Every couple has conflict. For a variety of reasons. Not every couple makes it through those conflicts.
"... this is about dealing with conflict in such a way that you come out healthier on the other side. Both of you. Together."
When fighting, we aim to hurt the other person. We fear being hurt. We become prideful and selfish and, sometimes, downright mean.
"But love steps in and changes things. Love reminds you that your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you're fighting about."
The text goes on to discuss the importance of having rules for fighting. Specifically, "we" rules and "me" rules. Boundaries. The text says boundaries.
"We" boundaries are agreed upon between both partners. "Me" boundaries are what you promise to practice on your own.
An example of a "we" boundary might be that "we will never mention divorce" or "we will not fight in front of our kids."
An example of a "me" boundary might be that "I will keep my voice gentle and quiet" or "I won't use underhanded attacks."
"Fighting fair means changing your weapons. Disagreeing with dignity. It should result in building a bridge, not burning one down. Remember, love is not a fight, but it is always worth fighting for."
I really like that bolded part... Disagreeing with dignity. That could become a calming, centering mantra, I think.
"Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to "fight" by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs."
"If your spouse participated with you, what was their response? What rules did you write for yourself?"
Because of the circumstances of the day and evening, Jeff and I did not have a chance to sit and talk about this. We were both at work all day. Then a rush home and out the door for dinner at church. Then rush home and do bedtime. Then Jeff tackled our taxes (just one of the many things that he does that I am so very thankful for). So that tied up the rest of the evening.
But I did think of rules for myself. And maybe, if Jeff, my invisible co-author, ever pops in to add his own thoughts, maybe he'll share his own rules.
For me... I will respond with a focus on "disagreeing with dignity." Not blowing off what he is saying. Taking the time to listen and hear him. Be aware of my body language so that he knows I am taking him seriously and that I value his opinions. Ask questions so that I fully understand his position instead of assuming what I think he is saying.