have come to use this phrase regularly in our disagreements, it reminds us of the truth held by the first two points and acts as a ‘white flag’ or ‘peace offering’. We can both back down, neither of us feeling like we have ‘lost’, and instead begin to work at coming back together and getting back ‘in-sync’.
Do we have a perfect marriage? No. I’ve just told you that. But I can say with complete integrity and humility, that we have never had a fight that lasted more than a day. We have always reconciled by the time we go to sleep.
We believe in the power and wisdom of the ancient teaching, “Never let the sun go down on your anger.”
The world needs strong, resilient and love-filled marriages. In order to protect ours and keep it this way, we have our little saying. What’s yours?
Writing about our relationship is something I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy, and which you the readers have told me has been incredibly helpful (in fact they’ve been this blog’s most popular posts!).
So here are my other posts on relationships so far:
Question: Do you have a technique for defusing your fights that you’d be willing to bless others with by sharing? It doesn’t have to be with your spouse and might be with your kids, friends or colleagues?
Please leave your response in the section provided below. And please share this post if you have found it helpful.