How To Fight Fair

It doesn’t matter who you are, or how great your romance is, at some point in your marriage – or any relationship really - you will find yourself in an argument. 

Let’s discover how to reconcile our differences by answering the question, “How do we fight fair?” The bottom line is, all couples are going to fight. Healthy couples, though, will fight clean. Unhealthy couples will fight dirty. Healthy couples will work toward resolution. Unhealthy couples fight for victory – I want to win. The problem is, if one of us wins, then, actually, both of us lose. We have to both learn to win together.

In the story of Solomon and the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon chapter 5, we see that there are two root causes of conflict. The first is simply unmet expectations. We see it, in some degree or another, in every single relationship.

You see it when you’re two weeks into marriage, and she’s thinking, Dad fixed everything, and Dad took the trash out, and Dad paid the bills. And this dude I just married doesn’t know how to fix squat, and he doesn’t want to take the trash out, and he’s looking at me to pay the bills!  Uh-oh, unmet expectations …

Or he’s going, Well, Mom cooked all the time, and we’re doing take-out again? I thought you were going to do this! How are we supposed to work through this? Unmet expectations.

You’re married and find yourself thinking, This isn’t what I thought marriage was going to be. Or you can barely get along. You have unmet expectations.

The second big root cause that you’ll find is self-centeredness. This is what I want. You never do what I want. You’re always thinking about yourself. Selfishness seeps into the relationship, and suddenly there is a problem.

Sometimes, a very small and insignificant issue will lead to a large and significant dilemma. “Our vineyards are in blossom; we must catch the little foxes that destroy the vineyards” (SofS 2:15, CEV). You can see this happen all the time. Problems start small. And sometimes very, very small things, if left unchecked, can become very, very big things.

We tend to think, when we’re fighting, that our spouse is the enemy. Your wife is not the enemy! Your husband is not the enemy! Our spouses are never the enemy. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness… (Ephesians 6:12, NASB) If that verse doesn’t apply to marriages, it doesn’t apply to anything.

Men and women, we need to be on the same side of the table. Don’t fight for victory; fight for resolution. If we leave something small unchecked, it can grow into something very devastating over a period of time.

Here are three quick thoughts about how to resolve conflict. These are very, very simple, but, if applied to your marriage, it can be transformative in how you relate to one another, and grow toward Christ, and become successful in honoring Him. How do we resolve conflict? 

When I choose to act and not react. I will respond by the Spirit, instead of reacting in the flesh.

I choose to focus on the good and not on the bad. Paul said in Philippians 4:8, NASB, “Whatever is true … honorable … right … pure … lovely … good repute – if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I choose to talk and not walk. Don’t walk away from your spouse.

We’re all going to disagree, but how we disagree will determine the strength of our relationships.