If You’re Going to Fight, ‘Fight Right’

I read a recent poll of more than 3,000 couples that said couples argue seven times a day on average, for about 2,500 arguments each year!

I smiled and grimaced at the same time as I thought of Vanessa and me. We have been married for 25 years! So if we are “typical,” that makes for…a lot of arguing! (61,000-plus? Lord, I hope not!)

I don’t know about those numbers, but what I do know is that disagreements in marriage are inevitable, and talking them through is essential. Couples arguing is a healthy component of a growing, mature relationship. When you reach the point where you don’t care to hash it out any more - that can be more concerning! I still remember a dear friend telling me years ago that he and his wife never argued. I was so saddened a few years later when their divorce was final.

It’s a well-worn cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true: we can disagree without being disagreeable.

Putting two people together, each bringing their own “stuff” to the table, means that fights will happen. Each individual brings “his and hers,” their own personalities, life experiences, and other factors that have shaped them into who they are. Our interpretations of experiences and events don’t always jibe and line up - even how we see the very same event. That doesn’t necessarily mean that either party is wrong!

But if you’re going to fight, “fight right.”

In our early years, I regret to say that arguments led me to retreating inward, to sulking, to being quiet. Vanessa on the other hand was often quick and willing to move past the kerfuffle and move on. I’m thankful today for the godly grace she afforded me all those yesterdays ago.

We are both Type A personalities who know what we want. Hers is more extroverted than mine, but don’t mistake a quieter personality (depending on the circumstances) for one that is less confident or certain of what he or she wants. That would be a mistake.

We have learned a few rules of the relationship road when it comes to fussin’ and cussin,’ and we would like to share those with you:

1. No Cussin!’ Be Careful in What You Say and How You Say It

Emotions can boil over quickly so practice your breathing - literally! Take a deep breath and give a thoughtful, measured response rather than sounding off or responding with a blast! Never resort to name-calling or insults. This is your spouse - someone you should treasure!

"Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." That old saying was dead wrong - words can and do hurt. Choose your words wisely.

2. Try and See Things From Your Spouse’s Point of View

I remember the lyrics from an old Don Henley song, Long Way Home.

He sang There's three sides to every story, baby
There's yours and there's mine and the cold, hard truth

The truth is often somewhere in between.

You may be completely justified in your frustration, your anger, your hurt. But it’s still so important to sincerely consider your spouse’s perspective during arguments. Could it be that he/she also has a point? Very often, it’s not black and white - it is shades of gray!

3. Listen With Your Heart as Well As Your Ears

Don’t just talk to be talking, to “get your point across.” LISTEN to what your spouse is saying, and when they are talking, give them the floor without interruption. And put the phone down or turn away from the television or the computer. LOOK at your mate - give your spouse your undivided attention! The objective is resolution, and both sides have something to say. Because at the end of the day, you’re on the same side. There is not one winner and one loser. Either you both win or you both lose.

The divorce courts are littered with so many who might say “I won the battle.” But sadly for them and their families, they lost the war.

There are more relationship rules - but for that, you need to sign up for a JUST US retreat! The link is attached

Please note that settling an argument is sometimes impossible to do in a brief time or in a day. Mutually agree to take a timeout and follow up – but don’t take to long to do so. This also allows emotions to settle and oftentimes reason to return. Aren’t you two worth it?

Back to those startling “fight-game” statistics. So what is all that fighting about anyway? Well, common topics are sex, overspending, not listening, snoring, driving too fast, laziness, and what to eat for dinner. Not saying “I love you” made for 67 arguments a year!

Minor skirmishes included walking past things that need to go upstairs, what to watch on tv, and tracking mud in the house!

Let’s cut to the chase. As long as you always respect your mate and commit to be a good listener, you are taking the high road. That’s the best road to a great relationship!

Here are some famous words that has been a sobering compass for Vanessa and me. Put these two verses into your spirit and into practice and you will not go wrong:

From the Word of God, James 1:19 says:

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”

And Ephesians 4:32 says:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

We cannot take back harsh, angry words and exchanges - once they’re out there, they’re out there. Pause for a moment and think before you speak. Take two moments if you must! But if you’re going to fight – and you will – fight right!

And in the meantime, don’t forget to say “I love you,” pay attention, and give good hugs. Initiate those meaningful actions – it’s totally okay to blow their minds! Just remember - love reciprocates! 😊

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