Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – Day 13: Love Fights Fair
Disagreements are bound to arise in a marriage. When you decided to commit yourself to another person, you brought your own personal baggage to the relationship. Not only did you bring all of the good things, like your dreams and aspirations, but also past hurts and your own imperfections. From the moment you said ‘I do’ you really start to discover all of the other person’s flaws. It can be very eye-opening and shocking!
Now that you are spending much of your time together, the things that maybe were more concealed or not known about the other person are starting to rear their ugly heads. That façade is no longer present, but you see the real person. Aside from this reality, life can also start to weigh you down. Perhaps you’re facing stress from work or family issues, maybe your health is suffering, and these issues just add to the fire. This just allowed for disagreements to ensue. The arguments started. Both get hurt. Every couple experiences it, but sadly, not all are able to survive it.
The most damage that often occurs in a relationship is done in the midst of conflict. The Love Dare says that it is in those moments that our pride is the strongest, our anger is the hottest, we’re the most selfish and judgmental, our words are the most poisonous and we make the worst decisions. I couldn’t agree with that more. But if we choose to let love in, we can make changes. It allows us to see the true value of our relationship and not to allow us to do permanent damage to our relationship. Love reminds us that any conflict can be turned into something good, a way to draw closer together, if we allow it to. Couples that have faced challenges and have learned to work through those challenges come out stronger on the other side. Their relationship is more trusting, more intimate. There is a much deeper connection that forms as a result.
The Love Dare suggested that establishing “rules of engagement” and to set two types of boundaries when conflict arises. “We” boundaries and “me” boundaries.
The “we” boundaries are those that are set up by both you and your significant other before a fight starts. Both have the ability to enforce them. Some examples as stated in The Love Dare could be 1) never mention divorce, 2) we will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past, 3) we will never fight in public, 4) we will call a “time out” if the conflict escalates to a damaging level, 5) we will never touch one another in a harmful way, 6) we will never go to bed angry, and 7) failure is not an option…whatever it takes, we will work this out.
The “me” boundaries are those that you personally set for yourself. The Love Dare suggested the following: 1) Listening before speaking. If you make the choice to listen first, you have the advantage. It’s better to ask questions rather than make assumptions. 2) Deal with your own issues up-front. 3) Speak gently without raising your voice. The more heated you get, the more heated your significant other will get. If you keep humble and calm, they will respond similarly.
The section concluded stating: “Love is not a fight but it is always worth fighting for.”
Dare for Day 13:
Question for pondering: If your spouse participated with you, what was their response? What rules did you write for yourself?
Well I didn’t have the opportunity to bring this up with Scott today, unfortunately. But I do think the rules suggested for ‘me’ are ones that I can definitely work on. I think the main one I want to work on is listening prior to speaking. Scott can often times take a while to say what he’s thinking/feeling, and I have in the past become impatient with this. But I know it will only benefit our relationship and help our communication if I’m able to be patient with him and let him gather his thoughts, regardless of how long it takes. That will show him that I really want to hear what he thinks instead of getting impatient with him.
By the way, today is our 2 year anniversary. I didn’t think we’d see it come, admittedly. But I’m glad we’ve been able to last these 2 years…and I’m really hopefully that we can “hold on” for many more to come! 🙂
Day 13 down, 27 to go!