Many couples we’ve talked to through the years, especially newlyweds, assume that arguing in marriage is bad, counterproductive, and to be avoided at all costs. In reality, conflict is unavoidable, and how a couple fights during their arguments is actually more important than if a couple fights.
Conflict is unavoidable, and how a couple fights during their arguments is actually more important than if a couple fights.
So how we communicate with our spouse and respond to them is critical to our relationship. And the best way is through an assertive style of honesty, grace, and love. But arguments typically bring out a couple’s aggressive, passive-aggressive or passive reactions. And when those reactions are present, a husband or wife can start “hitting below the belt” and throwing “sucker punches” at one another, which, in the end, only harms the relationship.
Here are 7 sucker punches you must stop throwing when fighting with your spouse.
1. You compare your spouse to other family members in a negative light:
You’re just like your father.
2. You assassinate their character:
You’re lazy, inconsiderate, stupid, evil – pretty much any name-calling.
3. You bring up the past even when it was supposedly resolved or forgiven.
As I shared in Forgiveness: It’s Not What You Think, when you truly forgive your spouse, you release and pardon them from the offense. That means you cannot bring them into the marital courtroom again for their offense.
4. You bring the kids into it against your spouse.
When it comes to an argument between you and your spouse, the kids should be off-limits. Children don’t understand the nuance, context, and complexities of the issues that their parents argue about. Forcing them to take sides is certainly a sucker punch to your spouse and to your children.
5. You don’t allow your spouse to disagree or get a word in.
Resolving conflict requires each spouse hearing the other out. If you constantly squelching or putting off discussion, you’re really closing off a path to resolution and peace.
6. You shut down completely at the first sign of conflict.
Sometimes a break is needed in the intensity of an argument. But constantly withdrawing from “the ring” because you don’t want to fight can be a low blow as well. Conflict avoidance only delays and compounds the problem. Shutting down is not a long-term solution.
7. You initiate conflict at times or in places where it can’t really be dealt with.
In the car, on the way to school or church, in the middle of a store, at a wedding. These are not appropriate places to bring up problems and resolve those big conflicts. It’s really a sucker punch to bring up controversial issues in a public place or at the wrong time because that can’t really be addressed. Unless you work together to find the right time and place, you risk either embarrassing moments arguing in public or leaving your spouse with no way to really respond.
Have you or your spouse thrown any of these sucker punches in your marriage? Share your comments below.