How The Tables Were Turned
“I’m the denier.
I’d been dating this girl for 6 months, and it was going pretty well. We hardly ever fought, but when we did it was hard for us to get back to normal.
At a good point she said: ‘I feel like I should pop the question.’ I have absolutely no poker face, and she instantly saw that I wasn’t on board. As a child of the ’80s, ALL of my friends had parents who’d divorced, and I’d made an oath to myself that I was just going to be married once. I liked this girl a lot, but I wasn’t convinced yet that what we had was going to last forever.
So, we stayed together, went to couples counseling, and learned how to fight. It sounds strange, but I can’t tell you how effective it was. We learned that my conflict pattern is to constantly work on a problem until it’s solved, where her pattern is to blow off steam over time. The result was that I would keep conversations going when we fought, and would basically chase her around keeping her mad and blocking her attempts at breaking off to cool down. I learned to just let her be mad, and check back in later, and she learned to say ‘I just need to be by myself for a bit.’ It worked.
Our ‘good relationship with rough fights’ turned into ‘great relationship with mature, low drama fights.’ Conflicts that used to hang a dark cloud over the house for days were now resolved in hours. At that point, I felt comfortable enough to say yes to a year long engagement.
And we’ve now been married 18 years, have supported each other through thick and thin, and are raising two awesome kids.
The ONLY regret I have is that we ended up without a proposal story, as it was effectively negotiated over time. I did get on my knee and present a ring at a fancy dinner, but even then it was a ring we’d picked out together, as she was a jewelry smith”