Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fighting the Good Fight In Your Marriage

A survey came out this week that suggests the average married couple fights or at least spar with each other seven times a day! That means there are some who must fight more and of course some less.  But the bigger questions seem to be, "How do we fight and why?  What purpose does our arguing accomplish? And are there better ways to handle our conflicts.

Yes, conflict is normal. Every couple has it. Couples who never disagree are likely facing some sort of denial, stonewalling or unhealthy lack of authenticity.

But there are definitely some things we can do to improve our communications at home especially when we're not on the same page. First of all, we need to deal with our personal worth. I've addressed this in other posts but if you believe that your spouse's criticisms of you have to do with your value as a person you will fight to the death to win. Unfortunately you won't fight fairly or effectively. You won't listen, you'll just be on the offensive or defensive the whole time.

The good news is that your value in God's eyes is never about other person's views of you. You can still be the important or valuable person you are whether your spouse agrees with you or not.

Second, communicate upfront more. In the age of cell phones, texting, emails and the like, we need to over-communicate. How many fights are generated because one or the other spouse simply didn't take the time to let the other person know their plans or change of plans, needs, goals, desires or even emergencies?

Do what you can ahead of time to let your spouse know what's going on in your world.  You're a team - that's only fair and right.

Third, learn to communicate your needs, concerns and frustrations in healthier ways. A most helpful tool is what is called speaking in the here and now. We tend during our spats to use phrases like you always or you never or attempt name-calling or comparisons to others to get our way. Each of those methods goes beyond the current problem and actually begins to speak unfairly about the other person's character, before, now and in the future.

Here and now communication is more like this . . . "I was really hurt last night when you talked about my weight in front of our friends."   But many couples would say, I can't believe you put me down last night just like you always do whenever you feel like it. You're just like your dad who doesn't care what he says and who hears it. I'm sick of it."

Healthy communication uses words and phrases that only speak about what is going on now. Then couples work to better understand the other person's feelings and what the other person needs or needed to avoid that feeling so much.

Changing communication patterns takes time and often the help of a counselor or therapist. But if you're arguing seven times a day, even though its supposedly average, I'd seriously consider that there is a better way!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. Excellent points Gary. I would add to that, there must be a healthy respect for each other. Without that essential ingredient communication rarely gets off the ground.

  3. Thanks. Great point and something certainly foundational to so many relationships, isn't it?