To Fight or Not To Fight?
Sometimes you and I can be a little passive agressive which isn’t good. Sometimes, I wonder if there is more seething below the surface than either one of us want to willingly admit.
I like that we don’t get all shouty all the time. But at the same time, I agree with this sentiment in the book: “Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards.” – P 62.
Do we miss out on that opportunity for growth? Do we need to lay the cards out on the table more? I’m good with not screaming, but do we need to fess up when we feel some anger or frustration? Do we need to call each other out more? In addition to being husband and wife, we’re also friends. Friends (and spouses) strengthen and cause each other to grow.
Fighting Fair and Boundaries
I like the suggestion to create ‘rules of engagement.’ And I really like the list I previously came up with–rules for how I will handle conflict:
“Here’s my list:
- Listen first and patiently
- Remove distractions, i.e. shut the phone off, turn off the TV, stop cooking, stop everything and focus.
- Remove sarcasm: Let my yes be yes and no be no. Don’t be cute, try to be funny or use any kind of verbal irony. Do not be ‘smart’ and thereby possibly inflict hurt.
- Deal with my stuff first—don’t go barging in if it’s really a me issue.
- Admit my wrong with NO excuse or explanation: No ‘buts’.
- Keep voice down. No reason to yell and scream.
- Walk away if need be.”
And I also like the list provided in the book for ‘We’ rules:
- We will never mention divorce
- We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
- We will not fight in public or in front of our children.
- We will call a ‘time out’ if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
- We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
- We will never go to bed angry with one another.
- Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.
One of the benefits of marrying a little later, is that you can manage expectations better than some younger couples. Plus, you’d already seen the armor sheen come off of me before we wed.
We still have conflict. There are still areas in our lives that require ‘hashing out.’ But I’m glad to do it with you.