Something we hear quite a bit, “Fighting is actually good for relationships.” However, they need to be done right. In order to determine how to handle them properly, we need to understand why they would be good.
One thing I think about when it comes to that “fighting” phrase is that I cannot recall ever fighting with my best friend. The closest I can remember was an outburst when we were little and that’s it. However, I remember what was said, and it has affected how I treat others. Whenever I had anything to feel angry about, by the time we hang out and I understand what happened, I’m no longer upset over the situation.
This illustrates two important parts of an argument and that it is possible to get by without fighting. So fighting should actually be one of the last resorts, used when we otherwise won’t listen. This leads to the first key. We need to listen to our friend (or significant other). We then need to be able to understand the problem and work to address it. Of course, in order for this to happen smoothly, we need to have a conversation. The reason why I say “conversation” instead of “talk” is because the former implies “listening”. Both sides need to clearly give their side and feelings.
The reason why fighting is “good” is because they get the feelings and “observations” out in the open instead of keeping them to ourselves. However, if it turns to be a nonsensical argument (not the reasonable kind), then we must remember that the other side will have at least one or two valid points. We don’t get uptight if we don’t at least have those. Sure, they could be based on misunderstandings, but they are valid.
If the arguments stem from misunderstandings, then we should probably explain what we really meant and ask how we could have communicated that better. It’s amazing how many disputes come because spouses did not recognize that everything they did was out of love, but failed to tell the other so. The same happens with failing to say a simple, “thank you”. Verbally expressing love and appreciation, along with actions, can go pretty far.
One piece of advice that is solid for arguments is never use, “never” and “always”. They only irritate the other more because your partner can think of a counter-example.
Another piece of advice I think is important is to remember you did love the other. If you think you don’t love the other person now, remember you did before. This tells us it is possible to love them still. In another essay, I pointed out that “Love is that self-sacrificing act of will that longs for the good of the other.”
The two parts that make up that statement are “Love is an act of the will influenced by the heart,” and also “Love wills the good of the other”. If you ask what love is, there is your answer. Because when we think of true and real love, anything that goes against these two parts is not love. The reason why “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” is because it is a concrete example of willingly sacrificing yourself for the good of your friend. It shows how much you value your friend. It also explains why we are extravagant when we are in love; we are trying to communicate that we value the other very much.
So now if we add the other anecdote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the reasons why you loved your friend or spouse doesn’t have to be the same as to love them now. You just will it, and the desires, passions, etc. should come back, as long as you do it right.
Now it’s time for a theory from me. In relation to this topic, one of my teachers told me that she noticed “girls fight to get revenge, boys fight to make a point”. How accurate it is, I don’t know, but there is at least some truth. My concern is on the latter.
Why would that be the case? Does it have to do with upbringing? Is it an issue of stubbornness? It seems a little counter-intuitive that if you want someone to listen, you beat him up. I think part of the thing is that when we get angry, we become irrational and our minds are cloudy. However, if the energy is used up in a scuffle, then we eventually calm down and are able to reason. Now I don’t condone having a wrestling match when you get angry, especially where it could be interpreted as domestic abuse. But if you need to cool off before getting into a highly charged argument, maybe hit the batting cages first (or something you can do together) but remember to actually converse afterwards.