Rules for Fair Fighting: Rule #1


When we fight, remember that the point is to understand each other, not dominate each other or win personal vindication. You are not out to win a victory over the other person, but to build your relationship.

PROV. 17:27 — A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

My spouse came to me once and said, “Hey, we bounced a check!” My first reaction was to say, “What? It’s not my fault!” and my second reaction was to say, “It’s probably your fault!” I was both defensive and blaming. Neither reaction was helpful.

EPH 5.28 — Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

A better reaction would have been to say, “Ouch! That hurts. What should we do about it?” I should have been trying to see things from my spouse’s perspective and working for a common solution, not just covering my own rear end. My fear of being wrong, of being at fault, kept me from being constructive.

MATT 20.25 — The gentiles lord it over each other, not so with you.

Placing blame and being right might make me feel better, but it doesn’t build anything between us. In fact it does rather the opposite. What good does it do to win “victory”? What would I gain by squarely blaming my spouse? Your goal is not to win at the expense of your spouse, but to understand each other better and to honor each other, together looking for a solution forward.

As broken people seeking to live in community, conflict is inevitable. We all fight with our loved ones. It's natural, and can even be healthy if handled well. We will fight fair if we seek to understand and build, rather than win!

About the author — Rev. Dr. Steven Koster

Steven Koster is a writer, speaker, and producer with Family Fire. Formerly the Director of ReFrame Media, Family Fire's parent organization, Steven currently serves at Grace Church and consults on ministry through The Joshua Lab. He also leads a hospitality ministry at The Parsonage Inn and enjoys family tree research as time allows. Steven and his wife Deb enjoy leading marriage retreats and family seminars to encourage people in their most intimate relationships. The Kosters are the parents of three awesome young adults and reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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