Fighting. That inevitable uncomfortable incident that we all try to avoid but never quite stay away from.
Nobody likes to fight with their spouse.
Although fighting is no where near ideal, I believe we can learn an immense amount from our fights. If we use fighting to help us identify issues, we can diminish potential fights from arising – which is the goal.
The heart behind this article is to offer up a perspective on how we should handle fighting, so that the frequency dwindles.
And yes, it is possible.
We can use fights, to discover why we are fighting. Once we know why, we can work on preventing it. Usually, preventing it means we need to either change our behavior or our situation.
Have you ever been in conversation or discussion with your spouse that quickly escalated into an unintended fight?!
This article is about how to help prevent that from happening, and what to do when/if it does happen.
So let’s say it just happened… You blew up at each other, lashed out, exchanged hurtful words, maybe you broke something, maybe you shed some tears…. then what? Where do you go from there? How do you reconcile? How do you truly resolve, repent, and make the necessary effort to prevent it from happening again?
Well, we sure don’t have all the answers. But one thing that has helped us lately, is taking a period to cool down, and then coming back together to answer a few questions when the time is right.
What was the initial motive in having the conversation?
Where did the conversation go awry, and why?
What can I do or say differently next time?
How can I better serve you next time?
What is something I can do in the future to prevent this from happening again?
These are a few examples of how we reflect on our fights. Fighting can easily turn into sin. Proverbs 29:22 “An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”
When we fight, there is usually a point where our hearts betray what they love, our emotions take control, and we forget that we are on the same team.
This is the point where our sinful nature can turn a conversation, into a fight.
I say this NOT AS AN EXPERT, please don’t get me wrong… Like I said, Auj and I fight. And we don’t always handle it the right way afterwards. We are learning. As I write this I’m thinking about last week where we had a fight everyday, 4 days in a row:(
As we always say, join us on the journey (Beating50Percent) while we learn and grow.
We had a laborious week last week, but our desire is to learn how to communicate better, and love each other selflessly. Unfortunately, sometimes our strongest desires surpass our deepest desires. Last week, our strongest desire at the time was to fight, but our deepest desire was to control our emotions and behavior, live peacefully, have a discussion and love each other well.
We are choosing to look at our fights as a weeding out process, a way to discover our faults and grow more into the person of Jesus.
Audrey and I are in a season of life where we are doing A LOT. We are filming for LPBW, shooting vlogs for TLCme, running an online community – Beating50Percent, running AujPoj.com (her clothing line and devotionals), buying a house, teaching barre3 classes, being a best man (Auj being a maid of honor), writing a book, making Navigator’s Council Journals (stay tuned), being involved in our community, ramping up for pumpkin season 2016 and all the little things that make up life in between…
So to state the obvious, we are doing too much. This has our emotions and stress levels in a hyper active state. Our minds can’t handle too much more.
Last week we were driving back to Bend from the farm when I asked Audrey about getting a dog. A silly comment that should have been a fun discussion. However, given the circumstances, Audrey took offense to this statement and was easily frustrated by it. I did not take into account the big picture of what was going on in our lives at the time when I made that comment. When Audrey pushed back against it, instead of laughing and realizing it wasn’t the right time in our lives, I pushed back too. “We totally could get a dog right now!” This put Audrey over the edge. As we both began defending our own point, our discussion began to quickly escalate into a fight. We began reacting emotionally (anger, bitterness, stress, etc.) instead of responding rationally.
When it came time to resolve, and ask each other the questions above, we learned a few things…
I realized that my initial motive was to talk about something that was fun and not work-related.
The conversation went awry when we both started to defend our statements, instead of explaining them.
Next time, I could preface the conversation better.
I could have served Audrey better by considering how she needed to relax. I wanted to talk about something fun for me to relax, and didn’t even consider her feelings.
In the future, I could say, “Hey babe, I know this is silly and it’s not the best time, but would you want to get a dog when things get less intense?”
Fighting without resolve is a fast-track to a broken union with your spouse.
Fighting will also reveal a lot about our character and personal condition. Are we defensive, offensive, rude, negligent, rash, ignorant? Have we spent time with the Lord, hows’ our health, have we been exercising, sleeping well, taking time to play etc…
As you dissect a fight in a calm and rational state, you will uncover root issues and establish preventative solutions.
How Reflecting On Fights Can Help You Prevent Them:
Identifies Issues And Bad Habits
Marriage requires an attitude of humility. We must be willing to accept the fact that the problem might be US, not them. If we don’t have an attitude of humility, then we won’t be able to see our own faults in order to fix them.
It’s been said, marriage is much more of a mirror than anything else. It shows us what’s wrong with US, not them. We must be willing to see and accept our own faults. Reflecting on our fights in God-seeking manner, can be a tool to identify what those faults are.
Let’s be real, sometimes life happens and we lose sight of our priorities.
In our marriage, our priority is to reflect the gospel and to build a great marriage. A marriage that thrives (and have a blast along the way – of course). Obviously, there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the sparks notes version.
In our marriage, we’ve noticed that when we lose sight of our priorities, we begin fighting more frequently.
Shows Personal Condition
Fighting often reveals the condition of our hearts.
More often than not, at least for us, our fights are due to our own personal condition. Which is directly related to how much time we’ve spent with Jesus.
As Christians, we are born again and have a new identity. 1Peter1V23, 2Cor.5V17, Romans6V6, Colossians3V1-2. We have acquired the nature of Jesus. So, if we don’t spend time learning that nature, practicing it, asking God questions about it, and getting to know Him, then we risk acting outside of His nature – sin.
Repetitive fighting might be a sign of hidden sin, hurt/heartache, bitterness/resentment, an unyielded heart, or skewed priorities that have not been brought to the light.
Suggestion: Go to a park, the beach, or the forest and meditate on who you are and who you want to be. Talk to God about the condition of your heart. Are you allowing Him to be at the center?
Our fight revealed that we need to make some sacrifices so that we can make room for calm in our life. We need to prioritize rest in our marriage, turning off our phones, not working late into the night, carving our space on Sunday to Sabbath. We are realizing that it is hard to rest. Ironically, it seems easier to just keep working. But we know that rest is essential for a thriving marriage.
In this article, I hope to have offered you some insight, ideas, suggestions for how to handle the occasional fight – and how to keep your fights occasional (not frequent). fights as a filter to identify what needs working on. It might be your priorities, maybe it’s your behavior or bad habits, or maybe it’s the condition of your heart. Remember, it might be you that is at fault, be mindful that it probably is, rather than assuming that it isn’t.
Have you and your spouse been fighting a lot lately? Perhaps you and your spouse can create some time to reflect on the three things that fighting can help us identify.
• Issues And Bad Habits
• Personal Condition
Healthy fighting can help distinguish our old nature from our new nature, and make us better image bearers of Christ.
The more we learn and embrace our new nature, the closer we will be to Jesus, and like Jesus.
Let’s try our best to become a community of marriages known as givers and forgivers in our marriages. This will set us apart. May we be a people willing to be wrong, and eager to apologize. Only then will we have marriages that reflect the gospel.
So stay encouraged and start learning from the arguments with your spouse. Remember, our tomorrow will be the same if we don’t change how we live today. Put another way, how we live today, is of course, how we live our life.