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…it’s worth fighting for

September 9, 2011

We all know that some things aren’t worth fighting over.  It doesn’t always stop us from fighting over them, but we usually realise that it wasn’t really a big deal after the dust settles (or sometimes during the fight, but my stubbornness generally keeps me from calling a truce).  But disagreements are inevitable between even the most loving people, and ignoring them will only lead to less and less intimacy and understanding.

Make no mistake:  the stability, health and intimacy of your marriage is absolutely worth fighting for.  Your willingness to work through even the toughest challenges together will often determine the strength of your relationship.  It’s not a matter of if you will fight, it’s more a matter of how you should fight.

Obviously, you have to stick together through life’s challenges, but it’s not always the larger issues that can end up tearing apart a marriage.  In the process of defending your marriage there will most likely be numerous battles that will seem pointless  to you, at the time (especially if that time happens to be the wee hours of the night).  Even so, beware of downplaying the “little” things.  If an issue that your spouse brings up seems petty to you, please, do not, I repeat: do not attempt to dismiss it.  If it’s important to your spouse, you need to make it important to you.

On that note, Dave taught me something new this week.  I generally approach arguments with a debate/resolution handbook in the back of my mind.  There’s a basic outline for how to argue – discuss the issues, try to understand each other’s perspective, figure out where each of us went wrong, apologize, and come up with solutions.  What I didn’t realize was that there was something missing from this outline.  Because of the often heated emotions (and bluntness on my part) in a discussion Dave often came away feeling like the defeated foe instead of the beloved partner.

Last Sunday he and I had a disagreement about something fairly routine.  I explained my perspective, he explained his, and he acknowledged that he should have done things differently.  I assumed the problem was solved…  I was right; he was wrong.  We’re good. 🙂  For him, though, it wasn’t quite that simple.  After a bit more painful discussion I finally understood what was wrong.  He really just needed me to acknowledge that I could see how he could have reasonably formed his perspective, rather than simply arguing against, proving it “wrong,” and then moving on because mine was – “clearly better.”  Who knew?? 😉  Well, now I do, and I’m hoping this new bit of knowledge will help to soften the blows and speed up recovery time in the aftermath of our next battle.

So, sometimes you absolutely have to fight.  Just remember that you’re fighting for each other – not against each other – and let that guide the way you fight… more on that in the next blog: “…in this together”

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