Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Some Don'ts of Fighting

As stated in the previous post, due to our sinful nature, two people who spend a lot of time together will eventually disagree.  How we handle that moment is of utmost importance to our marriage, our children, our friends, and our churches.  A marriage where hateful words and actions are an everyday occurrence is in danger of divorce.  Children's perception of love is shaped, to a large degree, by what they see in their parent's relationship.  A child who witnesses her parents constantly fighting will assume that is right and normal for their marriage.  This thought is scary.  Is the relationship my children see between HBON and myself something I would want them to experience in their lives?  Friends feel compelled to take sides when a couple is fighting and that expands the conflict to others.  Churches made up of fussing families have trouble focusing on God and His goodness instead of how everyone is reacting to each other today.  So contention is something that effects more than the two people involved.  Therefore, we must strive to limit its occurrence and learn to fight in a way that will cause as little harm as possible.

There should be some hard and fast rules when it comes to fussing and feuding.  These are easy to say and hard to do, especially in the heat of the moment. Most endeavors that are worth pursuing fall into this category.

          Never fight in front of the children.  Children should see their parents as an indivisible team.  Discipline is easier.  Children feel safe and secure.  They expect relationships to be about love instead of anger.  They know their parents love each other and them.  Unfortunately, we parents goof up and break this rule.  When we do, it is important to reestablish the sense of security for our children.  It is important for them to see that their parents still love each other and are ashamed that the children saw the fight.  Teaching children by example about forgiveness and love, is one of the most important jobs we have as parents.  Hopefully, we can teach them this without them seeing us fight with each other, but if we slip and fight in front of them, we should MAKE SURE they understand the best part of fighting is making up.

          Never say or do anything to demean your spouse.  Fighting over a point of contention should not turn into a personal attack.  In the heat of the moment, we are likely to say things for the sole purpose of wounding someone who has wounded us.  This should be avoided at all costs.  Our spouse might doubt are reasoning ability, logic, or even our sanity, but he should never, EVER, doubt our love.  When we act in a way that communicates "I don't love you"  instead of "I an mad at you" we have crossed a line.  If we cross that line too many times, our spouse will start believing our actions.  Especially for women, there are no words in the English language to communicate love if they are not followed by action.  And ladies, if you want your husbands to act like men, their manhood must never be questioned or undermined in the heat of anger.  That sort of blow will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repair.  And physical attacks are to never be tolerated.

        Never fight as a team.  Fusses between spouses should stay between spouses.  I am not saying that you can't talk with friends to get advice and counsel or to vent a little in order to maintain a level of decorum.  But  you cannot talk to friends in order to influence the fuss one way or the other.  You cannot talk to friends to get them on your side.  In fact, a true friend, on hearing the opposing positions, might very well tell you that you are wrong and your spouse is right.  If you are not willing to hear that from the person to whom you are speaking, just keep your mouth closed.  Your friend should never doubt your love and respect for your spouse during the conversation.  If your goal is to malign your husband, it would be best to not say anything.  The conversation should be about your state of mind and your struggle, not his.  And the conversation with the friend should NEVER occur on social media.  There is absolutely, positively NO REASON AN ARGUMENT SHOULD EVER MAKE AN APPEARANCE ON FACEBOOK.  Face to face is best for these sorts of conversations. Over the phone can be a substitute if necessary.  But remember, a peaceful conclusion must be reached by you and your spouse, alone.  If a conversation with a friend would impede the progress of resolving the disagreement, just stay quiet.

        Pride must be mortified.  All arguments are based on pride.  I think I am right.  He thinks he is right.  We are sure of our rightness.  So we fuss.  The fuss will never be resolved if we do not admit we could be wrong.  Sometimes I am wrong.  Sometimes he is wrong.  Sometimes it takes a fuss to figure out which one of us is wrong.  But if we are not willing to swallow our pride and admit we are wrong, the fuss will just keep going.  The longer it lasts, the more likely we are to break one of these rules and cause lasting damage.  And I guess that is the real 'don't' of fighting......

      Don't cause lasting damage.  In most cases, being right is not worth causing lasting damage.  Winning an argument is not worth hurting our spouse, our children, our fiends, our churches.  It's just not worth it.  It just isn't.