Fight More! No one that I know likes to fight. There are certainly those who are stronger fighters than others, and perhaps a small minority feels that the best defense is a good offense. But no one likes to fight. The reality of being married, however, means that conflict is inevitable. Couples that “never fight” are not living in reality but actually are almost always quite unhealthy. The “good marriage” myth is that an absence of conflict means that the marriage is healthy and that is certainly untrue. No two people are going to agree on every issue or situation. I try to assure couples that conflict is a common occurrence in most healthy marriages. So instead of attempting to avoid conflict, I urge spouses to view it as an opportunity to grow both individually and as a couple. Use it to understand each other better, understand yourself better, to build your teamwork, and to discover unaddressed issues that you might have as an individual. So when couples fight, some techniques I urge them to use is to give each other equal time, stick to one issue, and make sure that there are no character attacks during the conflict. I also urge couples to have a time limit on each conflict so that they don’t experience the frustration of emotional attrition. Fifteen minutes is plenty time to resolve a typical marital conflict, and if you need more time, give it a day’s rest and try again. Anything that requires more time most likely would require the input of a qualified third party. So stop avoiding conflict… that usually means that future conflicts are more volatile. Fight more, but fight fair. The “good marriage” myth is that an absence of conflict means that the marriage is healthy and that is certainly untrue.
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