7 Days of No Fighting With My Husband: Could We Pass the Test?

couple fightingMy husband and I have always had epic fights. There was the time he flipped the mattress over early in our marriage. Or the time he broke the heater in my car after he smashed it with his palm. I have broken a mirror, and once when we were engaged, I threw my engagement ring so hard that one of the platinum prongs bent. It's still warped 14 years later. Yep. When we fight, we do it up right.

So when we got the idea to challenge ourselves to a week with NO fights, we both really wondered if we could do it.

We fight about dumb things. The dishes. Or the cat litter. Or me leaving the lights on (AGAIN!) in the bathroom. Or him eating all my peanut butter cups when I'm jonesing and nine months pregnant.

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Now that we have kids, of course, our fights are less passionate and involve less throwing and flipping and smashing. But they are still loud and often involve more cursing and yelling than either of us would be proud to admit.

I know what you're thinking: Get some real issues, people. It's true. We shouldn't let stupid things ruffle our feathers, but we are both passionate, stubborn people, and when we get mad, we get MAD. So we decided, for one crazy LONG week, to give up fighting. We decided to stop picking on each other for minuscule things and take walks instead of starting fights. Could we do it? We could try.

The first two days went so well, it didn't even feel like a challenge. We were at the pool with the kids every evening, smiling and holding hands. At night we ended up not watching movies as usual because I had work to do and he had sports to watch. With him working outside the house every day, it was pretty easy to avoid any flare-ups, and I worked hard not to do the things that annoy him. I turned off the A/C when I left the house and managed to even remember to shut the cabinets.

Fight avoidance, people! Look into it!

He even did the same (once). He did the dishes without me asking. We were getting somewhere! But then came the morning of the third day of the challenge.

It had been an exhausting night. Our 5-month-old just started sleeping through the night, but we were only two days into it and my body was still waking up every hour to check her breathing. I crawled out of bed after my dog woke me with his begging for a walk, stumbled down the stairs, and found a mess in the kitchen. The pot in which I'd made chili the night before was still sitting on the stove, bits of meat and tomato sauce still clinging to the side. The countertops were covered in chopped veggies, and the wooden cutting board was covered with dried pieces of onion.

Not one dish had been done. After I'd managed to get dinner on the table for him. Despite my full-time job. Despite three children needing attention. Despite a nursing baby and a dog who needed a walk. Was I mad? Hell yes.

My normal MO would be to walk upstairs, drag him from bed, and demand to know WHO he thought cleaned up after him. Was I his maid? What "fairy" did he think did the morning cleaning? Oh, yeah. My blood was boiling. But then I stopped. I took a deep breath. I remembered the challenge.

I punched my hand with my fist a few times, hooked the dog's leash on, and took a mile-long walk. By the time I got home, I had cooled off. I did the dishes without seething, then calmly explained to my husband why I needed him to do the dishes and how mad I'd been initially. He nodded and apologized.

Every night since? The dishes have been done. Magic.

That wasn't all. By vowing not to fight, we talked more. The time he came home and the cabinets were open, he made a joke about it. Like it was endearing instead of maddening. I laughed too and tried to remember to shut them the next time.

We got things done calmly. We discussed things like civilized grown-ups and still loved each other after. When the credit card bill came in, there were no surprises because, in an effort to avoid fighting, I'd been clear on the JCrew order I'd placed for our kids and the Zappos order I'd done for myself. He wasn't thrilled, but he was prepared and we discussed rather than bickered.

It was shockingly easy to keep our cool. It's not that we didn't discuss things. We just did it with some composure.

It's been 10 days now. We've gone three days past the challenge with no arguments or fights. It's not that we haven't disagreed. We have. But the challenge to not argue or fight has morphed into something else. We actually gained some skills. I learned to take a walk and calm down before addressing things. Even more, I figured out that he responds better to a cool-headed discussion than a hot-headed argument.

I'll never shut off every light, but I'm trying. He'll probably never make the bed the way I like or remember to do the dishes every night. But the vast majority of our happy marriage trumps these tiny inconveniences, and a week of no fighting actually taught me that, in the grand scheme, we have very little to fight about at all.

Could you go a week without fighting with your husband?


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