Marriage lesson from one of TV’s best power couples

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I caught up on some recent episodes of The Office this weekend.  If you’ve watched this final season, then you know that Jim’s new business in Philadelphia and the time it requires him to be away from his family is causing stress to their marriage.

In a recent episode, Jim and Pam had planned to spend an evening together, but tension earlier in the day causes Jim to suggest Pam drop him off at the bus station so he can get some work done in Philly instead.  “I just think we’re gonna fight,” he says, “So how about, let’s not.”

It’s a heartbreaking moment for those of us who have followed this couple for nine (!) seasons.  I admit I’ve been less faithful over the past few seasons, but still, I’ve known this couple since my second year in college.

As they’re leaving the office, Pam faces Jim and makes a bold statement: “I don’t think you should go to Philly.  I think we should fight.”

There’s a lesson there.  Marriage expert John Gottman has proved that fighting is not necessarily a sign of a distressed marriage.  Even if it’s unpleasant, fighting means that each person still cares enough to fight.

Fight for your marriage.  Bring up the difficult conversations.  Don’t choose a temporary, insecure peace when your souls are unsettled and you’ve left things unsaid.

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