10 Ways to Fight Fair

Being a Christian doesn’t mean life will go perfectly or that you’ll never fight with your husband. We are two different people living in the same house day in and day out, we’re going to fight sometimes. Now, I do believe that if you are fighting every day, you may need to seek marital counseling because that isn’t healthy or normal, but fighting once in a while is just human nature. However, as godly married people, we do need to learn how to fight fair. So, below I’m listing 10 ways that we can fight, but fight fair!

1. No Yelling

My mom always taught me that once you start yelling or screaming, you’ve lost control – of yourself, of the conversation, of the situation. Not only have you lost control, but you aren’t going to listen to a word that your husband is saying. You can’t hear when you’re shouting.

It’s easy to want to yell when you’re angry – we all do. We want to make sure our husband understands and hears us, but yelling at someone (anyone) actually does the opposite, it shuts them off from you and they no longer want to listen.

As Christians, when we fight with our husbands, we need to monitor our tone of voice. Talk in a normal tone and if you hear yourself raising your tone or starting to shout, take deep breaths and calm down or walk away until you’re calm. But yelling at one another will never solve any situation.

2. No Name-Calling

We learn to call people names from a very young age: “poophead,” “stupid,” “ugly,” etc. None of them are nice and all of them are harmful to the other person. As believers, we need to remember that our words will be judged:

  • “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

When we fight with our husbands and call them a name it will stick with them for the rest of their lives. They will never forget it, even after you apologize, and it could shape who they become. God created the world with His words and when Jesus did miracles He used His words. They didn’t have to – they could have thought something and it would have happened. But they said it because God wanted us to realize how powerful our words are and how they can shape our world. When we call people names we are shaping them into the people they will become (husbands and children especially).

So, we need to be very careful of what we say to our husband when we’re having an argument.

3. Fight in Private

Another thing my parents taught me was to never fight in public and never fight in front of your kids. You see, for many years my parents did fight in front of me and it made me feel insecure, that maybe they would get a divorce, and it upset me. Your children need security, so make sure you never fight in front of them. Go into your bedroom to argue. If you are in public, outside of your home, wait until you get home to have any kind of discussion or argument. When you fight in public you make yourselves look bad, damage the image of the Lord, and many times you regret it because people will remember it. You may not care at the time, but once your emotions calm down you’ll wish you had fought in private. Another reason we shouldn’t fight in public is that we bring shame and embarrassment to our husbands, something else they’ll remember. I know everytime I see a couple fighting in public I think to myself, “You should really go home and do that.” And yes, it is hard to control, but self-control is a discipline we all need to learn. Besides, if you wait until you get home, sometimes the problem will either resolve itself or you’ve calmed down by that time and can actually discuss the issue rationally.

4. Don’t Threaten Divorce

Divorce shouldn’t be in the Christian vocabulary at all, at least if you are both born-again. Don’t ever threaten your husband with divorce unless he is committing adultery. But I have heard women threaten divorce because of money problems or because their husband wouldn’t do what she wants them to do. Divorce should never be used lightly or for stupid reasons. The Bible says that only adultery is grounds for divorce. So, when you fight with your husband, make sure you never use that word for any reason.

Why is this so important? Well, if we want healthy marriages, we need to feel secure and loved unconditionally. If I was fighting with Justin (my husband) and said, “You know what, if you don’t start providing financially I’m going to divorce you!” Do you know the kind of pressure that would put on him? He would feel like my love for him is conditional based on his income (which it would be if I threatened that) and, though it may drive him to make more money, it would cause so much stress that it would make him sick and possibly suicidal. Not only so, but if you use threats to get what you want in your marriage, eventually your husband will resent you and you’ll never have a healthy marriage.

5. Don’t Bring Up Past Mistakes

God forgives our sins by casting them as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:11-12) and He even forgets our sins once they are forgiven (Isa. 43:25). Now, human nature makes it impossible to forget the wrongs people have done to us, especially anything our husbands may have done. But, when we are fighting, we tend to be tempted to bring up everything our husbands did wrong in the past. This isn’t healthy and it will only breed resentment in your husband because he will then claim, “Clearly, you never forgave me for that!” And he would be right. When we bring up the mistakes our husbands have made in the past, it’s because deep down we really didn’t forgive them. And God commands us to forgive (Matt. 6:14-15). So, when you’re fighting, don’t bring up the things your husband did wrong in the past. Only talk about your current issue. If you feel like you want to bring up past issues, you may need to get counseling or just talk to God and see why you haven’t forgiven your husband for his past mistakes.

6. Listen

Many arguments would be resolved a lot more quickly if we would just listen to our husband when we fight. I know when I’m angry at Justin I keep thinking about why I’m angry, what he did that made me angry, and even when he’s talking I’m not really listening to him which is why I stay angry far longer than I should. However, if we would just listen to what our husbands are saying, and clarify their meanings, we could resolve issues a lot faster.

For example, if I think my husband insulted me, instead of yelling at him and then being angry all day I could just say, “Did you just say…” and then repeat what I think he said. Then if he says, “No, that’s not what I meant at all,” it would stop the fight before it started. But too many times we read into things that our husbands say or do instead of clarifying their meaning and then we fight.

If we want to fight well, we need to learn to listen and not just talk over our husband or dwell on our own thoughts. Let’s get clarity so we know what they are really saying and what they really mean. Usually, ladies, what a man says is what he means – there are rarely double or hidden meanings.

7. Be Calm

All fights start in anger and that’s human nature. However, if we want to resolve things in a healthy manner, we need to learn to calm down at least to the point where we aren’t “seeing red” so that we can actually solve our problems. Usually, that means we need to walk away from our husband for a time (usually a few minutes to a few hours) and really think about why we’re angry. We need to get to the root of the feeling, ask God why it’s there, and then, once we have a clearer understanding and can think rationally and not emotionally, return to our husband and talk to him about the problem.

As women, we tend to react emotionally to everything. I do it all the time! But when I react emotionally, I’m not thinking logically and so my husband and I can’t actually resolve anything until I (or he) have calmed down.

If we want to fight in a healthy way, we can’t be livid with anger. We can still be angry, but we need to have a calmer, more controlled anger to resolve issues in our marriages.

8. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

One of the most important things I learned from my parents was to pick your battles wisely. Not every issue needs to be fought over. For example, if your husband loads the dishwasher and it isn’t the way you load it, who cares? At least he’s trying to help! Let him load it his way and keep your mouth shut. That isn’t something worth fighting over. If your finances are in trouble and you feel like your husband isn’t doing enough about it, that is something to discuss. If he isn’t vacuuming the carpet the way you do, that’s not important and doesn’t deserve an argument.

If we want healthy marriages, we need to learn not to sweat the small stuff. Pick your battles wisely, otherwise you’ll be fighting every single day and that will wear down your husband, your kids, and your marriage. Eventually, it will probably lead to divorce when he has finally had enough.

The Bible says:

  • Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. (Prov. 17:1)
  • A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. (Prov. 19:13)
  • Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. (Prov. 21:9)
  • Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. (Prov. 21:19)

9. Be United in Public

Even if you need to fight sometimes in private, make sure you are united in public. Don’t argue or disagree with one another in front of others. When it comes to your children, make sure you both give the same answers, punish the same way, and agree on how to raise your kids. It isn’t healthy for your child to go to mom, who says no to something, and then go to dad, who counteracts it and says yes. Nor is it healthy when you oppose each other constantly in front of friends, family, small groups, etc. It’s okay to have your own opinions but make sure you share the same ideals and beliefs and discuss those in private so that you can be on the same page.

10. Go to God

Finally, and most importantly, if you are angry at your husband, go first to God. Ask Him to help you control your anger, to give you the right words to say to your husband, and to change you so that the little things your husband does that annoy you, won’t bother you anymore. We all need God’s help and if we want healthy, loving marriages we need His help even more because we definitely can’t do it on our own. We also need to make sure that we go to God together, as a couple, in prayer and bible study so we are on the same page and putting Christ at the center of our marriages.

So, when you fight, make sure you fight fair! If you strive to follow these 10 tips, you’ll find yourself having a happier, healthier marriage and a lot fewer fights too!

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One Comment

  • Karen

    Thank you for your godly wisdom! All 10 of these are right on and great to follow; your dad and I have been married 31 years because of following these. I’ll never forget early in our marriage we were fighting and I ran upstairs threw myself on the bed and yelled out to God “why don’t you change that man I’m married to”. And, I heard from God “Karen, who is sitting on your throne”. Ouch! (I did a lot of the ‘not to’s in fighting back then)
    I knew right then and there I needed to change from the inside out. So, starting from that day until now I have study off and on how to be a godly wife and it has changed everything. Now your dad and I are best friends and rarely argue and just enjoy being together. Praise His Name!

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