#13 IN MY SERIES OF POSTINGS DEDICATED TO SUMMARIZING A WONDERFUL BOOK ENTITLED “THE DUDE’S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE: TEN SKILLS EVERY HUSBAND MUST DEVELOP TO LOVE HIS WIFE WELL” BY DARRIN & AMIE PATRICK.
Your Personality Affects How You Fight
How you grew up matters, and so does how you are wired. Your personality influences you to moralize your preferred path in a conflict. [Note from Dr. Dave — I perceive this uniqueness more being from inborn temperament, not so much personality. But I do agree that personality plays a significant role]. You think the way you feel comfortable dealing with conflict is the right way. Growing up was probably hard because it is likely that your whole family didn’t approach conflict according to your liking. As a single adult, I began to make relational choices to fit my conflict preferences. I wanted friends who didn’t tiptoe around conflict and were willing to go at it on a regular basis. Many of us have surrounded ourselves with friends, roommates, and significant others who tolerate and even accommodate our strategies for fighting. the approach works pretty well until you get married.
Many husbands have witnessed their conflict philosophies crumble right before their eyes as they fight with their wives. what worked with our families or even our friends in conflict may not work with our wives. In marriage, we are confronted with who we really are. In marriage, our fail-safe strategies are exposed and found wanting. Many marriages struggle and die because of personality [temperament] differences. Don’t let that happen to you. God has wired you and given you your spouse as a lifelong partner, not a short-term combatant.
The key is to understand and recognize your personality and that of your spouse. It can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience to read each other’s personality [temperament] profiles together. Doing that has the potential to rearrange some of the mental furniture in how you relate to each other. You are not going to be able to change the way you’ve been wired, but you can learn to be more accommodating of your spouse.
Your Life Experiences Affect How You Fight
I was barely twelve and not quite five feet tall. Most of my friends were bigger, stronger, and taller than I was, and were starting to exert their physical dominance by picking on me and pushing me around between classes in the hall. One so-called friend felt the need to belittle me often, pun intended.
He mocked more than my height. My ears were too big. My nose was too small. And then he found the one spot where I was the most vulnerable, and it had nothing to do with my physical appearance. “Hey Darrin,” he asked, “why doesn’t your dad come to your baseball games?”
Hearing that was worse than getting a punch in the gut. He knew my parents were in the midst of a divorce. I finally had enough. It was go time! I waited till the teachers were distracted and got face to chin with my bully on the playground. Fists would have flown if our friends had not intervened. My “friend” retaliated by gossiping about me to his parents’ friends who happened to run a company that took junior high students to camp. He also ran me down to the guys who operated the concession stand at the ballpark. As a result, I wasn’t picked to go on a couple of cool trips, and didn’t have a summer job for two years. That happened because he told them I was a bad kid.
Around that time I began to question my approach to conflict. Even as a prepubescent boy, I began to wonder if conflict was really worth it, especially as I was watching my parents’ marriage disintegrate. I started believing this equation: CONFLICT = LOSS. We all have an equation about conflict, a philosophy that fuels our approach to it.
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