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It’s the first Saturday in months that I’m not either working or traveling. It’s a really cold DC afternoon, I’m home alone, and in a state of bliss. Writing, with various sappy romantic movies playing for background noise (and a little inspiration—in writing and life, but that’s another blog post—or maybe it’s this one).

All of a sudden I’m jolted from my welcome solitude by banging and screaming. At first, I think it’s just a few kids running down the hallway of my apartment building since it’s so chilly outside, but then I realize it’s adults and the screams are escalating and the slamming and banging sounds uncomfortably close.

As I approach the door to peer through the peephole I realize an all too familiar sound: that of a couple fighting. It’s the second time in less than a year that I’ve had the unfortunate experience of overhearing such emotionally charged chaos. I mute the TV and stand frozen for a moment. I don’t see anything, I just hear it all unfolding, above me, next door to me, I’m not quite sure where, but it’s bad.

The woman is shrill and her voice carries. There’s tumbling and tussling. The walls shake. The last time I heard this sound my cousin and I were in a hotel room in the Bahamas celebrating my sister’s 30th birthday. That time, as in the current time, I was frozen with fear. In that instance, the man’s voice was booming and we knew we had to call hotel security when we heard him punch the wall, and shatter the bathroom mirror. [Amazingly enough, or not so amazingly, that couple emerged a few short hours later in the resort’s basement disco…they looked like they’d gone through hell but didn’t want to waste their vacation dollars.]

Ironically, or not so ironically, right before the most recent fight erupted, I was thinking about love and relationships. I was writing about hearts and sex and mutual affection. Flowers, and puppies and unicorns and sh*t.

Love, it’s what we all want and crave and need to sustain us, right?

Coupledom and romantic love, specifically. It’s what we feel will further complete our adult lives. There’s a reality that maybe we don’t focus on as much, and these recent arguments (which unfortunately had a violent component) really crystallized that for me.

Loving another comes with inevitable disagreement and disappointment. No matter how it is handled, and hopefully, not with screaming and tussling, there will be times when partners will disagree and even argue.

I think we all know this in the back of our minds. For love to flourish we must be willing to sacrifice and be selfless and most importantly communicate, which includes LISTENING. I tend to avoid conflict at all costs. Honestly, I’d rather cut a relationship than have contention…it’s admittedly somewhat cowardly, but I’m just not confrontational.

Arguing is exhausting and I hate it.

Nonetheless, I have to ask myself, while I’m preparing for the arrival of my Him, ready to greet Him lovingly, make mad passionate love, sing songs, dance and read sonnets to one another, am I preparing myself to properly handle the disagreements that are sure to accompany the good times? Have I learned the lessons of conflict resolution that may have helped keep one of my prior relationships from ending? Am I ready to fight…fairly? Ha, am I ready to concede when I’m, and this happens only so often, gasp, wrong?!?

My sister and I are two only children (confused?). Well, she was born when I was 12 and I left home when she was six. While growing up we didn’t share clothes or toys or boys or much of anything for that matter. We don’t necessarily share well now, I’ll speak for myself, I don’t necessarily share well, and the longer that I am single, I am sure the more set in my ways I am becoming.

I know intellectually that my dude and I won’t agree on everything, but I wonder how many of us realistically anticipate the fact that the scripts we run in our head for how a conversation or relationship will play out most assuredly do not play out as we imagine. That’s pretty much the point, the scripts and our romantic notions don’t play out exactly as planned because we’re individuals in a relationship. We each have our own thoughts and baggage and way of seeing the world, and paint colors, furniture choices and child discipline morés.

So, I guess this post is just a subtle reminder to you, after my own not-so-subtle reminder thanks to the neighbors, that while we’re preparing for our mate’s arrival–or if that mate is already in your life, don’t forget to prepare our hearts to be forgiving and to listen and to do what it takes to jump the disagreement hurdles that are sure to come once we are in a relationship.

I’m a work in progress, but believe I’m ready for love and disagreements and the messiness of being in love and loving with respect…how about you?

Michelle Y. Talbert

Michelle is obsessed with relationships in love and business. How people interact fascinates and perplexes her. She’s a twice-divorced mom, attorney, author and producer/co-host of the popular podcast, ‘They Met Online…,’hosted by Michelle and her ex, Ricardo Kingsbury (who she met online). Michelle helps women enjoy their dating lives,  wherever they are along their romance journey. She believes we’re all sexy and fierce and just need a reminder from time to time to werk it!

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