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Thursday, August 13, 2009

How To Have a Good Fight

Before we were married, hubby and I read a book our pastor wrote entitled, "Marriages Are Not Made In Heaven." Chapter 10 is devoted to teaching married couples how to have a good fight.

Hubby and I have always been grateful for the information we received from this book because it allowed us to established "ground rules" for our disagreements before we were married. Although we have not always followed them perfectly, much of the time, having them in place has kept us from hitting below the belt, if you will.

I think that many couples who get married without growing up in a two-parent home or without being close to a couple who have a strong marriage lack the communication skills needed to 'have a good fight." Consequently, many words that cannot be taken back are often thrown out, never to be forgotten.

However, I think establishing some ground rules for the inevitable disagreements that will take place in a marriage can cause even the feistiest of couples to overcome problems in a more refined fashion.

Here are the ones from the book(Dr. D. Rayford Bell, pgs. 86-94):

1. Keep it Honest- "At the altar you vowed certain things. But have you ever committed yourself, verbally and honestly in your soul, to being authentic and honest with your partner, viewing your partner with respect?"

2. Keep it Under Control- "Make sure your weapons are not deadly...Be angry and sin not(Eph 4:26) When we attack the person instead of the problems, we move into deadly areas...when we make things personal or assault motives...when we reject rather than is harmful.

Remove gross exaggerations such as "always" and "never" from your fights...remember those sweeping universal rebukes are not true."

3. Keep it Timed Right- "Be sure that both of you sense that this is the right time to talk. That's not when husbands come in from work and battle fatigue has set in over his day. Not when wives find a mountain of dirty dishes."

4. Keep it Positive- "When you come to your mate with a justified criticism, be quick to suggest a solution. Criticism hurts. A positive, supportive comment would help take some sting out of the wound."

5. Keep it Tactful- "This probably will be the most difficult rule to implement because when we have a point to make that we feel strongly about, we tend to get louder...This is profound with tact: you say, 'I trust you and I hope as I share these words I won't hurt you unnecessarily."

6. Keep it Private-"Don't swing at your mate in public. There are at least two ways that you can do this in a can do it with open, bold can do it with subtle, cutting sarcasm, either one hurts deeply."

7. Clean it Up- "'And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you'(Eph 4:32). The greatest exhibition of forgiveness took place at Calvary, fully forgive like He did."
My favorite on this list is the part about eliminating gross exaggerations like "never" and "always." I can't even begin to tell you how much smoother things have turned about because we don't use those words! Instead, we may say, "it seems like recently" or "sometimes" or "often times." This takes some self-control on the part of the accuser but, is usually appreciated by the accused and makes it easier for them to accept and own up to the point that is being made.

#3 is the most challenging for me because once I'm ready to talk, I'm ready to talk. It takes much prayer in order to keep from bombarding my husband with the emotions I'm feeling right at that moment, in order to wait for a more appropriate time.

How about you? Do you have some "ground rules" that you use in order to "have a good fight?"

(Image from google images)


  1. great post! and great ideas!!

  2. Thanks for the post. Very helpful.

  3. This is great advice. It especially makes me cringe when I hear couples criticizing and putting each other down in public. It's so hurtful.

  4. Thanks for posting about this--Wow, I have to read that book now!



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