When we are in the Disillusionment stage of our relationship, we sometimes use a kind of communication called FIGHTING.
This means fighting with words. Physical fighting is not acceptable. Constructive fighting can clear the air, and is better than avoiding the issue.To make fighting helpful rather than harmful, United Marriage Encounter suggests these common-sense guidelines:
- Fight. Don’t dodge or evade the confrontation. Constructive fighting is better than pouting, and is sometimes a necessary part of communication between husband and wife.
- Be fair. Let both spouses be heard; take turns speaking and listening. Do not interrupt. Don’t hit below the belt – but don’t wear the belt around my neck! Be careful not to attack in extremely sensitive areas, but don’t be so sensitive that we can’t talk about important issues. Choose my words so my lover will see I am trying to be fair.
- Stick to the subject, but find out what the subject is. Usually the real subject is not whatever started the fight. Look below the surface.
- Don’t repeat history. Dredging up old grievances can re-open old wounds, cause needless anger and pain, and get us off the subject. Use a 48-hour statute of limitations (time limit).
- Do not call each other names. Name-calling is character assassination, not fighting – and may inflict wounds that hurt for a long time. Consider: If I call my mate an insulting name, will I regret it tomorrow?
- Finish the fight. Don’t walk away, refuse to talk, or retreat into icy silence. Tears are all right, but shouldn’t become an excuse to avoid finishing the fight. An unfinished fight will smolder like a pile of damp, burning trash – and it will flare up again.
- Hold hands while fighting. Yes, we mean it! Holding hands helps us focus on each other and remember this person I married is the most important human being in my life – far more important than whatever we are fighting about. Try it! Many couples report when they are angry it takes a great effort to hold hands, but it does de-fuse and discharge some of the anger – and often leads to laughter and reconciliation.