Have a Good Fight with Your Spouse

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From the very first husband and wife in history, Adam and Eve, conflict has been a part of marriage. There is no way around it. Watch this humorous video illustrate how the very first marriage argument might have gone.



It doesn't take very long once you exchange vows to realize that conflict in marriage is inevitable. It's how you handle this conflict that makes all the difference. In this post, Les and Leslie Parrott clarify the difference between a good and bad fight, sharing strategies for using conflict to create better and stronger connections in couples. Les and Leslie are renown marriage counselors. They've published numerous books including The Good Fight and Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts.



Les and Leslie gave two reasons perceptions that lie at the heart of every conflict:
  • Perceived Threat
  • Perceived Neglect

Think through some of the recent arguments that you've had with your spouse. Where can you identify perceived threat or neglect on the part of yourself or your spouse?
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How might you become more aware of perceived threat/neglect in your next argument?
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The Parrotts put forward the acronym C.O.R.E as four tools to have a good fight.

Cooperation
 Don't try to win the argument. If there is a winner in the fight, the marriage loses. 
Ownership
Step up and own your piece of the pie, admitting your fault in the argument.
Respect
Respect is essential. Refrain from contempt and sarcasm.
Empathy
Put yourself in your spouse's shoes and try to accurately understand the world from their perspective. 

Which of the four elements of C.O.R.E. do you feel you are most likely to employ? Why?
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In the middle of an argument, have you ever felt as though you should stop the fight, but something inside you didn't want to give in? How might C.O.R.E help you step out of those situations and turn disagreements into something positive?
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Romans 12:18 (ESV)

18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



As Les and Leslie noted in the video, conflict is inevitable. Heed the words of the Apostle Paul from the passage above, and as far as it depends on you, work to live peaceably with all, especially your spouse. Turn arguments into positive experiences by having good fights, seeking to honor your spouse above yourself.


For more on this subject, see Les and Leslie's book The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer, here