• I had a yoga teacher who said that when she first got married, she and her husband fought the first year incessantly. They went to their spiritual guru who said, newlyweds fight a lot because they are getting used to living with each other and being in each other’s daily space. Okay, but now what? The above-mentioned guru then suggested that every time they had a disagreement, they should stop whatever they were doing, turn their heads upside down and look at each other through their legs. Then they each would have one uninterrupted minute to speak to each other about what was bothering them. And the catch was that they had to sing their complaint. A little “out there” but my yoga teacher went on to say that the first few times, they started laughing so hard at the absurdity of it all, that they didn’t stopped fighting. Maybe it was the ridiculousness of viewing their spouse’s face upside down or simply the rush of blood to their brains (I should have my children try this for ironing their disagreements). None the less, it worked for a short while until they had to seek more formal counseling. None the less, their marriage didn’t make it past the two-year mark.

    Another scenario. While on their honeymoon, a good friend of mine was reading a relationship book and her husband began to laugh. “Why are reading that book,” he wanted to know? She replied that she could read it with better clarity now versus when she would be upset with him in the future. She wanted to have the communication tools, ready in her marriage toolbox, in case she needed them in the future. They had a good chuckle. Years later, he lost his job, they went through a rough time and they sought help through their church. I commended her for being proactive and him for his willingness to get help. They are still doing great. But they worked at it.

    I had another married friend who claimed that she and her husband never fought. She was so proud of her relationship. Many of us thought, impossible that they never fought. Five years later, they got a divorce. They probably never fought because they never really communicated.  It’s okay to have differences of opinions as long as you work them out and respect each other.

    All couples fight, disagree, bicker, banter, debate, argue, and annoy each other.  When is this a normal thing in a relationship and when do you need to seek help from an outside source? There isn’t a straightforward answer on this topic as each dynamic is different. Some people make it through without ever seeing a therapist. Some relationships benefit more from involving family members and friends. Some do not want interference. Some need time, and other relationships need immediate intervention. But how do you know when do you need to seek outside help? No one can give you the exact answer but I can give you some scenarios depicting when it just might be time for an experienced professional to get involved:

    • * If your children are telling you to stop fighting.
    • * If you are thinking about how you would execute a divorce, there might still be hope.
    • * If friends are asking you how your relationship is going with raised eyebrows.
    • * If friends and family hint or say that they don’t like to be around both of you because of the “tension.”
    • * Arguments are on the verge of getting physical (hopefully, you haven’t gone there already).
    • * You stop communicating altogether because your spouse doesn’t seem to understand (or doesn’t care to) or has verbalized that they do understand but then nothing improves.

    Like all things in life, trust yourself, your instincts and your heart. And never be too proud to seek help, from a family member or a professional, anytime you feel it’s necessary. This way, someone can help you see both sides of the coin (a reality check to make sure your demands aren’t ridiculous, as your spouse might have you believe). Plus, regardless of the outcome, this will at least give you peace of mind that you gave it your best!