Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Fighting for your Marriage
Let me begin to say that I am not an expert on marriage. Some may say that I have no room to talk, because I have been through a divorce. But I went through a lot in my previous marriage to help me in this marriage.
To give you a quick back story, I was married for almost 7 years to a high school boyfriend. For most of the marriage I was a Christian "in name only". I claimed to be a Christian, but my actions did not represent that. We were both very abusive to each other in very different ways. After 7 years, 2 deployments, many acts of infidelity, different forms of abuse, our marriage ended. Where I completely believe that God did not want us to divorce, I have asked for forgiveness and believe that God has taken my sin and forgiven me, and is blessing my life now that I have given him full rein of it. (Let me state for the record, he filed for divorce, but once he did..for the second time...I completely gave up and allowed the marriage to dissolve.) I only tell you all this because I am not perfect, and I have a background of fighting in a Christian marriage, AND a not so Christian marriage.
So the question at hand is, how do you deal with fights in your marriage if you are a Godly woman? Well let me first say, the bible does not say that you can't fight with your spouse, nor does it say you have to be happy all the time. The bible specifically states "Be angry, and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26) This means, it is ok to be angry. But it is not ok to sin. Anger is not a sin, what you do while you are angry could be.
In my previous marriage fights were just that, fights. We yelled, screamed, pushed, and more. There was a lot of sinning in the marriage, and a lot of sinning in the fighting. I never felt respected, and I am certain he didn't either. We just constantly tore each other down and didn't spend much time building each other up. This kind of fighting, just does not work. It makes you both have regrets, it makes you both feel bad, it makes you both just miserable all around.
So how should you fight?
Charlie and I have been married just about 10 months, and have not once yelled, screamed, or physically touched each other in anger. I definitely am not saying we have perfected the art of fighting. But I can promise you if you try to do these small tips, the lows in your marriage, will seem not so bad.
Never yell at your spouse. I don't care if your spouse is screaming at you. If you keep a calm voice and attitude, it will help the whole situation calm down. If your spouse is screaming, and you scream, then they scream louder....vicious cycle. Keep your voice low and attitude calm and you will easily keep the fight smaller.
Never say anything that may be regretted later. Never call your spouse names. Unless they are sweet pet names. Never put your spouse down. Attack the issue, not your spouse.
Never lie to your spouse. I have learned this first hand. Lying never helps. No matter what the truth is, always tell it. Better to go through hell now trying to get over something big, than living a lie for years, and it possibly coming out later and having to deal with it then. In my previous marriage, I lied a lot. I don't know why, or what possessed me too, but it hurt the marriage so much.
Never fight in front of the kids. Your children should always see you and your spouse treat each other with respect, and never hear you two fight. There is no reason. Just as intimate time should happen behind closed doors, so should disagreements.
Lastly, NEVER EVER EVER threaten divorce. You married your spouse, you swore before God that you would stay with your spouse "for better or for worse". Don't think divorce, don't say divorce, and don't divorce. From the first month of marriage, my ex-husband had put divorce on the table, and the entire 7 years we were married, I never felt confident it would last, because he was always threatening (and then finally going through with) divorce. Make sure your spouse knows without a shadow of a doubt that you are staying put, that through thick and thin, no matter what happens, you two are a team. And make sure YOU believe it too. Divorce is not an option.
Once again, I am no expert, but I have learned from first hand experience that following these few tips will help so much! The other day Charlie and I were getting ready for bed, and he said to me, "I am sorry we had a bad day and fought today", I looked at him, and with all sincerity said "when did we fight?". That's how it should be, fights should be that calm and loving still.
What about you? Do you have any tips that help you in your marriage to keep fights at bay? I would love to hear them.