The life of a marriage… this one being US journalists in Baghdad

I am an absolute fiend for real-life stories from people’s relationships and marriages. I crave for people to open themselves to the world while keeping private the things that they need to keep private. I feel like we can learn about ourselves and grow our own relationships when we hear not only about the glories – but also the challenges - of other people’s relationships and tries at love. Here, in this New York Times article about American journalists working in Iraq, is an interesting look at the ups and downs of such a marriage. The author is Damien Cave.

One such quote:

"Repeatedly, we found that frustrations with each other, which we ignored in Iraq, would suddenly spill over into arguments while on break. We had our most dramatic fight over the summer in San Sebastián, Spain, about French fries that I had ordered and she did not want. It was a silly example of miscommunication that turned into a two-hour shouting match that spread from the restaurant to the boardwalk and back to our hotel room."

Most of who who have been in relationships long enough (6 months?) to get past the initial honeymoon phase have had fights like this one over misplaced keys, driving directions, where to eat dinner, or groceries. The fights – if your relationship is going well for the most part – are things you can laugh about later on. If you’ve been ignoring or miscommunicating over a period of time, without cleaning up after yourselves, then these are the fights that can – seemingly out of nowhere – trigger the end of things. In the movie The Break-Up, the end of their relationship, if you want to get technical, began with a fight about the lemons. The relationship, of course, ended not because of lemons… but because of an inability to talk about things in a way that mattered and made sense and communicated love – even amidst disagreement – to each other.

To learn more about things you can do to enhance your relationship, check out The Relationship Cure or The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.

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About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at