I read the other day that the fear of a marriage should not be “what if we fight?” but HOW do we fight when we fight? The latter is really the thing to be active about!
It is inevitable that marriages will be tested (because they’re made up of people) and it’s inevitable that things will fluctuate (because, you know, they’re made up of people).
My husband and I have definitely had our share of fighting, but, I am happy to say (that at least for today) that it’s something we’ve really improved on!
Here are five ways that we are able to (on our good days) fight fair:
1) This one seems really basic. Maybe it doesn’t apply to you, but I’ve seen MANY couples tempted (and fall) into this (including premarital us). It’s just not productive. If either of you has had even ONE SIP of alcohol, don’t go there. Just don’t. Wait. You know your spouse’s “fightin’ words” … avoid them now.
2) Make time to fight. When you’re a married couple, especially with young children, time is fleeting. The time to bring up a controversy is not on the way out the door to pre-school in the morning in the drive-way in that 60 seconds. Say, “let’s talk about this later,” and then (here’s the key) DO IT. After all the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, bellies are full, sit on the couch (or the table or wherever) and ACTUALLY address whatever happened that morning. The Bible says that we should never go to bed angry, but, putting things on hold, especially “hot topic issues” until you can both give the discussion appropriate time is critical.
3) FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TEXT IT. For relationships that matter (your marriage should be one of them) please leave texting out of your quarrels. It’s just bad news. Emoticons are not actual modes of emotional transportation. This joins with tip number 2…if you’re texting, you don’t have appropriate amounts of time to discuss. And please, please, please text messages are supposed to be brief. If you’re texting more than 2-3 sentences on a topic, it means that conversation should probably be in person. If you find yourself “getting something off your chest” to your spouse and you cross that 2-3 sentences, put enough faith in your spouse that this would be something he/she would WANT to talk to you about in person. Texting your spouse is for “hey I’m gonna be 5 min late” and “grab milk and chocolate…but not in that order” and “date night fri? ;)”
4) Fight about the fight. This is something we’re still working on (especially when I’m pregnant). Sometimes when we fight about my husband not doing the dishes to my standards I’m really upset about the dishes not being done to my standards and sometimes I’m “fighting” (i.e. poorly communicating) about the fact that I’m exhausted. Do not confuse the two! If the dishes discussion needs to happen, because dishes cleanliness is one of your love languages (like it is one of mine), yes, have that conversation, but don’t have it instead of having the conversation “Babe, I am just dying of exhaustion. If I look at a dish today I’ll die.” In my experience, when I reach out to my husband and say the LATTER, he’ll say something like “So … don’t do the dishes …” BOOM. Fight over. Hello handsome pizza guy! (tip for the singles: guys holding bread with bubbling cheese are always more attractive).
5) Last, but not least: “Fight Fair.” No name calling. No past bringing upping. No “IF YOU LOVED ME” (what does that even mean?)! I’m not going to say much more on this because this should becoming more and more intuitive as a spouse as you grow. If you need to grow in this area, I recommend going through some great marriage resources that can help you heal those hurts. (ask me if you’re interested)
So, there you go, five of the ways that (again, on our good days) we try and “fight fair.”
Keeping copious amounts of chocolate in the house also does wonders with sleep deprived mommies (oh, and bringing unannounced mochas…anytime of day or night is fine, we’re up).
Now get out there and fight WELL with your spouse!