Before a boxing match, the referee will declare “let’s have a clean fight.” There are rules to fighting in the ring, but some fights between husbands and wives can get bloody. It doesn’t matter how much we love each other, there will come a time we will not agree or feelings will be hurt. We may all know couples that have said horrible things to each other in the heat of the argument or you may have said terrible things (no judgments), but does it accomplish what we want? At the end, we want to be heard, or respected, or for our feelings to be recognized. You may have delivered the death blow, but does it leave you and your spouse feeling good? Communication is important in a marriage, even when we are mad and hurt.
The following are some tried and true ways to fight fair with your spouse:
If something has got you upset, do not hop on him as soon as he gets home from work. Pick a time that you can fully discuss without being disrupted or having to rush to the next event. Also, be mindful of your children. Is it a conversation that they need to hear or overhear?
It’s not court!
You’re not making a case, so don’t bring up past crimes. This is not going help you resolve present issues. It may even make your spouse defensive and then they bring up your sins, and then you just end up going around and around. Stick to the current issue and what needs to be settled today.
My mother used to say, “you can’t have your way all the time.” It’s never truer than in marriage. So, learn to compromise. Sometimes letting go can allow some thing to flow in.
No Name Calling
Saying, “You low down, dirty dog” has never laid to a peaceful resolution in a fight. Saying, “You and your whole family is trifling” never ends well. These are hurtful statements that are hard to forget and can be hard to forgive. It leaves you with not only an issue but an issue with a side order or resentment.
Listen for the underline need
If your spouse is mad, ask yourself “what is my partner really hurting over ?” Take your feeling out of it and ask what boundary have I crossed them? What do they need from me?
Keep it private
Do not invite your relatives, friends, etc to assist. The truth is that if you are upset, then you will eventually get over it. However, your loved ones will not get over it so easily. Their suggestions or “helpful” comments, can make a bad situation worst.
Use ‘I’ statements
Do not start with what the other person has done wrong, but begin with how it makes you feel. Incorrect: ‘You only think of yourself, when…” Correct: “I feel hurt when you….”
If you know that if you say too much when you are angry, then don’t fight if you feel too mad. If you can’t express yourself well when you are mad, then get your thoughts together or rehearse what you would like to say.
Remember this is the person that you love.