After almost 12 years of marriage, I’ve learned how to fight to win.
I am not a licensed counselor, nor do I have anything remotely to a psychology degree. In fact, I am the furthest from touchy-feely as you might get, if you are merely looking at my credentials.
I am of German descent, took on the beautiful German language as my minor and majored in International Business. I like repairing old vintage cars, chopping crap up and using my physical strength to demolish lath and plaster.
All of that said, when we were first married, I had no idea how to properly fight with my husband-other than fighting to win. It was my nature to be right, to protect my rights and to win. I learned very quickly just what “winning” does to a marriage.
It divided us, it alienated us from one another and it caused barriers. When I “won”, or when he “won”, we both lost. I remember once being so angry that I threw a pair of wet jeans at him that I was hanging up to dry.
They plopped onto the bathroom floor about a foot in front of me. He just stood there, open-mouthed, unsure of what to say. I felt like a little girl who had just had a temper tantrum.
It was embarrassing.
Sometimes I could manipulate him with guilt, sometimes I would use a few tears to sway him my way, or maybe I would just bring up all the mistakes he’d made in the past. It seemed to temporarily win the argument-but we both knew what I was doing and the problem was never really solved.
One day, the thought popped into my head that perhaps my way of fighting was inappropriate. After all, Biceps never raised his voice to me. He never reacted to my insanity. He calmly and rationally explained his viewpoint and then waited for me to talk in circles for the next hour, riding the roller coaster of my emotions.
He is a very patient man.
Were we a “team”, the two of us becoming one like we had promised in our vows-or was it me against him?
After reading this scripture, “…Rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11, I realized during our arguments, there was NO ROOM for God within the mess I had just made.
Ew. Gross. Ick. I stink.
Years later, I have come up with a system to ensure that both Biceps and I “win” when we argue. I (try to) run it through this filter before I approach a subject that is causing our relationship friction:
1. Is what I’m about to say helpful and healthy, or is it hurtful and harmful?
2. Am I reacting to something or have I committed it to prayer first?
3. Am I putting Bicep’s well-being before mine and am I honoring him by wanting this issue resolved or is it just so I can “be heard”?
4. Do I have a solution to the problem that I am bringing to him?
And if I can’t check off these four things confidently from my list, I don’t bring the subject up until I am able to do so.
If I can remember to do this and not attack during the heat of battle, we calmly and rationally discuss the issue at hand. It has single-handedly put a stop to the hour long (or more) fights, the ridiculous Rebekah rants and the non-solution endings to our arguments.
And it draws us closer to each other and closer to God. Pretty simple, but I’m pretty stupid sometimes and have to learn the hard way…
And that’s how we both “win” our arguments with each other.