Sometimes “fighting” can seem like a swear word but in fact it is possible to have a “good fight”. In marriage, as in every close relationship, disagreements and conflicts are sure to come along sooner or later and that is perfectly normal. However, the way in which you handle those arguments can make all the difference as to whether you have a healthy marriage or not.
Here are five guidelines to help you fight a good fight:
1. It takes two
Both of you need to be actively engaged in resolving the issues between you. If one person closes up or walks away, don’t expect to reach a good solution. A good marriage is when both partners invest 100% of themselves in the relationship. If each gives only 50%, it will be a 50% marriage.
2. Take a walk
It is often helpful to go somewhere outside your home to talk through your differences. This can give you a fresh perspective and allow you to return to your home with renewed closeness. You could go for a walk in the park, or go to a restaurant for a coffee. The important thing is to go somewhere that you will be able to talk freely.
3. Learn to listen
While one is talking, the other must listen. Learning to listen is an essential skill which requires focus and concentration on what is being said. It is not a matter of just keeping quiet until there is a gap to say what you want to say. Each spouse should feel that they have been heard and have been able to express exactly how they think and feel without being interrupted or contradicted.
4. Show respect
Listening is one way of showing respect, but there are many other ways too. A conflict should never devolve into an attack, either verbally or in any other way. No matter how strongly you disagree, always remember that this is the person you chose to marry, the one who is precious to you, and that the purpose of the discussion is to resolve a particular issue, not to attack, destroy or conquer the other person.
5. Keep it private
Whatever fights or disagreements you have as a couple should be kept private between you. This is not something you should discuss with your friends or relatives if you want to keep your trust and confidence in one another. The exception to keeping it private would be if there were severe ongoing unresolved conflicts, in which case marriage counselling may become necessary.