When Alex and I just got married, we both had pretty contradictory views on how marriage (and the consequent political ramifications of being husband and wife) should be. He grew up in a family that was more or less traditional - strong father (husband) figure with a supportive mother (wife); while I grew up with parents who both had strong personalities. One relationship was peaceful and the other, well, was not (Guess which is which - lol).
The only other model of a successful marriage we both were witness to on a regular basis was Dean and Nikki's. One of the more important virtues of their marriage, on the other hand, was the kampi concept, wherein they will always stand up for each other, in whatever circumstance. Because of that (as well as other things, I'm sure; marriage isn't exactly a formula), in their twelve year marriage, they have never (ever) fought.
Since my less peaceful model was outnumbered, Alex and I tried to go for the ideal, peaceful relationship. And failed miserably. Right on the first month, we were already having problems - which, in retrospect, isn't really that surprising since as girlfriend-boyfriend, we had lots of fights, I don't know how I could have thought one ceremony could change that. Needless to say, no matter how hard we tried, we were always ending up having fights usually coinciding with a certain time of the month (yep, I'm stereotypically irritable).
Our efforts were not without some results, though. We developed (well, not really, its been there long before us) a little game wherein if one was almost irritable, say, a five in a scale of one to ten (where 10 would mean that individual will be raring to get into a fight), that person will literally say that he/she has taken hold of the irritable stick, and the other (slower - ha!) individual will have to be patient and back down as much as possible. But, despite this innovation, we were still ending up having fights.
Recently, however, I've begun to realize that I actually enjoy the fights. It's not that I'm a masochist by nature, but when we fight, I see a side of Alex not obviously apparent to other people. Usually, Alex is amiable, nice, quirky and gentle to a point that I sometimes feel he's patronizing me; when we fight, he's aggressive, curt, masculine, and extremely sexy (anyone who has had angry sex and make-up sex will understand what I'm talking about). And at the risk of sounding even more perverted, I actually find myself liking the fact that I'm told I'm wrong. Most of the time, Alex tends to give in to my whims - he's just that kind of guy - but when I get him angry enough, he'll put me in my place and ironically, I feel even more loved.
I discussed this with him a couple of weeks ago and found that he too, enjoys our fights. His enjoyment comes from being able to raise issues he would rather hold back during peaceful times, and with me actually admitting I'm wrong (which rarely happens - ha!). And of course, the angry and make up sex.
With this little bit of epiphany, I've begun to realize that I really don't think I could survive in the peaceful model of my friends and family and neither could I survive in a war-torn marriage. But each couple needs to work out what works best for them.
For us, its all about having the occasional fight before going back to the lovey-dovey cutesy couple that we usually are.