Yesterday I talked about how, among other things, the season for fighting is upon us. I also ended the article saying I’d examine some ways to fight fairly to ensure any fights you might have this holiday season are good ones, not just big ones –or, more importantly, rehashed ones.
I’m actually going to start off by telling you a way not to fight. It has to do with the following quote and an article I wrote several months back about “Right Fighters”, a term I picked up from Dr. Phil.
Attachment to being right creates suffering. When you have a choice to be right, or to be kind, choose kind and watch your suffering disappear. ~-Dr Wayne Dyer-~
The quickest way to lose a fight is to be determined to win it. If you’re concerned only with winning, then you’re concerned with only being right. That means you’re closing yourself off to hearing your partner’s side of things.
That’s a very bad way to fight. It gets you nowhere fast –except into the same arguments over and over again.
Sure, it feels nice to be a winner. Everyone likes that. But when it comes to fighting the focus can’t be on that. It’s got to be on resolving the problem –and not just in your favor.
But how do I know if I’m a “right fighter?” Or, on the other hand, dealing with one?
Here are some signs to look for:
- The only way fights end between you and your spouse is when your spouse throws up his or her hands and says, “You win. You’re right. We’ll do it your way.” (Or you’re the one throwing up your hands.)
- You will not let a fight die until you hear the words “You’re right.” (Or your spouse won’t.)
- Everything’s always your way. (Or vice versa.)
If you suspect (or perhaps know) you suffer from “right fighters syndrome” (or your spouse does), here are some things to keep in mind as you fight this holiday season. (Aw heck. Not just this holiday season, but throughout the year. The next month will just give you opportunities to practice how to fight better and more fairly.)
- Swallow your pride. Force yourself to lose an argument. Once you realize you’ll survive if you’re not a winner, you’ll see it won’t be the end of the world. (I suggest trying this out on a very small-scale fight, not a big one.)
- When you do find yourself on the verge of having a full-scale battle about something, ask yourself: “What’s more important to me: being happy or being right?” Your goal should always be to be happy. If you’re happy, your marriage will be happy. If you think you can only be happy by being right, you’re dooming yourself –-and your marriage– to a life of unhappiness.
- Let your spouse know you’re trying to overcome “right fighter syndrome.” Be okay with having them remind you to stay on topic when fighting, that the goal is to find a mutually satisfying resolution, and that you want to be happy, not right.
Another thing to keep in mind: change takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not successful right away. Keep trying until you get it “right.” (Pun intended.)