Fighting Fair

Love is not irritable or resentful

I Cor 13:5

     The fiercest fights are over the smallest things. Raised voices, sharp words, cold looks, sarcastic tone – over mayo vs. miracle whip, seat up or seat down, presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morn. Fighting wouldn’t be so bad if we did it the right way: hashing out the issue rather than pointing out the flaws of the person on the other side. Not fighting would be even better if we didn’t hold onto the irritation and resentment. There are few things that cause an internal cacophony like unspoken resentment: every good and kind word is drowned out. Few things can create relational static like irritation; loving gestures and happy smiles can’t be seen for the snow. Facing conflict isn’t easy, but it’s inevitable when two or more imperfect people come together. So how do we quiet this life noise, letting go of resentment and irritation, making room to love and be loved?

Find the courage to admit something’s not right.

Fight Fair: the point of a fight isn’t to win, but to create a reality where love flourishes.

This is what my parents taught me about fighting:

If it’s something small, not worth a fight, then let it go – no bringing it up at a later date.

If it’s something that cannot be let go of, face the conflict. Remember, once words are said, they cannot be unsaid – speak to correct the situation, not punish another.

I can’t say I always follow these rules of engagement, but I try. It’s amazing how much quieter it is in my heart, mind, and soul when I do.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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