Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fighting Fair as a Couple

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Written By: Sophia Reed

We all know that when we are in a relationship, that everything is not going to be perfect and arguments will occur.  This is okay and it is perfectly normal.  Every person is different and no one is going to agree with a person 100% of the time, even if they are the most compatible couple in the world.  One thing that I would like to address in this segment is that when these arguments occur, are you fighting fair or are you just fighting.   Now arguing can be a really dangerous thing.  It can cause grudges; it can cause the couple to argue over the same thing for hours, days, weeks, or even months.  I am going to explain to you that this type of arguing, although popular, it is not the best way to be, and to give you a perspective of fighting fair, so that the arguments do not control and /or ruin your relationship. 

The first thing is something that I call, taking the Bass out of your voice.
When I say taking the bass out of your voice to someone, there are several things that I want them to do.  First, I would like to them to examine the tone of their voice.  Is it harsh, is it sarcastic, is it loud?  The tone of your voice can affect the way a person reacts to you.  Have you ever noticed that when in a disagreement, as soon as a person gets loud, then the other person starts to get loud?  If you respond in sarcasm, the other person gets mad at your sarcasm.  Therefore, a quick way to avoid this is to just take the bass out of your voice and adjust your tone.  Speak in your normal voice and say what you have to say. This way, you will more than likely will get the same reaction from your partner.
Next, is being respectful no name calling or harsh words.

I think that this is a fairly easy one to understand.  Many people when in an argument are quick to call names or say things to the other person that is intentionally hurtful.  Although, they may love this person, out of anger they say something that can be very mean to the other person.  The thing about these types of words or reactions is that once said, they can never really be erased from the person’s mind.  So even if there is an apology, the damage is still done.  One thing I like to refer to is Bible scriptures that illustrates this points for me well

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.   
Proverbs 12:18

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. 
Proverbs 18:21

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 
James 3:10

Really ponder on these verses and understand that the things you say can affect your partner and your relationship.  If you call them names, this can lead to low self esteem or perhaps even depression.  If you accuse them of cheating, it may push them into cheating.  So chose your words, and don’t practice harsh words against your partner. 

The last point is a few things that are tied into one big point.  This is to listen, don’t accuse, and acknowledge the person’s point of view. 

One main reason that arguments escalate is because each person does not feel like they are being heard. In the same token, many people do not listen.  I have seen or heard arguments, in which each person was essentially saying the same thing, but in different ways.  Because they were not listening to one another they continued to argue.  I have also seen an argument go on for so long that the point of the argument is lost, and the people involved become confused about what they were trying to say.  The best way I feel I can illustrate this last point is to use a scenario. 

Here we have a husband and wife that have just gotten home from a Christmas party.  The wife says to her husband 

“I am angry at you, because you left me at the party and I felt like I was being ignored the whole time.”

A none listening response could be for the husband to walk away, say “whatever,” or respond in anger. All of which could escalate the situation or leave unresolved issues in the air, which can harbor in the relationship.

An accusing response could be

“Well you’re the one that walked off will Bill’s wife, I didn’t even know where you were I didn’t ignore you.”


“When I was at your company picnic you did the same thing to me.”

I call these accusing phrases because it puts the blame back on the other person.  In the second statement, it not only accuses the other person, but brings up and old situation that had nothing to do with this one.
Now let’s look at a better response, and that is acknowledging the person’s perceptive.  The husband can simply say:

“I am sorry that you felt I was ignoring you and that I hurt your feelings, that was never my intention.”
Notice that the husband is not accepting blame or even saying that it was his fault.  The only thing that he is doing is saying the facts. There are that is his wife is hurt, and that she felt hurt by something that she felt he did.  The husband even added, “That was never my intention,” To let his wife know that he did not seek to hurt her on purpose.  And really, this is more than likely all she really wanted….to be heard and her feelings understood.

Now all of this does seem simple and many people tell me, that this is easier said than done, and this is true.  It is not going to be easy and takes a lot of mental training to change the way we fight and talk to people.  Now if this does not work I have one last thing to throw in that always works and it comes from a Bible verse:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger Ephesians 4:2

In short it is human nature to be get angry, and if your argument got so out of hand that you ended it in anger, that’s okay. However, before you go to bed, really try to rid yourself of that anger and any negative emotions toward your partner, so that you do not bring it into the next day, week, months, or even years to come. 

An easy way to do this is to remember that you love that person and what love is:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

When fighting or trying to get over what your partner did, if you really love them and want to continue the relationship, always remembers the above verse on how to act toward them, and really put these words into practice.  Now if you do not see a change even after all this information, you may want to evaluate weather that person is really the one for you and weather they love you back.  You may also want to consider counseling. 

If you are located in the Richmond metro area, you can feel free to visit my website for more information about counseling with me and to set up an appointment.