In Others’ Words: Reconciliation

“In a quarrel, leave room for reconciliation.” ~Russian proverb

So, my husband and me.

When we first got married we had different styles of fighting. Let’s just say I was the more verbal one.

Neither of us were all that good at reconciling. I was quite good at holding my ground–and holding a grudge. Rob usually was the first one to apologize, but sometimes we hadn’t even talked things out. How could things be resolved if he didn’t even know why I was upset?

Fast-forward many years into the marriage. We were working through some tough issues — every couple has them. One of the things we had to learn was how to fight fair. Which meant Rob had to be willing to show up and I had to be willing to back down.

One of the key principles our counselor shared with us was this one: Don’t let the problem come between you and your spouse. He actually placed an object between Rob and I (I can’t remember what it was, maybe a book) and then moved it off to the side. The problem is the problem — but it doesn’t separate you and the person you love.

Huh.

And here’s another question he asked me one day: What is the path back into relationship? In other words, if I was angry with Rob, what could he do that would help me forgive him? Or if Rob was angry with me, what could I do that would help him forgive me?

This truth was life-changing for me — and life-giving to my marriage.

In Your Words: What does a fair fight look like to you?

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23 Comments

  1. Patti Mallett
    April 9, 2012, 5:03 am   /  Reply

    Desiring understanding of the other person’s views and feelings seems like a good place to start, Beth. Understanding with the intent to honor, not change, them.

    Happy Monday!!

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 12:11 pm   /  Reply

      Love what you added, Patti.
      Happy Monday to you!
      ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Patti Mallett
        April 9, 2012, 7:41 pm   /  Reply

        :<)

  2. Jeanne T
    April 9, 2012, 7:11 am   /  Reply

    Wow, your counselor shared profound truths with you two. A fair fight…..seems like this is more likely when both people come into the process with a couple of things in mind. First of all having a willingness to view the other person through a lens of “s/he didn’t set out to hurt me in this situation.” Second, listening and speaking words with care, rather than in anger. Great thoughts today, Beth.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 12:12 pm   /  Reply

      Excellent insights, Jeanne.
      Another thing we learned was to not think, “IF (s)he loved me then why did (s)he …” but to think, “SINCE (s)he loves me the why did (s)he …”
      That way you never call into question your spouses love for you.

  3. April 9, 2012, 7:36 am   /  Reply

    Wow, that’s great wisdom. I’m no expert & can’t say it any better. Wish I could give your thought to some loved ones like vitamin pills . . .

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 12:13 pm   /  Reply

      I wish I’d learned these principles a lot earlier in my life!
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. April 9, 2012, 7:44 am   /  Reply

    Oh yes, fighting.

    I’m very verbal and tend to be loud. I come from a loud family. Ryan’s not at all loud. He’s the calm, cool, collected one. Plus, he’s super private. Me, on the other hand, I need to work on having more of a censor.

    In our very early years of marriage, Ryan and I would argue and he’d be like, “Shhh!! Would you stop yelling? The neighbors will hear.” And I’d be like, “This is not yelling. I’m just projecting my voice!”

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 12:14 pm   /  Reply

      ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m with you, Katie.
      I come from a loud, let’s talk it out kind of family. It’s not pretty — but it’s talked out.
      Rob came from a nothing is ever talked out kind of family.
      We’ve both unlearned a lot of stuff along the way.

      • Patti Mallett
        April 9, 2012, 7:38 pm   /  Reply

        hahaha……..”just projecting my voice.” I love you, Katie.

  5. April 9, 2012, 8:03 am   /  Reply

    My husband does a great job of helping me compartmentalize emotional stuff. He always says, “Let’s not let the outer rattle the inner.” The inner = us. The outer = everything else. Throws it all into a sharpened perspective for me.
    ~ Wendy

    • Jeanne T
      April 9, 2012, 11:48 am   /  Reply

      Wow. Love this, Wendy. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Beth Vogt
        April 9, 2012, 12:15 pm   /  Reply

        Agreed.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 12:14 pm   /  Reply

      Your husband: brilliant.

      • Patti Mallett
        April 9, 2012, 7:36 pm   /  Reply

        AGREE!!!

  6. Loree Huebner
    April 9, 2012, 12:49 pm   /  Reply

    Great post. Fair fighting to me is the willingness to really listen – without interruption – while the other makes his/her point. And to NEVER walk away.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 3:05 pm   /  Reply

      Agreed — listening is so key.
      Rob and I have learned to “table” a disagreement. But we have to pick a time to come back to the table and resume the “discussion.”
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. April 9, 2012, 1:35 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve never heard of that example before, Beth, but what a GREAT one! When we look at the argument or problem as an object – not the relationship – it makes all the difference. Fighting fair means not hitting below the belt or name calling. Period. Both are unacceptable because then it makes the “object” personal.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 3:06 pm   /  Reply

      Donna — no name calling at all.
      Rob and I decided that early, early on in our marriage. We watched other couples do that “in fun” — and didn’t like it at all.

  8. April 9, 2012, 1:41 pm   /  Reply

    Wow, Beth, such wisdom here. I tend to bottle things inside until they explode in an ugly, blubbery meltdown. My poor husband usually doesn’t know what hit him. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the insights you shared today.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 3:07 pm   /  Reply

      Rob and I have had to be careful of what I call “one sided” conversations — where one or the other of us have an argument all by ourselves — not bothering to include the other person in on it. Yeah, that creates a mess.

  9. April 9, 2012, 2:18 pm   /  Reply

    Sounds like you and I are a lot alike, Beth. I tend to be the verbal one (and loud, like Katie G.!). My hubby hates confrontation. He’d rather apologize & move along then have to have a difficult conversation. It’s maddening!! He has a v.e.r.y. long fuse, too, so it takes him forever to get riled up, but once he does, it’s explosive. Not a great combination of personalities when there’s a problem. But we’re coming up on 11 years of marriage and at this point, we’ve pretty much pointed out all the flaws so that we are aware of them, like my tendency to want to have the last word and his tendency to avoid it all together, so we can get past those things and really get to the heart of it. Sometimes it takes awhile, but eventually, we get to it. I find that what works best is for me to get over my anger or frustration before trying to talk it out. If I’m cool, things go a lot more smoothly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Beth Vogt
      April 9, 2012, 3:08 pm   /  Reply

      Wise thoughts, Jennifer.
      Sometimes I need a cool-down period too, so I don’t say things I regret later.

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