Fighting in marriage is unavoidable. Fighting in a manner that demeans you or your spouse or gets no reasonable result is avoidable. Fighting in a way that enables both spouses to learn about each other and create even more intimacy is achievable. Even in the heat of the moment, both people in a marriage can put their feelings aside and fight fair. I know it sounds impossible, but it truly is not. One way to help in this area is to learn what kind of “fighter” you are. Here is a list of types of fighters and how they react:
This type of fighter has the mentality of “my way or the highway”. When this person argues, there is usually one right answer: theirs. Unfortunately, this type of fighter uses name calling, threats, and sarcasm to win an argument.
The dominator has a lot of the same characteristics of the abusive bully but usually, doesn’t resort to name calling or other abusive behavior. Instead, this person uses very precise language to back up their point of view and put down the other partner’s view point.
This kind of fighter is nothing like the two before. The Victim is most often not able to speak and feels as though it is not their fault in any situation. Instead, this person tends to blame other people and lacks the ability to take responsibility.
The sulker is a person that holds everything in instead of arguing back during a confrontation. This person will go too far extents not to speak to the person they are arguing with to show they are unhappy but will not come out and say it.
This type of fighter does exactly what the name suggests: compartmentalizes arguments. If this person cannot come up with rational solutions to the issue at hand, they will slip it away for later. Basically, if it doesn’t make sense, they won’t continue arguing about it.
The avoider uses avoidance in an argument. This type of fighter will try just about anything in order not to face confrontation head on. This person could also be called a peace keeper because he or she likes to keep things as they are and not upset the balance by arguing.
This type of fighting style gives the appearance of fighting fair at first. But after the argument, if they have not felt they “won” this type of fighter will act out through revenge. The Passive Aggressive fighter tends to come off as kind but really only wants to have the power in an argument.
Open and accepting
The open and accepting fighter tries to allow room for both parties arguing to hear and speak the points of view. This may be one of the healthiest ways to fight as it gives attention to the health of both parties and how they are feeling. At the end of the confrontation, this type of fighter tries to resolve the issues and be a peace maker instead of a peace keeper.
Possibly the healthiest form of fighter, the Explorer is a lot like the Open and Accepting fighter. The is one big difference between the two. The Explorer looks at confrontation as an opportunity to learn more about their partner and their partner’s views.
Which one of these resonated with you? Which one for your spouse? With that knowledge, you and your spouse can take a step back and start to learn ways to navigate fighting in a healthier manner.While these may not be the only fighter styles, these styles are a great place to start your “fighting fair” research! My hope is you don’t stop there. My hope is that you and your spouse can learn to fight in a way that both of you come away from any confrontation with a better understanding of one another and a deeper connection that brings about intimacy.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.