Marriage is not easy. The past several weeks, we’ve been talking about marriage and how to manage the ups and downs. Fighting will be inevitable since we are all individuals with our own opinions and preferences.
We’ve been married for nearly 20 years. There were plenty of times we did not fight fair. We brought up things that were not relevant and sometimes said ugly things to each other. We’ve done some things right during our years of building our marriage. More often, it’s been a stumbling trial and error dance of learning the art of fighting fair. Here are a few tips we’ve learned from our almost 20-year marriage.
1. Stay on Topic
If you’re having a disagreement about finances, don’t nag about how she loads the dishwasher “wrong”. In order to hear each other out about a topic, it’s best to stick to the disagreement at hand.
2. Keep your weaknesses in check
I’ll be the first to admit my default can be to slide back into the bad habit of talking with a sharp tongue. This not only exasperates the conversation, but can oftentimes, derail it. Know what your downfall is and work hard to not let it slide into the conversation.
3. Timing makes all the difference
My husband wakes early for work which means he’s often spent by the end of the day. By the end of the day, I mean after dinner time. He leaves for work long before I’m awake, so that’s not an ideal time to have a discussion. Our best time to have conversations is usually midday in the afternoons. Find a time when you are both not hungry, tired, or distracted to work out your disagreement. Even if it means postponing it a day to cool off or prepare for the discussion, it will be worth it.
4. Respect your spouse
Take the time to really listen to each other. Hear the words and let them sink in before you formulate a response. Don’t interrupt. It can be tempting especially when you feel misunderstood or not heard. Allow them to say what they need to say and then you can ask clarifying questions. Ask they give you the same respect in return.
5. Give Grace
When tensions are high, it’s easy to try to blame the other person and leave it there. It’s harder to give the grace needed to sometimes push through anger and truly try to see things through their lens.
This is part of a five-part series on marriage which was inspired by my article published over at Joyful Life Magazine. Please see the previous posts.
- Joyful Life Magazine Feature “The Fire of Redemption: A Story of Marriage Refined by Forgiveness”
- What to do When Your Marriage is Strained
- How to Strengthen Your Marriage
- The Cycles of Marriage
- Fighting Fair
This brief essay is a supplement to our Facebook video series in the Facebook group Being Brave dot Faith which discusses the same topics more in-depth. You can watch the videos by joining the group HERE.
This book was incredibly helpful for us as we navigated a healthy marriage. (affiliate link)