Couples who say they never fight with their spouse and think that is a good thing might want to think again. Fighting with a spouse, especially constructive fighting, is actually a very good thing for a marriage.
Author, counselor and Episcopal Minister David Code says that couples needs to fight in his new book, To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First. In his 14-years of his marriage, Code says he has learned a few things about the myth of a conflict-free marriage. Yes, you read that right. It is a myth. And couples who think they are going to have one are in for it.
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Most couples believe that if they don't fight much, then they don't have relationship problems. But when partners don't address issues directly, they end up avoiding the problems -- and each other. We turn to our electronic screens, work long hours, shuttle our kids, co-sleep with our kids, or we make up excellent reasons why we never have sex anymore.
The fact is, fighting is a form of passion. It shows that you still find the other person interesting enough to spar with. It also shows a healthy respect for self. Each person is holding their own ground. Even more, healthy fighting (meaning no name calling or hitting or idle threats) is a form of communication.
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The couples who say they never fight are often the same ones who are blind sided when their spouse is cheating or when he or she says he is not happy. Fighting is hard and frustrating, but it is part of marriage. Marriage is not supposed to be easy and if it is, then you are likely doing something wrong.
Now, there is a big difference between good fighting and bad fighting. Good fighting is resolved quickly and with compromise. It is both sides getting to air their grievances and respectful language used at all times. It can be heated or emotional, but never involves hitting or threats. Bad fighting has no resolution, leaves both sides feeling wounded and very often involves yelling, throwing things and storming out.
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Bad fighting is bad for a marriage, but good fighting is the opposite. The couples who fight well have happier marriages than those who say they "never fight." Don't believe me? Look at the couples you know who have divorced. Are they the ones you expected? Or are they the ones who seemed so happy and even-keeled? Are they the ones you never saw fight?
In my case, they all are. So there you go.
Do you fight with your spouse?
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