Let’s face it marriage is tough sometimes. You have two people, whether they have been married for 1 year or 40 years, who have two different minds about things. When those two minds collide, a fight ensues, but it doesn’t have to be unfair. Here’s 7 rules on how to fight fair in marriage.
There can be a number of factors that determine how you will respond to any given situation.
- The way you were raised
- The stress from work that day
- The weather
So, are these an excuse to allow fighting or arguing to be present in your marriage?
While you should minimize how these external factors affect your response to your spouse, it is ok to have disagreements in your marriage.
If there is never a disagreement within your marriage, one spouse is regularly surrendering their desire for something or their point of view. As a married couple you are co-laborers in your marriage and in life. Compromise is inevitable and should be the goal, but if one person is always giving up their stance this will lead to resentment later on. If a fight must happen here is how to fight fair.
7 Rules on How to Fight Fair in Marriage:
1. Ask yourself if you are responding or reacting to the situation.
Responding to a situation or disagreement is much different than a reaction. A response is a specific decision that is made on how to handle a situation. On the other hand, a reaction is a knee-jerk retort to the situation before you.
See also: Actions and Reactions
2. Learn how to communicate clearly.
Many times disagreements or arguments come about simply because of a misunderstanding in what is being said. The gap between expectation and reality is called frustration. The bigger that gap is, the more frustration that will be present. The smaller the gap is between expectation and reality, the less frustration there will be.
See also: Key to Communication in Marriage
3. Don’t bring up the past
One of the most hurtful things you can do to your spouse is to bring up the past. If you say that you have forgiven them for the deed, words spoken, or the situation allow Christ to move you past that. Psalm 103:12 tells us, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Christ remembers your transgressions no more, learn to live by Christ, and put your spouse’s shortcomings behind you as well. (outside of physical or sexual abuse)
See also: Forgiving your spouse
4. Understand when to Apologize
Many times your pride will hinder an argument from ending. You will want to be right. You will want to “gain the upper ground,” and feel justified in your side of the argument. The easiest way to end an argument is to apologize. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, your sincere apology sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. There is a saying that goes, “Apologizing doesn’t necessarily mean you are wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship enough to not let this situation ruin it.” I love this statement. The apology puts the security of your relationship above the need to be right.
See also: Apologizing to Your Spouse
5. Don’t let divorce be a part of your vocabulary
Easier said than done, in the heat of an argument you might say something that you don’t necessarily mean. The easiest way to prevent this, is to not even let divorce be apart of your marriage vocabulary. Simply take it out of the dictionary of available words to say to your spouse.
6. Don’t talk negatively about your spouse to others
The fight happened between you and your spouse, not you, your spouse, and eight of your friends. Keep the argument between you two. Speaking negatively about your spouse before others paints them in a bad light. The hearers will then subconsciously view your spouse in a negative manner. Your words are powerful. Speak life into your marriage.
See also: Never Speak Negatively About Your Spouse
Finally, there is another old saying that says, “You have two ears and one mouth, so you can listen twice as much as you talk.” Again, the disagreement/argument is probably because of a miscommunication on some level. Spend twice as much time listening to your spouse, to gain a better understanding about where that miscommunication happened.
See also: My What Big Ears You Have
These rules will only work if you work them. You have to be committed to your marriage and doing what it takes to make it work. Here are three final tips on how to fight clean:
- Say a quick internal prayer during the disagreement to ask the Lord to guide your words, actions, and responses.
- Stay calm.
- Always be the bigger person. Bigger does not always mean the right person. Be humble, and know when to value your relationship more than your wanting to be right.
Your marriage is valuable. Fight fair, fight for it, and make it last.