“Do you fight??” a common question curious people ask us. Then we answer, “not really.” I look at them and see their strange faces, not believing the status of our ‘fights.’ Then, they repeat and emphasize the question, “seriously?!” I look at them and respond, “well, no talaga eh.” Now it’s your turn not believing me. :p
Fine, fine, fine. I admit it. A relationship of 2 years without fighting sounds like a fairy tale. I guess I count our so-called “fights” as honest confrontations to become better as a couple. Seriously speaking, we don’t really fight like cats and dogs. We just talk it out. And because of that, I’m convicted to share with you our fight a few weeks ago.
One evening, O and I attended an adult birthday party at a clubhouse. Randomly, I felt like changing the style of my hair. Half ponytail instead of my usual hairdo, straight hair down. Fixed my brows and colored my lips bloody red (my go-to lip color). I wore a preppy dress from Plains & Prints and high wedges to match the dress. For me, I didn’t feel I exerted so much effort in dressing up. I just wanted to dress up.
Now we fast forward to the party. While eating lechon on our plates, O looked at me, chuckled while saying, “Bakit ang ayos mo today?” I looked back at him and reacted with a snobbish look. Then he asked again, with a teasing and giggling tone, “Bakit ang ayos mo today?” “Bakit ang ganda mo?” (Why do you look pretty?)
There’s nothing wrong with what he said. It was probably my sensitivity to tones that pressed the ‘wrong impression button.’ From the tones he used, I didn’t feel the sincerity. Instead, I received his question as insulting especially with his chuckling while pronouncing each word. It also sounded like a joke remark from him. I ended up not respecting him the entire night by not conversing with him properly and choosing to be silent.
Until on our way home, we had the chance to talk to explain our actions.
“Before expressing myself to Jill, I carefully thought of the words I should use to compliment her. Just to brief you with my background, I grew up in a culture where words isn’t the means to show love nor appreciate a person. I wasn’t used to complimenting people too. That’s where I’m coming from. Since I saw Jill’s effort in dressing up, I noticed and thought of complimenting her. However, I didn’t expect that my simple but well-thought compliment would be an issue. Even if my tone sounded negative for her or giggled while saying it, deep inside I was sincere. I really thought what I said was good enough.”
I began to explain how sensitive I was with the kind of tone he used. A tone that wasn’t sincere at all. The simple issue added to the fact that he doesn’t compliment me that much. So then, my talkative mouth brought out unimportant issues about not receiving flattering words from him. Oh boy, I didn’t shout at him but I know I sounded awful that night! I know he wasn’t pleased with my tough words. Well, I wasn’t demanding for him to praise me each time he sees me but simple words to appreciate, without the insulting tone, encourages me as a woman.
How we resolved our conflict?
After saying our piece, we both concluded that nothing we said was the main issue. It’s not about the tone nor words he used, my demands for appreciation, etc.
O reminded me that he dresses up not to impress anyone else but simply for me. (That’s too sweet!) In the same way as he helps me with taking photos, drive me to my meetings and even write love letters for me, which is not his strongest point. I learned from our conversation that he does all those acts of love without expecting anything in return. He doesn’t expect me to give him the favor just because he deserves it. “I do those things because I find it fulfilling to give love through our top love languages – time and service,” says O.
Hearing his wisdom, I was humbled by my negative reaction towards him. I was convicted that I was Ms. Demanding that evening. Plus, I was expecting more from him. Therefore ladies and gents, demands towards your partner should be out of the love story. It kills! 🙁
We agreed to set a mindset of loving each other with zero expectations. This kind of mindset saves us from frustration and necessary demands since our eyes are focused on giving unconditional love. It is not all about pointing to our needs. In the first place, the love we are demanding can only be satisfied by the love of God. O and I acknowledge that being deeply in love with God should be the top priority. As we get closer to Him, understand what real love is, we are able to generously love each other without limits or a checklist of demands.
Similar to the grace of God in our lives. Grace is something we don’t deserve yet God freely gave us His precious gift despite our sinful hearts. Jesus Christ is our only role model in loving. We may be inspired by Christian couples around us but our standards are set on following how Jesus demonstrated real love. From our ‘fight,’ we harmoniously concluded that we should love one another selflessly and find joy in loving without expecting.
Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout