Birthdays. Anniversaries. Valentine’s Day. There are certain things that, when forgotten, land us in the metaphorical dog house for a long time to come. But are there times when forgetting can actually strengthen our relationships?
Thefrisky.com recently addressed this theory; that we need to learn to let things go and forgive and forget in order to make our relationships work. What the article failed to address was when we should practice amnesia and when it may actually be wiser to stand our ground. Holding a grudge over accidentally erasing our favorite show from the DVR before we get a chance to watch it probably isn’t worth the energy. And certainly isn’t worth driving away an otherwise positive relationship. But if that’s the biggest problem in your relationship, then I’m guessing you have a pretty good handle on what it takes to make your relationship flourish and you don’t need articles like this anyway.
What about the relationships that are facing bigger obstacles, though? Women, in particular, are often groomed to avoid confrontation and to make peace instead of waves. For generations, women were raised to make others happy, putting their own needs second to the needs of the men in their lives. Should we forgive and forget when someone is disrespectful or abusive? Too many women, and some men for that matter, do just that. The truth is, sometimes forgiving and forgetting is the worst decision we can make.
There are issues that can drive a permanent wedge between couples, even when they aren’t as serious as an abusive relationship. Whether it’s not helping out enough around the house, being irresponsible with or deceitful about money or just not listening enough, sometimes we need to air out our grievances before they start to rot our relationships at the core. If communication is essential to a successful relationship, why would it make sense to sweep things under the metaphorical rug?
It stands true that there is little room in relationships for lists; when we hold on to every tiny little transgression and count them off on our fingertips during a fight over something completely irrelevant. And as you’re sitting there smiling, thinking “I know a girl who does that!”, it’s time to admit that we’ve ALL done that at some point. This is where letting go comes into play. Once an issue has been addressed, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and focus solely on the issue at hand. For that matter, when the issue is a mole hill, perhaps we don’t need a bazooka to attack it. When we go into a situation with too much force, the opposing party has no choice but to be on the defensive. And that opposing party is supposed to be someone we love and care about. Isn’t the point to be heard and to work through our problems? That can’t happen when someone is too busy trying to fend off the other person’s blows.
At the end of the day, we need to learn how to pick and choose our battles. And to pick the right weapon for the battles we decide to enter. Sometimes, it’s okay to give up the fight, even when we’re right. Relationships aren’t about who wins or loses after all and, if we aren’t willing to bend sometimes, we’re all going to lose in the end. People fight. Especially when they care about each other. The object is to come out of it with the least amount of necessary damage control and to be a little bit better off than we were before. If the only thing we stand to gain from a disagreement is the bragging rights that we won, that win may not be worth the cost. Sometimes we need to just take a deep breath, accept that no one is perfect and save our energy for when it truly matters. We just have to make sure not to compromise ourselves when we’re compromising.
(For those who need reminding, this Tuesday is Valentine’s Day! Try not to forget!)
“Now everyday ain’t gonna be no picnic Love ain’t no walk in the park All you can do is make the best of it now … We gotta fight for this love” ~ Cheryl Cole, Fight for this Love