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So, how do we Fight Argue Debate Have a Heated Discussion Find Ourselves at Odds with our mate, without one or both of us getting so beat up we throw in the towel?

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We hadn’t been home a full 24 hours after our trip, and already we were at it again.

*#&@*%!@

(Translation: It makes me so mad, if I were a cussin’ man, I’d cuss.)

And that’s right. Again.

After living in the desert metropolis a few years, the Preacher and I stood at the buffet counter with another couple after church. The four of us were close, and the wife felt comfortable enough to ask: Do you two fight very much?

We “two” looked at each other, sort of grinned, and then answered in unison, Not until we moved here.

That was almost 15 years ago. And we’re still fighting.

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Okay—not all the time. Not even most of the time. It comes in waves and sometimes spurts… But there are periods when it seems to come way too much and way too often. In between the other times when we’re not conversing about anything of any consequence… just breathing and living and working within the same house, lost in our own subterranean thoughts and giving each other necessary space to take care of his/her responsibilities…

And in between the other times when we’re in sync—when we’re closer than ever and life couldn’t be better.

It was almost 9 p.m. and the Preacher and I were finishing dinner. Finally. I had started fixing dinner before 6 p.m., after our walk—the same walk where he left me in the dust, because I wasn’t making small talk. I thought he knew why. But… four hours later, I realized he didn’t.

We’ve known each other three and-a-half decades… been sharing the same address and bedroom and bathroom and kitchen and all the other rooms in all the houses we’ve lived while traversing the American Southwest (with a couple side trips to the Midwest and the Northwest). That’s a LONG time to spend together as husband and wife. It’s plenty LONG enough to learn how to communicate, ya think?!?!

When we aren’t communicating well, it isn’t something we can simply ignore and hope will go away. And it isn’t something we can give up on. Every time we fight argue debate have a heated discussion find ourselves at odds, we are fully aware that our family, our ministry, our very livelihood hangs on the outcome of however we choose to handle the current misunderstanding.

Yeah. A ton of pressure.

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But honestly, isn’t that how life is in a lot of areas? Sometimes everything clicks. Other times nothing clicks. Even the best of friends go through periods when their relationship is less-than-exciting or really difficult. And it’s okay, even normal.

The Preacher and I are still growing, still determined to survive the deep and wild and ever-changing sea of matrimony. While elements clash, when conflict results, as storms come… and storms will come when two living beings rub against each other on a regular basis… we don’t walk away from responsibility, from commitment… we handle the conflicts and keep a tight hold in the storms.

Whatever the difficulty is, we’ve discovered if we’re smart, we’ll find the way for both of us to win. And when the storm passes, we’re stronger for it.

Life is more complicated than it once was, entirely more stressful than when our parents and grandparents were raising their families. And when pressure increases, we’re affected by it in ways we don’t even realize, contributing to the misunderstandings and miscommunication.

We’re two sinners who said I Do.

Looking through our wedding pictures, it’s apparent how far we’ve come, how the joining of two lives has increased our opportunities and blessings many times over.

A fight with the Preacher isn’t the end of the world… it just means we’ve still got a few more things to learn.

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