Do women who say they never fight with their husbands make you sick?
It’s tempting to wish you had a relationship like that, too. Don’t because fighting is a sure way to gauge the health of your marriage.
Let me say right up front, physical or emotional abuse are not healthy ways to fight.* Yelling, bullying, insulting and saying a bunch of stuff you don’t mean won’t resolve anything.
No one likes to disagree, but couples who learn to fight well actually grow closer.
Fighting is exercise
The next time he makes you mad, consider arguing as an exercise in strengthening your marriage.
When you disagree, you learn about each other and you learn about yourself, too.
Couples who say they never fight probably aren’t telling the truth. Without disagreements, you can’t learn how to resolve conflict.
When couples don’t fight, they either pretend to “drop it” or sweep it under the rug.
Neither is good for your marriage.
I know from experience.
I didn’t know fighting could be healthy in marriage. Sweeping it under the rug was my modus operandi as new wife.
If I was mad and my husband asked me what was wrong, instead of telling him, I’d say “nothing.” He’d actually treat me as if nothing was wrong.
At that point, I’d have to let him know I was mad by my actions: silent treatment, no sex, snippy responses.
Most of the time, he’d scratch his head wondering, “What’s wrong with her?”
The next time we disagreed, we’d start out fighting about the new thing, but it quickly morphed into fighting about the thing that had happened last week. The thing I was still mad about.
It was a never-ending cycle.
Fighting can make your marriage stronger
I got angrier and more resentful.
When you learn how to resolve conflicts in the right way, your relationship gets stronger.
Maybe you’re like a lot of people and you never learned how to handle conflict well. Did you grow up watching your mother give your father the silent treatment or watching your parents have shouting matches when they disagreed?
Was one parent always the martyr allowing the other one to always have their way or did they have a power struggle? Or perhaps one complained while the other one sat passively by and listened.
When you can talk through issues and come to conclusions, you understand each other better, which leads to greater connectedness.
You’ll gain mutual respect for one another and learn how to respectfully listen to someone else’s idea. When your husband feels heard, he’s more willing to listen to you.
You don’t have to agree, but you can come to a mutual understanding and appreciation for his point of view.
Here are some tips for handling conflict in a healthy way:
- Tell him what’s wrong instead of making him guess.
- Make an honest effort to figure out where he sees things differently.
- Start sentences with “I feel” instead of “you did.”
- Listen instead of trying to be heard.
- Step back from the situation for a few minutes or hours.
- Ask God to help you see where you’re wrong.
- Touch him. Hug him, grab his hand or put your hand on his back. Touch can deescalate a situation.
- Apologize that he’s upset and let him know you appreciate him and don’t want to upset him.
- If the issue isn’t going to matter in the next five minutes, five hours or five days, let it go.
*Physical abuse is never acceptable in a relationship nor is it healthy. If you are being physically abused, get to a safe place The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Join thousands of other women who want great marriages and like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download “How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave” Challenge!
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to a having a thriving marriage after changing her mindset. She translated timeless truths into practical skills to help women just like you get the marriage they yearn for.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota. They have five children and a Black Lab named Largo.
In addition to coaching and speaking, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been published in the Upper Room and featured on the MOPS Blog, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.