Fighting Fair: The Rules of Engagement for Love and War 4 rules to follow to work through marital conflicts in the best possible way. BY DESIREE S. COLEMAN
Fighting will happen in your marriage, but keeping things clean will help you move on and forward in your marriage.
“ Rather than compound the issue with hurtful words that canít be retracted, know when you are reaching a breaking point and take a breather so things donít get ugly.”
On your wedding day, you probably dreamed of sun-filled years of happiness, laughter and sheer delight. However, conflict in marriage happens, so when the metaphorical "boxing gloves" come on and youíre fighting with your spouse it's important to keep it clean.
Fighting fair is about respecting your spouse, even in moments of disagreement. Arguments are not justifications to be mean, say whatever you want or drudge up the past with your spouse. Fighting fair is about getting your point across, but doing it in a way thatís not hurtful. Here are four steps to help you fight fair and resolve conflict effectively:
1. No punches below the belt. There are things that you know about your spouse that no one else knows. You know their deepest, darkest secrets and most sensitive vulnerabilities. Thatís a sacred trust and a fight is not the time to throw those things in your spouseís face. At some point, you and your spouse should agree that during a disagreement, neither party will bring up things that are intentionally hurtful. Things like childhood abuse, an embarrassing mistake or areas of extreme insecurity should be off limits during arguments and never used as leverage. Agreeing on this rule will foster a baseline of respect between you and your spouse.
2. Keep it clean, no rabbit punches. During disagreements, keep the conversation focused on the issue at hand. Donít take personal jabs at your spouse by bringing up the fact that he never takes out the trash or the fact that she is always shopping. If those topics are not germane to the fight, donít bring them up. Keeping on point creates enhanced communication and understanding for the issues.
3. When things escalate retreat to your corner. During a heated debate, when you feel pushed to your limits and on the verge of lashing out, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a break, cool off and "retreat to your corner." Rather than compound the issue with hurtful words that canít be retracted, know when you are reaching a breaking point and take a breather so things donít get ugly. Retreating allows you to maintain the love shared, even in times of intense disagreement.
4. Remember, this is your spouse, not your opponent. Tempers have flared, boxing gloves have appeared, and the fight has ensued. Itís over, so now what? Once the fight is over, itís over. So, shake hands and call it quits. Remember, this is the person you pledged to love. Donít hold grudges or walk around in silence to punish your spouse. Make up quickly because will help foster forgiveness and reconciliation in your marriage.
Disagreements in marriage can be challenging, but if you and your spouse agree to the four principles of fighting fair, youíll maintain respect, love and forgiveness, which are essential for strong marriages. Youíll also learn how to resolve conflict effectively; and thatís a knock out!
Desiree S. Coleman is a blogger and freelance writer who inspires healthy, whole relationships. Her blog "The Love Journey" (www.thelovejourney.com) offers useful tips for singles, as well as, fresh and fun insights on marriage and relationships.