Fighting Fair

Before I jump into the content for today, I have two housekeeping items.

  • Thank you to those who have already answered the survey I posted last week.  Your responses have been so helpful.  I am working on future posts around the topics you requested.  I will leave the survey open another week.  If you didn’t get a chance to complete it yet (it really won’t take long) please click here.
  • One of you who responded answered my last question (about what you’d like to ask me) with a question about a situation in my past. I am happy to answer you in a 1:1 setting via email, or phone.  If you would like me to follow up with you on those specifics please contact me at joan@joanborton.com  (I really don’t know the identity of anyone who responds to the survey).

Now – this week’s content on fighting fairly . . .

Shortly after we became engaged Jerry said he was given the same advice several times, “buy a wheelchair accessible couch, you will need it someday.”  I am happy to report that after more than 21 years Jerry has not yet needed that alternative.  Though there was that one night that I heard God say to me, “you have to put him to bed, you don’t have to look at him or talk to him after that, but you have to help him get to bed.”  Funny, after that situation was resolved between us, Jerry said he also heard God say to him, “you need to let her put you to bed tonight!”  Now neither of us can remember what that situation was even about.argument-238529_1280

I can’t imagine you would think we never fight, but just in case I share that to assure you we do not always see eye to eye, we do disagree and fight.  Because we are both direct and don’t mince words, most (but not all) of our fights are intense but very short.

As we learned how to disagree, argue and make up, two points rose to the surface.  After talking these through we agreed to make these our rules for fighting fair:

  • We will not go to sleep angry with one another.  You just read above that there was a night that was tested.  If we find ourselves at an impasse we agree to put a bookmark in the situation and make a commitment to one another of when we will tackle that topic again the next day.  This gives us a little cooling off time, and let’s us process, but doesn’t let it just hang out there indefinitely.  We will also still kiss one another goodnight and say “I love you” to the other.  Why?  Because we do love one another.  A fight or disagreement does not mean we don’t love each other. We need to work the issue out, but we will choose to love each other through the challenge.
  • In one of our earliest fights I sought space to get away and sulk in my own pity party. Where I chose to go was inaccessible to Jerry (and it was before the days of texting or each having cell phones).  I don’t recall if I went there knowing he could not get to me or not.  When we worked out the resolution Jerry shared with me how pained he was that he could not physically reach me to offer the gift of reconciliation or peace.  He asked me to try to seek the time I need alone in a place where he can come to me if he chooses.  Wow, that was really big when I understood it.

Do we fight perfectly now?  Ha!  I am not sure anyone does.  But these two tips have helped us move forward more quickly than before.

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What about you?  What are the “rules” or tips you and your spouse have for fighting fairly?  Let’s learn from one another.

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