Conflict, disagreement, and fights are inevitable, endemic, and typical in any healthy and growing marriage relationship. I once heard of a story told by one marriage counsellor; the first question they ask couples in a conference that they hold is: How many couples here have arguments and fight with each other? They said nearly all the couples would raise their hands. The counsellors then ask couples who raised their hands to look around and see those who kept their hands down. They then ask another question. Please, what do we call couples who say they do not fight? And unanimously, those raising their hands say, liars.
Please, what do we call couples who say they do not fight? And unanimously, those raising their hands say, liars.
Yes, any married couple who confesses they do not argue or have fought in their marriage try to redefine fights and deceive each other with no deep relationship. Or they are lying, and the latter is more likely to be the truth. Coming into marriage, I had the idea of a beautiful and happy marriage, but I knew I would have to fight, but my sole aim and goal, if I must fight, was to make my marriage better. There are good fights and nasty fights in a marriage. A good conflict in a marriage causes the husband and wife to grow and become intimate, while a harmful fight cause division and separation. Therefore, we must correct the notion that couples who love each other may not have to fight. Oh yes, if you love each other, you will fight but how you fight and what you fight about is what makes the difference between growing or gripping.
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A good conflict in a marriage causes the husband and wife to grow and become intimate.
I remember when I felt I was becoming a nagging wife, always trying to get my message across to my husband and when that is not clear, it results in arguments and quarrels. I wanted a peaceful home, so I decided not to react and just take everything to keep the peace. After all, a wise woman keeps her family and a foolish one tears it down with her hands. With this scripture in my mind, I wanted to be a wise woman and keep the peace in my home. For years I did not realise all those little arguments and fights I could have had may have cleared issues, but I decided to keep them below and keep peace in my home. However, resentment was building up behind the scenes without me knowing, only to realise this man that I much adore I now find irritating and unwanted. I began to feel like I was walking on an eggshell in my marriage, and the relationship became unhealthy. However, I decided to fight a good fight for my marriage, this was not the marriage I wanted, and this was not the marriage God wanted. How do we know if we are fighting a good fight or a nasty fight? It is essential to understand the motive for fighting and what we are fighting for in our marriage.
It is essential to understand the motive for fighting and what we are fighting for in our marriage.
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We must acknowledge that conflict is part of a healthy marriage. A quote by Robert Louis Stevenson defines marriage as – “one long conversation checkered with disputes.” Marriage is both love and war, and as couples, we can decide which one we want to prevail. The bible tells us that love conquers all. If there were no wars or disputes, there would be nothing to overcome. So, if you and I approach the conflicts and arguments that happen in our marriage as part of the structure, we would focus on how we fight and what the outcome should be. So how do you know if you are fighting a good or bad fight?
Below are some of the characteristics of a good fight and a dangerous fight.
Good fight – your goal will be to resolve the conflict or matter at hand and a bad fight; your goal will be to win the fight or show your spouse they are wrong, and you are right.
A good fight deals with the underlying issues and wants to bring them to a place of understanding, but a horrible war only wants to deal with the surface issue. Therefore, when the underlining problems are still there, they will always resurface and create more fight.
Good fight focuses on ideas and issues where the couple disagrees with, finding common ground and a win-win solution, whereas a lousy battle concentrates on personality and power struggles. Do you know who I am? I have a right? etc.
Good fight produces an attitude that is cooperative and receptive; the couples or spouse wants to understand and find common ground to continue to enjoy their relationship. A bad fight produces an attitude that is defensive and aggressive, not wanting the argument to end and causing separation.
A good fight’s motivation is to take responsibility and resolve the issue, while a ruthless fight’s reason is to shift blame and not take responsibility. What we do know, however, is that it takes two to tango; each person will have a share of the pie in a fight.
The result of a good fight is a solution, issues resolved, growing together and increased understanding leading to better intimacy. Sadly, the result of a nasty battle is separation, stagnation, more discord, shame, and a final blow could dissolve the marriage.
One quality that perpetuates fight within a marriage is pride and egocentricity, do not allow pride to ruin your beautiful union.
So, the question I would like to ask is, what are you fighting for in your marriage? If your motivation for arguing with your spouse is reflected above as a harmful fight, please be humble enough to reassess and make amends. One quality that perpetuates fight within a marriage is pride and egocentricity, do not allow pride to ruin your beautiful union. Marriage is built for enjoyment and satisfaction, and whatever will cost your marital bliss is too expensive. Ignorance, pride, unbelief in God, disobedience if you are a child of God will cause you to miss out on your earthly inheritance. A blissful marriage is a heaven on earth.
I implore you today; if you have taken time to read up to this point, it means you are ready to fight the good fight for your marriage. Look at the qualities of a good fight and those of a dangerous battle and decide to change. You cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself. Let us start from there!
The inspiration for this write-up comes from the book – The Good Fight – How conflict can bring you closer by Dr Les and Leslie Parrott. Please get that book and read it in-depth; you will find it very useful.
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Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.
Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counselors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.
My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here