Fighting… it’s NOT merely sport.
“Speak when you’re angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret” ~ Ambrose Bierce.
How do you and your partner fight? Believe it or not there is great importance to finding your own unique fighting style (Sounds a little out there, I know) but there is a style to fighting, there is actually a formula.
When most couples have a conflict, it gets played out in a short spat, a screaming match, or a stony silence. Too often, each of them may position themselves to win the fight, becoming focused on how hurt they feel; proving that they are right and their spouse is wrong, or keeping up a cold shoulder. And eventually over time what happens, is the lines of communication snap, or worse, they may shut down all together.
But, here is something interesting for you to know – even happily married couples have arguments. They can have screaming matches. Yes, happy marriages can have full on fights. It is important to note that couples have different styles of conflict; some will win the fight at all costs, some will just fight often, some are able to talk about their differences and reach a compromise without ever raising their voices, but no one style is better than another. It is pivotal that we not judge it; as I said, no one style is better than another; but the key is that it has to work for both people in the relationship, because if one wants to work it out and the other wants to watch the playoffs, there’s going to be a problem.
In the strongest marriages, husbands and wives share a deep sense of meaning; they support each other’s hopes and aspirations; they build a sense of purpose in their lives together. A marriage’s failure to do this – to support, nurture and grow – will sadly cause a husband and wife to find themselves in useless realms of arguments, which will eventually lead to them becoming isolated in their marriage, because ultimately, if you don’t feel appreciated, if you don’t feel heard and if you don’t have that open line of communication, then these “petty” fights that occur usually aren’t about what you’re fighting about at all. It isn’t about the remote, it’s not about going to the in-laws for dinner, and it certainly isn’t about the toilet seat being up (it has a hinge, it can be up or down); it’s not about any of those things.
Disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences; you need to understand what’s causing the conflict. If you don’t understand the cause of the conflict, (at the time we usually don’t) you at least have to learn to live with it by firstly always honoring and respecting each other.
It’s important for each couple to learn how to fight. The first things we should ask ourselves when fighting are:
1. What is the ultimate outcome that I wish to achieve?
2. Is it to feel empowered?
3. Is it to feel heard?
4. Is it to get respect?
5. Is it to let that person know how incredibly angry I am?
6. And, is my anger, whether it’s in rage or in silence, going to get me the outcome I desire?
It’s important to establish something called The Rules of Engagement (stay with me here)… make up rules together as if there was a war going on – you and your partner actually take the time to sit down and decide “how we are going to fight”… (Really), BUT there is one cardinal rule, which needs to always be honored during an argument and that is to NEVER GO BELOW THE BELT (this isn’t Mortal Combat, don’t forget that you love one another), there are some things you just never say. Period.
We learn in Kabbalah that words have power and once you say them it’s like a dagger through the heart depending on what it is. Maybe the wound will heal, but the scar remains and it’s a constant reminder of what was said and over time, those angry words can damage the “oneness of marriage’s union”, so “handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs” ~ Pearl Strachan.
In fact, it is for this reason, during kabbalistic weddings that there is a part of the ceremony when a glass is shattered by the groom. The glass represents the marriage; we acknowledge that there will be times during the union when we may do damage to the relationship through our actions or words; just as a glass is broken and shattered into millions of pieces, it can never quite be put back together again. The same goes for relationships. Specifically, in a marriage there are certain things that can never be said.
Words hold great power. There is a section in the Zohar where it says that every word we say is taken by an angel and it is saved. However, there is no discernment over whether your words are positive OR negative. When you say something negative, that negativity will dictate what kind of angel comes and takes the words – likewise if it is something positive – once the words are taken by the respective angels, they are saved, and will manifest at a certain time.
Now, don’t fret, because the more positive we do and say, the more it negates the negative. But just think about it, once you put it out there, it’s out there. We really must choose our words wisely; especially when we argue. Because every comment, any vulnerability we share with our partner when we get enraged and we get to that place of fighting and it escalates, that’s it – it’s like open-season – anything can happen.
The moment we stop honoring one another during arguments, the minute we no longer treat each other with dignity, respect and love – in that moment – the oneness, trust and intimacy between you becomes at risk and is shattered. It’s like sleeping with the enemy; on the one hand you’re supposed to be intimate and be closest to this person, and on the other hand, they say the most incredibly hurtful things, because they know your vulnerabilities. You have to make a choice that there are some places you should never go and some things that should never be said.
Set up YOUR rules of engagement… JOURNAL:
1. How do YOU fight?
2. Think about the last argument you had with your loved one – how did you express yourself?
3. How did it impact the relationship? For better, or for worse?
4. What is the outcome that you want to achieve when you do fight?