What started out as a seemingly normal conversation between you and your husband somehow took a drastic turn for the worst somewhere between “What-Did-You-Just-Say-To-Me? Way,” and “Well-Excuse-The-Hell-Out-Of-Me! Lane.”
You’ll know when you reach this crossroad because it’s where you become the most hell-bent on proving your point…on presenting your case…on making sure that your husband knows exactly where you’re coming from—the point when the air between you and your husband becomes unbearably thick and suffocating; heavy with the stench of foul language, and infused with random explicitives that serve only to sharpen the sting of the impact that those words have in that moment.
Congratulations, Ladies…you’ve officially entered the “Argument Zone.”
As the words keep flying and the tempers keep rising, you somehow manage to snap-back into reality for a split-second, only to realize that, despite the faulty logic inherent in the nursery rhyme “sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-but-words-can-never-hurt-me,” words really DO hurt.
Wives, this is where we lose our ability to effectively leverage our power in our marriages because in those moments of temporary frustration, we tend to let the emotions that we feel control how we reacted and responded to our husbands; without thinking our way through “how” our actions will continue to impact our relationships after the argument is over.
We must understand that this argumentative approach to getting our point across is counterproductive because creates opportunities for division whenever we allow our actions to be guided by the emotions we feel in any situation. That division will impact our ability to work toward resolution with our husbands because we lose sight of the issue at-hand, thereby keeping keep us stuck in a perpetual pattern of negative communication that gets fueled whenever we’re reminded of the unresolved issue.
The first principle of The WifeCode addressed the importance of maintaining a healthy pattern of communication with our husbands. The Second Principle of The WifeCode will take things a step farther in that it will help us to understand how any type of breakdown in communication will almost always lead to an argument if we don’t learn how to fight fair in those moments.
Understanding the Power of the Fight
When we’re in the heat of the argument, we rarely stop to consider what our husbands are saying…thinking…feeling. Rather, we perceive whatever they say and how they respond to us to fuel our frustration. This happens all because we don’t see eye-to-eye on some issue at some point; now, we’re yelling and screaming at each other to elevate our points-of-view over those of our husbands’ because we HAVE THE LAST WORD…regardless of how right or how wrong we are.
This is why we must be completely honest with ourselves so that we can begin to understand our motives for allowing this type of disruption to create division in our homes. If we’d be honest enough with ourselves to examine our motives for allowing the argument to go there in the first place, we’d do the most good in preserving our sanity and the sanity of our husbands. We should take a pause for the cause and ask ourselves—what need did we have met as a result of the argument? What value, if any, was added to strengthen our marriage as we expended all that energy arguing?
Learning How to Fight Fair
Learning how to fight fair in marriage requires you engage in a pattern of honest self-assessment so that you can identify what brings out the argumentative spirit that makes you want to fight to the finish; just to prove your point. First, you must be willing to acknowledge how your actions contributed to the breakdowns in communication that happen in your marriage. Then, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to receive the feedback that you get from your husband in love so that you can move forward and grow, as opposed to remaining stuck in that moment without learning from the experience.
As women, we get so caught-up in the emotion of having the last word and proving our point until we miss the lessons that those breakdowns in the communication process were trying to teach us about how to use the lessons learned to empower us to become more effective facilitators of the process of restoring our relationships. When we fail to learn the lesson, we lose our ability to leverage our healing so that we can move forward.
Ladies, let’s be honest. We all have a problem with controlling our emotions in the heat of an argument. If we’re to get to resolution more quickly, we must first be open and willing to accept responsibility for all the ways in which we contributed to the problem that caused the argument by allowing ourselves to: (1) Recognize and manage our emotions in moments of disagreement; (2) Disagree WITHOUT being disagreeable; (3) Actively listen WITHOUT interrupting; and, (4) Allow yourself sufficient time to process all messages that you’re receiving in the moment (doing so will reduce the opportunity for misunderstanding everything that’s being communicated in that moment). Then, and only then, will we be empowered to fight fairly.
Whenever we find ourselves in an argument with our husbands, we’ll only be able to move forward when we’re able to recognize any negative emotions that we feel in that moment, and take the time we need to process those emotions so that we can find a solution to the problem. Recognizing and processing those emotions in the moment will help us to better-assess how those emotions are serving to either strengthen or strangle our marriages.
As wives, we have to model the change that we want to see in our marriage. We have to lead by example in that regard, and take responsibility for how our words and actions influence our ability to resolve the conflicts that are sure to arise in our marriages.
And that’s it! Stay tuned for the Third Principle of The WifeCode, which will focus on the importance of service. In the meantime, keep the conversation going.
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