Mike and I didn’t fight well in the first several years of our marriage. We were both the oldest child in our respective families. Combined with the overwhelming need to be right and coming from dysfunctional households, our arguments tended to get nasty very quickly. I was the main culprit with a cruel tongue and, at times, a vindictive nature.
When he and I both look back on those days we are amazed that we are still together. In July we will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary! Praise the Lord.
Marriage counseling helped us tremendously. We learned how to fight. We were not taught NOT to fight. Let’s face it- living with someone 24-7, 365 days a year is not possible without some friction. We were taught HOW to fight. How to express our differences of opinion, our needs, our desires and most of all our love for one another in a healthy manner. While we will probably never have this mastered, our disagreements are calm compared to how we dealt with them in the past.
I recently received The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer
When I finished reading it I immediately thought “I wish I had read this book 16 years ago”. My next thought was that I will be gifting it to newlyweds in years to come. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are veteran marriage counselors and are married to each other. They are also best selling authors of several books dealing with marriage.
The book includes their C.O.R.E principle, which relates to their recommended elements of a “good fight”. Cooperation, ownership, respect and empathy are key to disagreeing in a way that allows the other person to hear your point without becoming defensive. The book also includes topics such as:
- Why a “good fight” is the secret to a happy marriage
- Leveraging your personal fight types (this was a particularly interesting section to me. Mike and I are similar in some ways but also very different. Our fighting types are very different and it was helpful to read about how the different types can successfully approach each other in an argument)
- Fighting through The Big Five- money, sex, work, parenting and housework
- The 7 rules of Fight Club
This book is filled with practical advice from a couple with 25 years of marriage and doctorate degrees under their belt. I encourage you to check it out.
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