Picking how you battleCommandment #2 

Don’t pick your battles, pick the way you’ll work through them.

When you live with someone, you learn what not to talk about and what subjects are safe to bring up. Don’t talk about sex with your parents, keep away from politics with your mother’s brother. If you comment to your best friend that she was late again for your lunch meeting, she might give you the cold shoulder for a week or so. Not the best communicator, is she? Or IS she?

When you live with anyone for a long period of time, disagreements are bound to come up, right? Is there anyone who’s reading this that hasn’t had any arguments or different points of view with her or his significant other? How do the two of you pick your battles?

When the roads diverge

My first live-in-love, Larry, and I agreed about almost everything. We had an easy- going relationship, very supportive, joyful and ooh la lah ish. But – here’s the BUT — when he hitch-hiked to California with a person of the female gender, a very major disagreement occurred. Once they got to California he called to tell me they’d taken their friendship to another level. Our roads diverged.

To be fair, we’d discussed open relationships as part of the ‘sexual revolution’ we were part of in the ‘60’s. We were living together, and not married. But theory and reality can be two different things. As a couple, you have to figure out how you’re going to bridge the gap between good intentions and what IS.

When he got back to Michigan, Larry and I talked. We listened. Cried. Positioned. We never blamed though, and our conversations focused on “we” instead of only him, or only me. We did walk away from each other, but agreed to always walk back in. We never screamed at each other but did our best to understand what was happening. 

We had to pick our battles very carefully. It turned out we didn’t have many battles to pick!

And so it went. We stayed together a few more years. Then I was the one who traveled. I came back changed and couldn’t keep on the way I had when I’d left. Our roads diverged. 

People change over time. We have to. Not always in this very loaded manner, but you want to set ground rules that you do your best to stick to.

Have you felt like you’ve walked on a tightrope in your relationship?

I used to say in my marriage ceremonies that being in love is like being a tightrope walker. A successful walker lets his or her weight shift back and forth in order to keep balance. If the person held on to the wire, they’d fall. Love and marriage means letting yourselves shift back and forth, finding new equilibrium, new wonders, new challenges with each other. 

New ways to pick your battles but most importantly how you work through them.

If you’d like to learn more about communicating in marriage, I recommend anything by Harville Hendrix (Getting the Love You Want) and here’s a blog that is one of many useful pieces of content on the internet: Marriage Communication: 3 Common Mistakes and How To Fix Them

You can’t always pick your battles. Things come up and things come out. You will find your way in and out of them. But don’t give up communicating. Whatever style of communication you pick, pick a method, and let it take you through the battles of love and happiness.

pick your battles

Rev Crystal of Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants

Namaste, Rev. Crystal

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