Having a nice marital fight can be a great idea. Yep, I really said that. As a counselor, I noticed that most couples don’t really know how to have a fair fight. Some proudly declare, “We never fight!” Hmmmmmmm. If the term fight makes you squirm, insert the word disagreement or something similar.
It seems that most couples/individuals fight when emotion is HIGH and logic is LOW.
This is the worst time to fight. A really ill-advised idea. Ranks up there with taking-ice-cream-into-a sauna kind of a bad idea.
I have said some really stupid things when my emotion is high—things I had to apologize for. I can be mean, critical, and hurtful if I speak when my emotion meter is redlining in an 8-9-10 range! Bad idea. Check out Proverbs 10:19.
Let me suggest something better than speaking too quickly—or avoiding conflict altogether. Memorize this—MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. I am totally serious. I believe this one tool in our relationship tool box can save us from a lot of heartache.
When you are having a conversation with your spouse and the wheels are starting to wobble and come off—make an appointment.
When you are dialoguing with your co-worker—and the conversation is starting to rapidly derail—make an appointment.
Here is how it works with my wife, Barb, and myself. I highly recommend it.
We have made an agreement to be intentional when one or both of us really desire to be heard—but feel like we are not being genuinely understood. This is our default when we are at an impasse and emotion is starting to put logic into a stranglehold; we call a time out— and mutually set an appointment to return to the issue after the emotion has subsided.
We might say, “Hey, this is getting heated. Can we take a break now and agree to sit down to discuss this again once we put the kids to bed?” Or possibly, “I feel very frustrated with you right now. We are stuck and I don’t want to say reckless things. Can we set an appointment to discuss this Saturday morning—maybe 10am?” (You have to be specific as to when the appointment will be!)
If I could give married couples a gift–or anyone who wants to do relationships better–I would gift wrap this marital tool and give it to them. You have to be intentional—and it will be awkward at first–but it works.
I would love to hear from you after you give it a whirl!