Did you know there are couples out there that don’t fight? I’m telling you, it’s possible. Now, don’t think my marriage is perfect, but my husband and I for real do not fight! We do have disagreements that we talk about and our marriage gets stronger because of them.
What I’ve noticed is that when a lot of couples disagree, it’s because they feel hurt and they’re trying to get back at their spouse for causing them pain. Does that sound familiar to you?
Imagine if a young kid got a toy taken away by another kid, would you encourage them to get the other kid back by doing the same thing or worse? Of course not, right? So then, why do people go the petty route instead of actually being real with themselves about why they feel hurt and then find a solution together?
Because it’s hard. It’s painful. We live in a society where they say strong is putting up a front that nothing affects us. But is that really true? Is it strength to bury everything and live with the unresolved pain? Is it something to be proud of that you’d rather be in denial than face your fears? That’s what it really is. Fear. Fear of feeling unlovable and disconnected from people.
So, what’s the truth? Take an honest look at how you behave in a disagreement. You yell, you give the silent treatment, or maybe you leave. Do you think that’s fighting fair? If the answer is no, you should pat yourself on the back for having the guts to admit it. Self awareness is paramount to building a strong marriage.
Let’s look at it another way… if you’re in an argument, how well do you think you’re both listening if the two of you are just trying to defend yourselves? That’s like a game of jousting. Both of you riding towards each other with your armor on and weapons out ready to make the first hit. Is this the visual you want for your marriage?
Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of doing this and sometimes, depending on how much sleep I’ve gotten or how stressed I am, I still do it! But let me share a concept that has changed how I “fight”.
Yup. You read that right. No matter how much you think the other person is in the wrong, try to listen to their side as if you were a friend. I mean...you two are friends right? At least, you should be! At the bare minimum, you should be able to respect your partner like a friend. In fact, this practice extends to ALL conflict you may run into with anyone in your life.
The funny thing about arguments is that most of the time it’s not even about the situation at hand. Nope. It is most likely the situation triggering a deeply rooted, unresolved issue. The situation is reminding us how much we were hurt when something similar or seemingly similar happened to us. When this happens to us, what do we crave the most?
Empathy. Connection. Acceptance. Love.
Keeping all of this in mind, the best solution is to acknowledge. When the other person feels heard, they tend to feel like the disagreement becomes less of a battlefield and more of a problem that can be solved between two reasonable people (that’s you!). As long as both of you are being constructively honest with each other (and yourselves), what you end up with is usually a productive conversation. Who has time to fight just to fight anyway? I sure don’t! I want a healthy marriage based on vulnerability and love! I want a marriage that demonstrates to my kids what they should set their standards to. What do you want your marriage to be based on?
I challenge you to keep this practice in mind the next time you feel like you’re in a disagreement and see what happens! Nothing changes if nothing changes!
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