I don't know how you are when you fight?
For me, I've had to learn how to fight, and I'm still learning to fight constructively.
For years, I just didn't fight, or at least, not much, and not in any direct way. It's not that I wanted to be passive-agressive. I just didn't know how to have a face-to-face fight.
So it has been a challenge figuring out how to fight directly, and fight fair. To take what's making me angry and to address it in a constructive way.
I mean, sometimes you are just too hormonal or tired or whatever to be productive. Sometimes you're just out-and-out itching for a fight, for no good reason. Or the reason you think isn't the real reason, which you don't realize till later.
But sometimes, you know what it is, and you need to say it. Or to hear the other person, and respond.
My tendency when I'm really angry is to lash out. You make me hurt, I'll pay you back five-fold.
Nick is similar. He's quicker to anger, but has more restraint during the argument.
You make me really mad? You hurt my feelings? Yeah, well let me remind you how much your family sucks and doesn't come through for you. Let me give you five recent examples.
Even though that has nothing to do with the precise matter at hand.
See how not constructive this might be in a marriage?
A couple weeks ago, Nick came home all sullen, in a swirling black mood of doom, which is really rare for him. It lasted all night. It blanketed the morning.
And as we were having breakfast, he said a couple terrible things. That I took in the worst possible way.
So I made an analogy that possibly included his mother. (I know, I know.)
It turns out what he heard - which is not what I said - was, "You're wrong about how you're feeling. Oh, and your mother sucks."
And this made him even angrier. As it might.
I knew there was no way that I could get to any reasonable place within the conversation. And so I said, "I cannot do this right now." And I got up and left.
I walked out. Ran down the stairs. Clump clump clump clump clump. And then next stairs. Clump clump clump clump clump.
I grabbed my stuff. I heard Nick behind me. Clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp.
I hurried down the next flight. (We have many a stair, in case you're wondering.) I heard him behind me, and I quickened my pace. Clumpclumpclumpclumpclump. Locked the door behind me and hastened down the street.
I'm pretty sure the chill of the morning kept my head from melting.
We talked a couple hours later, when we were both calmer. That night, we had a really good, in-depth conversation. We listened, we heard each other, and we are ultimately stronger for it.
It made me feel like I'd made some strides in the constructiveness department.
Although I must admit I did mutter, "Just try and catch up with me, fat man." through clenched teeth all the way to work that morning.