It is a mistake to think that your marriage is fine merely because you and your spouse don’t argue or fight at all. Many marriages quietly die a slow and silent death because important matters never get addressed. Spouses, in an effort to “keep the peace,” simply zip their lips through the years. Resentments, boredom, unspoken desires fester under a calm exterior. Parents believed that they should never argue in front of the children so imagine the surprise of many offspring to learn that their seemingly content parents were separating.
Couples with zero differences might have little passion. No fighting might be good, but no fire is not so good either. I have to admit, my husband and I are pretty passionate people. We love with all of our hearts, and our fights seemed to be just as emotionally charged. The older we get, the less we fight (in fact, we rarely fight anymore) and we attribute much of our earlier marital strife to youth and immaturity. But through the years, we weren’t ones to keep quiet about our discontent. We argued loud and hard. One would think that we should have divorced long ago, but with each fight, we learned something about ourselves, each other and what love really meant. We were fighting the good fight.
A good fight…
*involves effective communication. Even though the volume was high and the tone was heated, the words and statements we exchanged conveyed valid thoughts and feelings. No empty accusations or unproductive blaming.
*is not vicious. We didn’t sling sharp words just to wound. Sometimes, we were hurt by what the other person really felt but the hurt was not intentional.
*stays on topic. We didn’t bring up old, unresolved arguments no matter how tempting it was.
*resolves a problem to mutual benefit or mutual agreement. The issue at hand was settled.
*ends with new understanding of yourselves and each other. We discovered something about our pasts or our inner selves that drove us to behave the way we did. We took the opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple. Can I learn to see through his eyes? What virtues can we gain or practice? Patience? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Can I be less self-centered here?
*results in you both realizing that you’re very much in love still. After the fight, we were emotionally drained but relieved to find that the angry feelings passed and we still felt good about falling into each others’ arms once again. We were appreciative that fighting didn’t destroy our love.
The bad fight…
*damages your feelings towards each other and has a lasting corrosive effect. Words can wound and the worse, they’re not easily forgotten. You can apologize but words can’t be “taken back.”
*attempts to even the score from past fights. Not a good idea to rehash all the unresolved or unpleasant times. Stick to the current topic.
*does not resolve anything but simply takes a hiatus and can restart again at any given time.
There are better ways of communicating and settling disputes in your marriage other than fighting. But it happens. When it does, try your best to make it a good fight. Come through it with new understanding and deeper appreciation for each other. And don’t forget to kiss and make up.