Dr. Romance writes:
Myths and Expectations about Fighting:
There are many myths and expectations
about fighting in marriage. Couples come into my office frequently
believing that fighting is a necessary part of being a couple; that all
married couples fight; and it’s a normal part of marriage. But the fact
is that fighting accomplishes nothing, and it isn’t necessary for
couples to argue, to yell, or to have heated discussions to get
problems solved. Hanging on to these ideas makes it difficult to let go
Some of the most prevalent myths about fighting are:
*Myth #1: Fighting clears the air, and brings out the truth.
Fighting is not necessary to "clear the
air." Getting heated up does not make you tell truths you wouldn’t tell
otherwise. What happens when couples fight and get emotional is that
both parties say things they don’t mean, or say them in much nastier
ways than is really true. It is possible to discuss anything that is or
is not happening between you in a calm and logical manner that will
lead to more truth telling and air clearing than fighting and arguing
will ever accomplish.
*Myth #2: Within your family, it’s OK to
"let it all hang out" – to be as emotional as you want, and say things
you’d never say to a friend or a boss.
Whether you’re fighting or not, (or drunk,
or upset) you’re still responsible for everything you say and do. The
hurtful or mean or outrageous things you say will be remembered by your
spouse or the other family members who hear them.
*Myth #3: Fighting just happens, you can’t control it.
You always have a choice about your
behavior and how you express yourself. If you’ve developed a fighting
habit, or never learned to control your temper, you may need to do some
work, but you can learn to behave differently.
*Myth #4: My wife (or husband) makes me do it. He (she) yells first.
No one else is responsible for your
behavior. You are not responsible for anyone else’s words or actions.
You can always choose not to yell back, to speak calmly, or to leave
the room. Your partner cannot fight alone.
*Myth #5: Any time we get angry, it’s natural to argue and yell.
Arguing and shouting is not the only way
to express your anger. It’s just the most dramatic way. As a matter of
fact, it’s the least effective way to reach a solution for whatever is
making you angry.
Squabbles often occur because you’re
following automatic habit patterns that lead to a problem before you
know it. Using these guidelines will help you overcome negative habit
patterns you may have built that lead to arguments or bickering. © Tina
B.Tessina, 2010 adapted from: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage