Monday, 21 June 2010

Fight Fair

To tell someone to fight fair almost sounds like an oxymoron. I can only assume that this expression originated with pugilists in the days when they did not wear boxing gloves. Other such expressions such as “that was a low blow” or “that was a sucker punch” probably had the same derivation.

When we apply this concept to marriage most of us know what is being inferred but the rules are probably no more adhered to than they are between the ropes. The boxer wants to win and the husband or wife wants to win. Instead of a low physical blow the couples revert to a low verbal blow. Both can be very painful.

Noted Today Show contributor, Dr. Laura Berman offers the following advice to couples, “You must fight to love, not to win.

Here’s the difference: When you fight to win, you get wrapped up in who’s right and who’s wrong. You keep tally of past wrongs, missteps and hurts. You go for the jugular with unkind words. You start to care more about your pride or your power, instead of your relationship. Fighting to win, rather than resolving what you are fighting about, is the biggest mistake couples can make. It’s also the most common — especially when in the midst of a passionate argument.

Let’s take Dr. Laura’s advice and kick it up a Christian notch. Fighting implies something combative. What if you expressed your differences of opinion in a way that glorified God? What if we viewed areas of conflict as areas opportunities for growth both personally and as a couple? God can and will use our differences as a vehicle for shaping us into the image of His Son.

The next time you have a disagreement with your husband/wife you can either choose to draw a line between you OR you can draw a line with both of you on one side and the issue on the other. Now it is two against one – speaking of fighting fair. The issue is no longer between you but in front of you. Together you work to come up with a creative solution that allows you both to feel as though you have been heard, you have been understood and the resolution takes your thoughts and feelings into account.
Dr. Laura Berman
Often this involves digging down one or two layers beneath the surface. It involves understanding why you feel as strongly as you do about your position as well as why your husband/wife feels as strongly about theirs. The feelings may go back to childhood. Your position may stem back to positive or negative memories or opinions which you have adopted along the way. In any case, unlike boxers, do not go to your neutral corners but come to the center of the ring together and face off against the problem.

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