What I've learned about fighting…the hard way


I will preface this post with these are the things Joe and I have learned (the hard way) over the past six years.
They may not be for everyone but they have saved me a few ounces of sanity and I've had to do a lot less apologizing for my irrational, dramatic, hurtful words.

1. Men fight/resolve fights a lot differently than women
Recognizing this early on is the key to your sanity women. Believe me…
Men want to find a solution to the problem.
Women want the other person to feel the emotion that is upsetting them.

Example: Hubby hasn't taken out the trash yet and you have only asked him for the eleventybillionth time.
Woman: "You still haven't taken the trash out? What are you doing?"
AKA- If he doesn't listen to me when I ask him to help me around the house, does he listen to me at all?
Man: "Fine I'll take it out now, is that what will make you happy?"
AKA- I'll take the trash out when I have time to take out the trash, right now something going on in my life is a higher priority.
Woman: "No it doesn't make me happy, it's like you don't listen"
AKA- I feel upset because now I don't feel like you listen to me. I want you to understand that I feel this way.
Man: "What do you mean I don't listen? I just took out the trash like you asked me to."
AKA- I did what you asked, I "solved" the problem, so why on Earth would you be upset?

2. Compromise isn't as it sounds
Most couples are taught that compromise is the key. Compromise is often taught that one partner must "heed" to the other at different times to make one another happy…

I'll be the first to tell you, if one person is forced to "heed" to the other, resentment is often dealt with in the end. Just believe me...

In order to prevent the resentment that often follows the above situation, create a new solution all together. This way neither one of you "gets their way", but you settle on something that you can both live with even if it wasn't your first choice.

3. Talk about fighting before you fight
Come up with a plan about how you are going to treat each other when a disagreement arises.
Once Joe and I set these guidelines and expectations of each other when we got into an argument, I now had boundaries that got me into a lot less trouble.

When I would previously "fight", I was the scream, kick, fight, say all kinds of things I would later regret kind of girl. I was irrational, rude and downright dramatic.

Once Joe brought it to my attention that he felt disrespected when I fought that way, I was able to pause, take a deep breath and think before I did or said something irrational.
I also let Joe know that I didn't need him to fix things in the middle of a fight, but instead listen when I was explaining the feelings I was experiencing. This made it to where I felt like he was putting himself in my shoes instead of trying to just patch things over.

I know we will only continue to learn (the hard way) how to co-exist in this crazy world… but for now do you have any tips or tricks for when you fight?

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  1. Love this, I think we are often too afraid to bring up the harsher realities of marriage/cohabitating. I agree with your last point the most, the need to talk about how you're going to fight. I've learned to preface my angered statements with, "I'm not starting a fight or being mean, but I just want to tell you how I feel about...."

  2. Fighting is such a learned part of marriage. So humbling, so honest, and yet so quick to magnify the little holes and pock marks we have within ourselves. Ugh. It's been so important for us to learn AND ACKNOWLEDGE each other's hot spots so that we can't play dumb in the midst of an argument and wind the other up on purpose... It hasn't been easy, but it's been so vital and so helpful in helping us look at issues or tense moments without an agenda that is topped by show the other you love them.

  3. ummmm were you in my house last week!??! haha!! The trash conversation/argument - JUST HAD THAT ONE! Gosh, reading it made me laugh but also made me feel so much better, just like- okay, we're not the only ones who fight about this stuff. It *is* really humbling though, going through it all with someone who still loves you even when you act like an ass ;)

  4. These are seriously some pretty amazing fighting lessons! Kudos to you, girl! I, too, am a kicker and screamer when it comes to fighting...but it never fails that I regret it in the end. Thanks so much for sharing what has worked for you and Joe!


  5. I needed to read this today so much. It's hard to see other newlyweds (relative) who seem to have it all together, when I feel like the worst wife in the world. Andy and I had a stupid fight this morning and we suck at fighting, so I'm sure you can imagine how quickly it spun out of control. I totally relate to you, I tend to err on the side of dramatic when we're upset with each other. But these tips are great, I really like the idea of setting boundaries and establishing a "how-to" of sorts when it comes to fighting. Sorry to be so long-winded. Moral of the story: great post, needed it, thanks very much. Oh and sorry for the maiden name gmail account, it's me Lindsay from Wife in Training (ugh I need a lot of training today)

  6. I am absolutely bookmarking this. I really really really need to get better with this and not continue to act the way that I do when I get upset or angry.
    Thanks for sharing - I needed to read this today.