No matter how happily married, or how many ever-afters they’ve been married, all couples fight.
I can already hear some of your horrified reactions, “OH, NO! We don’t fight!”
(These models are highly experienced and well-trained. Do not try this at home.
No spouses were harmed in the photo op.)
I’m not talking about fist fighting. I’m not talking about yelling. I’m not talking about abusive behavior. I’m simply talking about two people with opposite ideas coming to a mutual agreement.
Some don’t want to associate their marital behavior with the above behavior, so use softer, kinder words like disagree or argue. There are also the couples who never fully speak their minds to solve an issue so they bicker. Constantly. Staring at them in disbelief at the grocery store is like watching a tennis match played on a three feet long court. You’re gunna’ get whiplash.
But a couple that claims “we never fight” is using poetic license to cover the fact that they, like every other couple, have moments where they hold extremely opposite views and need resolution. They reserve the right to call it what they want.
My husband and I don’t fight….just checking to see if you’re listening….about big issues. We were drawn together by like spiritual beliefs and life goals and just celebrated our 27th anniversary. But an issue of any size can affect your happily-ever-after if you let it.
I often jest with my husband, “If you would just apologize as soon as I get angry, we would never fight.”
Since we do fight, we’ve come up with ways to keep it fair and clean. Our goal is always to strengthen our marriage, not to weaken it with unresolved issues.
RULES FOR FIGHTING
1. If you can’t kiss goodnight because you don’t want to, the night isn’t over. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. It’s better to lose a little sleep than to start a new day with an old problem.
2. Have the same goal in fighting.The goal isn’t for an individual to win, because you are on the same side. You are not fighting against each other, you are fighting for your marriage. Your goal is to make the marriage a place of contentment, acceptance, unity, love and respect
3. Pray about the issue three times before you bring it before your spouse. “Three strikes ‘yer out” isn’t just for baseball. The more you pray, the less likely the offense will remain an issue. It might be prayed out of the ballpark as your heart changes.
4. Nobody is perfect, so allow imperfections. I’ve been driving for over 30 years, but still forget to check my gas gauge. My husband admits to practicing “selective listening” on a regular basis. He reminds me to put gas in the tank, I remind him to listen. Then he reminds me to use my telephone voice when I remind him to listen/
5. If your children aren’t allowed to behave in a certain way, neither are you. No name calling or making fun of the other person. If you do, give yourself a time-out. If that doesn’t work, ground yourself from the Internet until you can be nice.
6. Fight the present battle by sticking to the topic. Don’t bring up past battles.
7. Error on good intent. You can’t judge motive, so let the other person supply their own motive. This is the person you love, assume the best.
8. Know your battle plan. Squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle doesn’t constitute a fight. Neither does throwing a bath towel on the floor. Irritation with minor things might indicate a larger issue you’ve been unwilling to address. Use respectful conversation and honest questions to get past the minor skirmishes and into the real fray.
9. Don’t show battle scars to others unless by mutual consent and for a good purpose. You might want to write a blog someday about how to fight, then you agree about what you want to reveal. Telling too much too soon can damage your marriage. Sharing battle strategy might help strengthen other marriages.
10. Finish the fight with forgiveness.
Each must say:
“I’m sorry for _______________, will you please forgive me?”
“Yes, I forgive you for _________________________.”
An inability to apologize or to forgive indicates the fight is not over.
The kiss challenge from #1 is another test. If you failed both tests, keep fighting discussing. Remember to use your telephone voices and the behavior you expect from your children.
Since we all fight, we gotta’ fight right.