So the moral of the story behind this quote is if you are going to FIGHT, fight to win, not to hurt each other. Most people would agree that a little conflict is a good thing because it means you are being honest. Disagreements are healthy. Discussions are necessary. Continuing to calmly communicate in order to solve a problem… these are all important in any relationship and definitely important in marriage. The key aspect is you want to win your partner, not the discussion. You want to get a lasting healthy marriage, not your way.

We recently had a sit down talk about the dishes. We missed small group that night. Our communication was out of whack, I was harboring bitterness and I felt like it needed to be ironed out. Eric’s take on it was- you want your way, what is there to talk about? This was trying for me, as I am often quick to “turn off” if I am not feeling heard and dismiss the discussion if it does not seem to be going in a positive (a*hem, my) direction. I pulled from my counseling bag of tricks and utilized active listening skills:

  1. What I hear you saying is…
  2. I feel…
  3. My expectations include…
  4. What do you think?

Because we need to express those expectations early and often. If only to compare them- mine with his. It ended well, but it wasn’t a smooth ride. And that’s just the dishes! If you are having difficulty “Fighting Fair” or fighting with an ending that feels like a win for the marriage, definitely seek out marital counseling- either as a couple or as an individual. Practicing expressing yourself with someone licensed to listen and help you clarify can only help the communication in your marriage. Embrace it!

A Counselor at a Marriage Conference- Lesson 12
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