Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rules of Engagement

As a young couple you get all this advice, one that I got the most was never go to sleep angry and always fight fair. Fight fair? Now the whole business of a fight is that there is to be a winner and a loser, it's basically a competition and fighting in itself can get ugly, I have seen enough boxing matches to know that and many times one fighter or the other hits below the belt. Now in a relationship there should be no hitting below the belt, well that is better said than done. I have found through the years that the longer you are with a person, the more you know them, you learn exactly what buttons to push, and at times when "fighting" someone is going to hit below the belt. How do you take something back when you know you said it to win the "fight"?

This question became all to clear to me when having an argument with my husband he said something that he knew would hurt me to the core. I know he knew this because of the pause after it was said, and in turn I said something that would be as hurtful. The original reason for the argument becomes overshadowed because now there are hurt feelings and resentment because of things that were said. Knowing me for all these years, he knows what to say to me to make me feel happy as well what he can say to destroy my spirit, therefore why say it? Is it that he found himself losing the "fight" and in a last act of desperation took out the big guns, and then in turn I took out my arsenal of weaponry? Why is it so easy to hurt the people that we love?

Then the new question arises how do you come back from that, you can't apologize for the original cause of the argument or discussion or whatever, because now there is a new reason to be upset. Do you take back what you said? Do you admit that maybe you did it on purpose? Do you admit that you knew you would hurt the other? How do you get past the fact that on some kind of level hurting each other is part of the territory. One rule of engagement is "know your opponent", this is the reason that the words from your partner can be so hurtful, because they are the person that knows you the best.

Though it is really hard to follow or even remember advice when you are in the midst of an argument, I have compiled a few things told to me or that I have read that have been beneficial to me (not so much last night but...) I will call them our "NEW" RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. I wish I could have remembered these last night it would have really saved me alot of hurt feelings!

  1. Pick your battles: Life is too short, and there are just somethings that no matter what will never change, remember some things can just be left alone, learn to see the big picture and pick your battles wisely.
  2. Take an adult time out: When you see things getting heated, when you see that both of you are just straying away from the original reason for the argument. Its perfectly normal and acceptable to take a time out. Discuss whatever issues after both are calm and level headed. Screaming is just gonna scare the kids, and give you a sore thoart, it solves nothing.
  3. You do love this person: remember no matter what the argument or discussion is about, you do love this person, and if its just a normal spat, you do want to continue to love this person, so please think before you say anything that may hurt the others feelings.
  4. Sorry is not a curse word: in the midst of a fight sometimes we get so worked up in trying to "win" that we lose track of everything. Though sorry by all means does not fix anything, it is a beginning and a simple "I am sorry" from either one of you can begin a dialogue that will ultimately resolve the conflict.
  5. There is no winner or loser: Relationships are not boxing matches, therefore, just listen to what each of you have to say and go from there, no matter what the resolution the true winner if any is the relationship not the individual.
I never claim to know what I am talking about, I hope from my experiences and what I have learned to maybe help someone else who maybe going through what I have or may be going through now. Believe me I don't have anything figured out because as I sit here writing this my heart aches for I know in my own relationship we didn't follow any or these rules of engagement and it's going to take a while to repair what's been broken. But writing this and seeing it all laid out makes me feel a little better and gives me hope that like the many valleys we have visited, this is just one of them and there is a peak in our future.

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