Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marital Success – Conflict and “Fight Agreement” – Part #1

Hey Covenant Groupies,

This morning was a bit rough and reminiscent of an old pattern between Kevin and me. We went to a movie screening last night and Kevin thought he lost his wallet as he was preparing to leave this morning. As I sought to help him and asked him what he needed, he was asking me to call the theater, but he was mumbling and I asked him to repeat himself, he raised his voice at me and his tone was sharp. Literally, ten seconds later he found his wallet. I wasn’t angry as much as I was hurt. Here I was helping him and he took his frustrations out on me. I asked him not to speak to me that way, he didn’t apologize but all I need is to share my hurt. He acknowledged the moment, which works for me. I know my husband and I know that he knows that he was out of line. I don’t always need and apology as much as I need to speak and be heard.

Several years ago, this scene would have been severely different; it just would not have worked for me. I would really need to speak, yell and scream about being disrespected. And let him know how I wouldn’t tolerate his inconsideration. Of course, this was waaaaay before I understood how Kevin handles frustrations and deals with inconsistencies.

In the long run we realized that this didn’t work for either one of us. When I tell you that Kevin and I have come a very long way in how we argue, disagree and resolve our issues. There was a time when we’d argue and not speak for weeks on end. It’s a sad admission, but no one in our lives ever REALLY teaches us how to fight, apologize, empathize and resolve our issues as youngsters and teens and then when we become adults, we make it up as we go. Usually relegting God's commands for quick and immediate reslution a serious afterthought. More often than not we take a very arrogant stance to fight and a very passive position to resolve.

Needless to say, this is what we brought into our marriage as I’m quite sure you did as well. Yet, we knew that the Bible clearly outlines why we fight, how to fight and how to resolve all disagreements, but we avoided that because wouldn’t that mean we were losing if we apologized first or humbled ourselves and admitted our defeat? We’re taught to fight for our right to be right, but never to fight for love, peace and unity. To fight for love would prove a problem; we’d be abused, neglected, abandoned, betrayed, denied, misunderstand and so much more. So we go through life suppressing our feelings, raging out at any given moment and we’re left hurting others and ourselves.

We found that it’s so much more powerful to formulate a “Fight Agreement”; a proclamation that states how we’ll fight, what will be acceptable, what can be said and so forth. It proves to each of you that you want to live in a relationship that doesn’t burden the other person under critical judgement and becomes an environment that constantly says, “I love you,” “I care about you,” “You matter to me,” and “I respect you.”

There are some strategies that are guaranteed to work. Tune in Thursday March 4, 2010to see what they are.

No comments: