He's a prideful fighter. He says things he ends up regretting.
I'm an emotional fighter. I take everything personally and focus on him vs. the problem.
The point is: we are NOT good fighters. We know this. The prideful fighter and the emotional fighter do not fight well.
Maybe neither of these fighter personalities are you. Honestly, there aren't scientific fighter labels, and if there are, I'm still no scientist. But, you can probably label the kind of fighter you are. Angry, emotional, bitter, prideful, stubborn, close minded. Do any of those sting a little when you read them? Maybe that's your fighter label; maybe that's your spouses.
If you're reading this, I imagine you want a tiny nudge towards healthier fighting.
So here's the deal: Blake and I have had to work diligently to figure out how we can healthily fight without making things worse. And yes, if you're asking yourself-is there really such a thing as "good fighters?"
The answer is yes. There are.
I want to help you learn (with us) how to be better fighters. Because at the end of the day, no matter how big (finances, sex, children, infertility, jobs-etc) or small (dirty dishes, changing diapers, toilet seats) the fight may be: we all will fight with those we love most at some point in our relationships. And if you ask me, it's not even worth fighting if there's not a resolution at the end, right? Not a compromise, but a resolution. Do you ever finish arguing with your spouse and walk away thinking, well that was completely pointless! (insert emoji with hand raised here). That's not what we want. We want resolution.
What I've learned from countless hours of marital counseling is this: we are ALL created differently. We think differently, act differently and speak differently. We all have our faults. Different things trigger different emotions in us all, so even if we have all intentions of having a good fight, one small statement can completely derail that train and lead it down the wrong path. We must remember that no matter how strongly we feel about a topic, your significant other may have just as strong of feelings about the complete opposite.
BUT, be so very grateful that we weren't created the same. Use those strengths and weaknesses in you and your partner to learn and grow from one another. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you probably won't change that person into the dream man or woman you want them to be. There will always be something (even if it's ever so small) that we dislike about our partners- and we must do everything we can to shut that desire for change down. Because that is one of the most dangerous desires in a marriage, and I'll be posting about that topic soon.
So sweet sweet sister, or brother (probably not, huh?)
Here I am getting on my knees in front of you-begging you, pleading with you and asking you to please please please implement these steps in your relationship if you too are bad fighters. You're here for a reason. Right? You're reading these words for a purpose. Right?Use them, share them, believe them and let me know if they worked! Maybe you learned something that I too can implement, and I'd love to hear!
This may seem simple. This may seem silly. But, it's a fine art, and given the right attention, can turn a dull painting into a beautiful masterpiece.
Here is my three step guide to "The Good Mood Fight"
1. If you feel a fight coming on, or if you even remotely accidentally walked into one unintentionally, and either of you are in a bad mood already: RED FLAG. STOP STOP STOP the fight immediately. If that means walking away, changing the subject, tickling the other person, whatever it is. DO NOT CONTINUE PAST GO! It could've been a bad day at work, a hard day with the kids, a rough night-whatever it was that sparked the bad mood, it will trigger unintentional emotion in the fight. Don't even let it begin.
2. Choose a time (and location) when both you and your partner are in a "good mood." A neutral location that doesn't belong to either of you. So, not the man cave, GUYS, or the craft room, LADIES! Maybe you're driving home from date night and you just finished watching an amazing movie. Maybe you just finished having a romantic night in. (read between the lines). Maybe you just made hubby or wifey the best dinner they've ever had. This is when you start the "good mood fight." Start it with these words, "honey (or whatever your pet name is), can we talk about something and not get mad at each other but talk about it calmly? I am so happy with how things are right now with us and I think it's a perfect time for both of us to address some things that have been bothering us cause we're in such a good mood!" Sounds cheesy, right? It is. BUT, every time I do this with Blake he laughs hysterically and already goes into the fight knowing, okay Amy isn't trying to attack me on this subject, she really does love me and just wants to talk!
3. Be ever so cautious with the words you choose during this good mood fight, because the last thing you want to do is turn this into a "bad mood fight." Try not to use words like "you did this" or "you didn't do this", but rather "I feel hurt when X action takes place" or "it bothers me when X happens because I feel X". Put the focus on yourself rather than the other person. Nobody likes to be blamed. Focus on the problem, NOT the person behind the problem. Never use the words "always and never" because no matter how angry we are, it's one of the most dangerous ways to trigger bad emotion in your partner. And whatever you do-listen. Remove any distractions and listen to your love. They want to be heard.
Oh and one final step: don't be hangry. Eat some stinkin food before you fight. :)
So there it is. This isn't a science. Marriage is an art.
Blake and I aren't marriage counselors, but we've been at rock bottom. We were a signature away from signing divorce papers just over five years ago.
We've learned that marriage is about learning and growing and developing into better spouses for each other. There's nothing Blake and I love more than to see each other trying to do things differently for each other! We feel respected, and we feel cherished.
I'll always end these blog posts about our marriage with this-if you feel like you've hit the end of the line, if you feel like you've exhausted every single effort in the book-can you message me first? I'll have one simple question to ask you before you call it quits.
And it's worth having the conversation with me about-I promise.
Why? Because it was the one question I asked myself before we signed our divorce papers.
And it was the one question that saved our marriage.
"Are you ready to spend the rest of your life without this person?"
My answer was no.
Love, hugs and so much encouragement being sent your way!
Amy + Blake