Love Fights Fair
If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3.25Conflict in marriage is inevitable. When you tied the knot as bride and groom, you joined not only your hopes and dreams but also your hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage. Almost immediately you became aware of just how sinful and selfish each of you could be.
Your mate started to slip off your lofty pedestal and you off their s. The forced closeness of marriage began stripping away your public facades exposing your private problems and secret habits.
At the same time, the storms of life began testing and revealing what you're really made of. Work demands, health issues, in-law arguments, and financial needs flared up in varying degrees, adding pressure to the relationship.
EVERY COUPLE GOES THROUGH IT. But not every couple survives it.
The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you'll ever do (or have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the think of conflict. That's because this is when your pride is strongest. Your anger is hottest. You're the most selfish and judgemental. You make the worst decisions.
But love steps in and changes things. Love reminds you that your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you're fighting about. Married couples who learn to work through crisis tend to be closer,more trusting, more intimate and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwords.
How? Learn to fight clean with healthy rules of engagement. Learn to abide by two types of boundaries... "we" boundaries and "me" boundaries.
WE boundaries are rules you both agree upon beforehand and each of you has the right to gently and directly enforce them when they are violated.
1. WE will never mention divorce.
2. WE will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
3. WE will never fight in public or in front of our children.
4. WE will call a "time out" if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
5. WE will never touch one another in a harmful way.
6. WE will never go to bed angry with one another.
7. Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, WE will work this out.
ME boundaries are rules you personally practice on your own.
1. I will listen first before speaking. Everyone must be quick to hear , slow to speak and slow to anger." (James 1.19)
2. I will deal with my own issues up front. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7.3)
3. I will speak gently and keep my voice down. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15.1)
Fighting fair means changing your weapons. Disagreeing with dignity. It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down. LOVE IS NOT A FIGHT but it is always worth fighting for.
Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this then write out your own personal rules to "fight" by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.