Now I want a nice clean fight. No hits below the belt, no gouging of the eyes, no trash talking, and no kicking when your opponent goes down.
When ever an argument, disagreement, tiff, or fight happens in you relationship, remember one thing: you love your opponent. You shouldn’t be looking for a way to hurt or embarrass your wife in a fight.
Contrary to the nursery school comeback about sticks and stones, words can hurt. You can’t see the injury, but words can leave lasting scars. Make sure that you’re not using words intended to inflict pain. Here’s a quick list of some words to avoid:
- stupid, dumb, crazy – e.g “You’re being stupid”
- derogatory names – e.g. the “B” word, any word inferring prostitution or promiscuity, etc.
Remember that just because a certain word is not on the list you don’t have carte blanche to say them. You know which words hurt so don’t use them.
Fights occur for many reasons, and seldom for good reasons. Here’s a short list of common things people fight about:
- Family – you only get to pick your spouse in life, you don’t get to pick the rest of your family, fighting about them isn’t going to change a thing. You can only manage how both of you handle it. Remember that you are a team now, you are no longer on your family’s team when it comes to your spouse.
- Religion – you both knew going into marriage what religion each of you were. Even if you weren’t actively practicing your faith, its part of who you are. Come to an agreement on how to handle these issues early on. This can become a more difficult subject when kids arrive if you don’t have that agreement.
- Money – what ever your financial situation or background, agree on a management plan before it becomes an issue. If its already an issue, stop arguing and look for a solution. You both have valid points, but you need to compromise.
Before any fight comes up, agree as a couple on how you’ll handle it. Discuss what’s okay and what’s not. Set up safe boundaries and what your “tap out” will be. Agree and commit to this together. By having these rules in place, you avoid more frustration when someone calls for a time-out during the fight (which may be exactly what you need).
Here’s the practical advice:
- Man up to your mistakes – it takes a bigger man to own up to his mistakes and say he’s sorry than it does to hold on to his ego and stand his ground. Saying sorry before the fight even starts could diffuse the whole situation.
- Follow the rules – no name calling, no bringing up (irrelevant) old stuff, don’t bring family up unless its what you’re fighting about (why would you).
- Never get physical – don’t hit, spit, bite, or throw things. Period.
- Take a break – if things are getting too heated, take a break. Go for a walk, wait a whole day if you have to. The idea is to talk when you have level heads and can form logical thoughts.
- Be a good winner AND a good loser – don’t be smug if you “win” an argument. Don’t hold it over your spouse’s head either. On the flip-side, don’t pout all day if you “lose”. If these behaviors come out in the aftermath, the battle is likely to rekindle.
Above all else: Love Your Wife