Is there such a thing as fighting fair? Absolutely. There is no perfect relationship of any type. Whether it’s a church relationships, siblings, co-workers, etc., no relationship is perfect and there will be arguments. However, if handled properly through positive communication, conflict can lead to a deeper level of intimacy.
There are many reasons for disagreements. There can be a difference of opinion, stress, or some are just out right argumentative.
When we experienced financial hardships, it brought a great deal of stress between us. We were easily offended, and irritated with each other. After a while, the fighting began to take a toll not just on us, but our family, our ministry, and in business.
We recall sitting down with our spiritual mentors Ed and Lorri, who explained the things we were going through were difficult, but what made it worse was our inability to fight fair. And our inability to maintain positive communication when dealing with conflict in our marriage.
They walked us through how important it was for us to stay unified; so that we wouldn’t give the enemy any room in our relationship.
There was too much at stake, to allow the enemy to come between us.
There were times André would call Ed to ask his opinion about something he was considering. And the first thing Ed would ask him was, “what does your wife think about that?” André would ask what does she have to do with this? And Ed’s response was, “everything.”
When we are unified in our marriage, it brings honor to God and others watching us will be able to see the unity. After all, according to 1 Peter 3 we are told that the marriage relationship is an equal partnership.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” ~ 1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)
Too many wives want to point this out and say: “see here; if you don’t treat me right, your prayers are going to be hindered.”
Well, that is not entirely correct. The scripture says in the same way. Meaning wives not only are you to do your part, but in the same way as you are doing your part, your husband is doing his. Then your prayers will not be hindered.
You may be asking: how do we do that when we are arguing or at odds? Simple, learn to fight fair. Lay down some ground rules for arguments.
Our mentors encouraged us to consider applying 10 guidelines for positive communication, that not only became an anchor for our marriage, but we’ve encouraged other couples to use these when dealing with conflict.
We know it’s impossible to never have an argument, and if you secretly argue where the kids don’t know you are arguing; you are giving them the wrong impression that marriage is perfect.
As a result, when they get married and have an argument; they will feel like a failure. It’s ok for children to see healthy fighting. It displays a healthy marriage that knows how to handle conflict. It will help bring families closer, as opposed to tearing them apart.
So how do we fight fair?
Guidelines For Fighting Fair
Here are 5 of the 10 guidelines for fighting fair through positive communication we use. You can download the complete list by visiting our FREE COMMUNITY LIBRARY, under the relationship section.
Before we go over these guidelines we want to suggest, that only one person speak at a time.
This can be difficult, especially if you hear something you immediately find a problem with. However, if you can learn to let one person speak in a calm manner, expressing their heart, it will pave the way for clear communication.
Before sitting down to discuss a matter, examine your own heart and ask God what you could have done differently to help you communicate in a manner that’s honorable before Him. Prayer will make all the difference!
Timing Is Everything
Although it would be best to deal with things immediately, timing is everything.
Communicate how important it is to discuss the matter and determine a time that works for both of you. If you force communication when someone’s heart is not ready, you will miss a great opportunity for resolution.
Purpose To Listen And Hear
Repeat back what the other person is saying to make sure you heard them correctly. For example, “So what you’re saying is you would like me to __________.”
This shows that you are really listening and truly looking for a solution. Be willing to acknowledge your mistakes humbly.
No Hitting Below The Belt
If someone brings a matter to your attention that is bothering them, it would be unfair to use that as an opportunity to say, “Well, I don’t like when you did this…” If you have not come to the other person in love before this argument to discuss a matter that concerned you, it is unfair to bring it up in a current argument. That’s NOT fighting fair. It’s a sucker punch and has no creditability or productivity in the heat of the moment.
Deal With One Issue At A Time
Do not use past mistakes as weapons. Stay focus on the issue at hand, even if there are many issues to deal with. Try to get to the root of one problem at a time. If issues in the past have been dealt with and forgiven, then leave them in the past.
In The End
Regardless if you are in a marriage relationship, or not, these guidelines will work for resolving any relational conflict. Remember, when handled properly conflict can lead to a greater level of intimacy in a relationship.
It was in our darkest moments that we were the most argumentative. However, learning to fight fair brought us closer, and grew stronger in our marriage as we became better equipped to resolve new challenges in a manner that honored God.
PS…If you would like to download the complete list visit our FREE COMMUNITY LIBRARY, and look for 10 Guidelines For Positive Communication under the relationship section. If you need the password to the library fill out the form below.
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~André and Timberley Gray