I've decided that pain is a good thing. In our bodies, pain is an indicator of a problem that needs to be addressed. Without the pain, we don't know anything is wrong. Without knowing the problem, we are likely to keep on ignoring it -and it's likely to get worse. Sometimes much worse.
8 years ago, Ricky had a stomach pain that he couldn't ignore. We thought he might have an ulcer or something of that sort - so after several days he finally went to the emergency clinic to have it checked out. They also thought it was an ulcer - but since he hadn't been to the doctor in so long they went ahead and did a blood test. They called him later that day to tell him to run to the emergency room b/c he most likely had leukemia. Crazy, right?! If it weren't for the stomach pain (which turned out to have nothing at all to do with the leukemia, and also went away immediately after seeing the doctor) he wouldn't have found out about the leukemia - until probably much later. If he hadn't found out as early as he did, his prognosis probably would have been much worse. See, pain is a good thing.
I think the same is true in our relationships. I think conflict and difficulty are important to the maturing of the relationship. Like muscles, they have to be put under strain in order to grow stronger. In a weird way, I'm grateful for all the fights, hard times and sad times we've gone through as a couple. Each year we grow stronger. Each year we become more solid. Every couple goes through hard stuff. It's how you react to the hard stuff that determines the outcome.