Monday, March 29, 2010

~Dare 13~ Love fights fair

Let me tell you a secret. Are you ready? Every couple fights. I am sure that even (or maybe especially some of) those couples that appear to be picture perfect fight. It is generally something that isn't talked about in public.

When we get married we start out with our spouse on a pedestal (and for some that pedestal is higher than for others) but chips start appearing in that pedestal and slowly but surely they get knocked of theirs just like we get knocked off the one our spouse had for us. We get tested again and again in our disagreements about our mother-in-law, because of the stress of a job, the lack of money, and all those small arguments that just keep building up.


Most damages done to your marriage will most likely have happened in the middle of an argument. A hurtful word, an unjust accusation. Those things are much more easily said and done when we are upset. This is why we need to set up rules and boundaries before an argument even starts because once we are in it we are less likely to think straight and we just 'go for it'. We also tend to forget yesterday's lesson about letting our partner win.

But what could those rules look like? I think The Love Dare has some great suggestions on how to approach this. The authors suggest making to sets of rules. One set that you as a couple mutually agree on. Here are a few of their suggestions:

1. Do not mention divorce
2. Do not bring up old, unrelated issues
3. Don't go to bed angry
4. Don't fight in front of others (especially your children)
5. We will call a time out if needed to cool off

And then there is a set of rules that you set for yourself:

1. I will listen before I speak and not interrupt my spouse
2. I will speak softly and not raise my voice
3. I will try to deal with my own issues first and not mesh them with our problems

These can and should be adjusted so that they fit YOUR needs but they can serve as some good guidelines. We never will be able to completely eradicate arguments from our marriage but we can change how we deal with those situations. We need to build bridges instead of tearing them down.

Disagreements are something that happens too often in Luke's and my marriage. A lot of it has to do with his mental health issues. A lot of it is because we both have hurt each other with our words and actions in the past in the heat of an argument before he was diagnosed (and also after). Living in a high stress situation has at times driven us apart and we are trying to actively fix that. We learned a long time ago that we needed to set up some rules. Some days we are better at following them than on others. But what counts is that we are trying. One of our main rules that I insisted on years ago is the cool of period where we just both need time to stop and think. It is extremely helpful to us. These rules are not a instant fix to help in arguments. Old habits die hard and we need to remember these rules at the right time. We just need to keep working on it and remind ourselves that it is worth it.

There will be times when neither of you will remember the rules you have set, there will be times when just one of you remembers and adheres to them. Don't get discouraged and just keep working on it. Our marriage deserves the work and it always should be work IMO. Once we stop working on us and our marriage we start taking thins for granted and that is when we are most vulnerable to attacks from the inside and the outside.

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