Thursday, October 31, 2013

Step Twenty-Seven: Learn How to Fight Fairly

This is probably one of the only "secret tricks" to relationships- and you can apply it to more than just your marriage.

Fighting is okay. In fact, fighting is good.

Weird, right?

Fighting is essentially a confrontation of ideas- you believe one way and your opponent believes the other. There's no inherent problem with a difference of opinion. Often times it can strengthen your convictions or open your eyes to other opinions and work on making you a little more humble.

The difference is your technique and presentation. If you come out screaming abuse and obscenities (or comparisons and resentment), I can guarantee your husband is not going to react well. Maybe he gets defensive, maybe he clams up, maybe he walks away from you and maybe he screams back in your face. None of these reactions address the problem and nothing got resolved.

Instead, approach fights with honesty and feelings. Ew, right? Who wants to bombard their husbands with "You make me feel..."? Well, you shouldn't.

Don't project. It should never be "YOU make me feel", rather you should keep it to "I feel because..."
For example: I feel hurt when...(give example)
There's a subtle difference there.

Brevity is important. I'm going to pull out a generalization here (and you're welcome to cite all of the exceptions you know) but I have yet to encounter a romantic interest who wanted to sit down and discuss all the possibilities and tangents and comparisons of an argument. I could always give them (and usually wanted to because I'm wordy like that), but then their eyes started to glaze over and I could tell I lost them. Keep it simple until he wants more detail.

Go to bed angry. I know that adage has been touted repeatedly- dusted off and pulled out at weddings and receptions and the like- but this is dependent entirely on how the two of you deal with issues. Personally, I think a lot of things can be solved after a good night's sleep- I see better in the morning and I've had some time to let it all sink in. By the time I wake up I often realize what a colossal jerk I've been and we can resolve our argument much more efficiently. If that's not your style, then by all means take the time to solve the issue before you hit the hay. Just keep in mind that life has a nasty way of breaking habits and just when you've perfected your system something will come up which makes your method unattainable.

Ultimately, realize that fighting in a relationship isn't about being mean or inflicting hurt. If those are your goals, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're doing something wrong.

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Mrs. E