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Dude Skill #3: FIGHT – Part 8


Rules for Fighting Fair

Fighting fair involves having agreed-upon rules to which each person submits. These are boundaries that enable spouses to feel safe enough to enter into conflict, even when emotions run high.

Articulate The Other’s Point

Back in chapter 1, “Listen,” I talked about learning only one thing from a particular class (because I spent most of the time staring at my future wife): the need to repeat the concern of your spouse before responding. Remember Gary Smalley’s drive-through communication method? Well, the technique (also called mirroring) is helpful when applied to conflict. Simply put, don’t argue with your wife until you can clearly demonstrate empathy toward her point of view.

State Your Side Humbly

Being confident when I argue my side is easy for me because I speak in front of crowds for a living. Over the years I have perfected my ability to hold the attention of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. I know how to transition seamlessly from one illustration to another, when to pause after making a point, and how to raise my voice at precisely the right moment for maximum impact.

But crowds don’t talk back. My wife does. Crowds enjoy it when I raise my voice. My wife doesn’t. Crowds love dramatic pauses. My wife? Not so much. She sees through me. She also knows all my tricks, and when I try to persuade her like a congregant, she feels as if I am preaching at her mind instead of connecting with her. When I temper my confidence with humility, my wife responds.

Let The Goal Be Unity, Not Winning

One reason I quit playing basketball is that I would frequently get in a fight or get hurt. Both options are bad, especially the first one, as a pastor. My problem is that I want to win in almost everything. Yet even in professional sports, how teammates play together is the indicator of how may wins they get. Chemistry is usually the intangible behind championships. When you are in conflict with your wife, remember that unity is better than one victory. Winning one argument is not winning if you lose any part of your wife’s heart.

Realize The Fight Is About More

Evan a small conflict will teach a couple about themselves. Fights reveal what offends us. Fights reveal what we are passionate about. Fights disclose hidden motives by which we tend to operate. There is a saying, “If you really want to know to know people, argue with them.” This is so true. Fights show us who we really are and help us to be better than we are.

Fighting with Amie (Darrin’s wife) has taught me more about her than just about anything. She hates conflict, especially with me. But he best character qualities come out when we fight. She is extremely articulate, and when she has time to respond, her clear communication highlights her intelligence. Also, the way she chooses her words reveals her thoughtfulness and compassion. Although Amie is pretty even-keeled, she can get loud. I love this because I sense her passion for life.


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