How to Fight in a Marriage – Tips for Married Couples

How to Fight in a Marriage – Tips for Married Couples

Being married isn’t easy. Hell, being in any relationship isn’t easy. Learning to understand how your spouse was brought up, what their values and beliefs are, and what their likes and dislikes are can truly test any couple. Trust in that my wife and I are no different than any other couple out there. We have our amazing and fun moments, but we also have times that we may disagree on things (my nice way of saying we fight like everyone else). I mean there’s a reason why the divorce rate has skyrocketed pass 50%. But what we’ve learned is that fighting in a relationship is not the big problem, it’s HOW you fight with your spouse that’s the real issue. It’s inevitable that a couple may encounter disagreements, especially in the stages of really getting to know each other. But a couple must remember to fight fair and to fight with love instead of anger.

John Gottman’s research shows arguments and perpetual issues are healthy in committed relationships as long as couples know how to resolve difficulties as they arise. If you are authentic and honest, you will disagree with your partner, get hurt and be angry at times. Working through hurt and anger are the pathway for true intimacy.

Couples that report high satisfaction in their relationships know how to work with the inevitable ruptures or disagreements that come up from time to time. These couples can find humor in the reoccurring themes of their arguments.

On the other hand, making a wall out of anger leads to distance and contempt. Bad habit fighters rarely feel they have resolution or closeness from conflict. They usually live in a world of emotional bruises that never seem to heal.

Signs of Bad Fighting Habits

Using five or more of these tactics means you are eroding healthy relationships and need to learn the good fight. It’s never too late to learn better communication. Here are the signs:

  • Blaming your partner for their faults
  • Calling your partner names or expletives
  • Lashing out when you are inebriated
  • Cutting your partner off when you are hurt
  • Responding to your partner’s complaints with your own
  • Shouting
  • Threatening to leave the relationship / physical violence
  • Verbally taking low blows and shots at the other person

 

Good fight tactics all involve one premise: being close than right. Unfortunately, most people have been taught they must fight to win. What I’ve learned is that sometimes winning means losing. Winning means you conquered a short term situation with the chance of losing a long term lesson.

Ground Rules

  • Only one person talks at a time
  • Take time out to cool down – it’s healthy and helpful when one person becomes flooded with uncontrollable emotion
  • It’s okay to take a small break, compose yourselves, then come back and speak respectfully to each other
  • Agree on a time to talk and make time for an in-depth discussion
  • Understand the differences presented in the conflict
  • Choose a physical location that protects your privacy and offers an opportunity to express vulnerable emotions
  • Both parties are rested and sober

 

 Signs of a Good Fighter

  • Accountability for behavior
  • Making requests instead of complaints
  • Listening more than speaking
  • Speaking respectfully
  • Dropping one’s ego and pride
  • Willing to reveal fears and vulnerabilities
  • Acknowledging your partner’s point of view

 

The good fight is a fight for love instead of righteousness. What I’m personally learning is that it’s not always a victory when you win a fight. Would you rather win a short term fight but have your spouse be upset or hold resentment in the long term? Is your point to prove a point? To drive home a lesson learned in return for a hurt and defeated spouse? One must remember that every action has a consequence. You may win the fight, prove yourself, but ultimately it’s your spouse and relationship that suffers.

What it truly comes down to is pride and ego for me. Once I let go of my pride, let go of my ego, put myself in my wife’s shoes, I can then better understand where she is coming from. Now trust in that there are times where I think she’s absolutely crazy but I must understand that what she’s fighting for is what she truly believes in. Who am I to force her to believe a different belief or lesson.

Fighting in a relationship is sometimes inevitable. But what couples must realize is HOW you fight is the lesson we must learn. Another lesson that I’m learning is to reach out to friends who you can trust to give honest advice and don’t get upset if they tell you that you’re wrong. Other great sources of knowledge can be your church group, a pastor, or even a relationship therapist. I encourage anyone, yes I’m talking to the guys, to drop your ego and seek help from a therapist if your fighting is getting bad. I have no shame here, I did and that was the best thing that I’ve could’ve done. I even asked for a female so that I could better understand my wife’s mindset and boy was I thinking differently.

In summary, trust in that bringing two lives together is not easy. Relationships and marriages are not easy at times but it’s a matter of how you both resolve conflict. Knowing HOW to fight is the first step to developing a respectful, loving, and mature relationship. It’s not easy but trust in that we’re all in this together!

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