Fighting FairlyKyle Reynolds
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry – Ephesians 4:26
Here’s a few practicals of arguing, Laura and I have picked up along the way:
H.A.L.T. Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.
It’s what we’ve conditioned ourselves to ask before launching into an argument. I’d say 90% of my arguments with Laura are really about something else. For example, Laura has stopped me when I’m annoyed with a way she disciplined the kids and asked, “Have you had dinner yet?” (Hungry) Another time, Laura was overly frustrated about the stack of dishes in the sink and I was able to gently ask if she was mad about someone at work. (Angry) I can recall numerous times I’ve become sarcastic and short with Laura and she’s quietly asked when is the last time I’ve hung out with my guy friends. (Lonely) Also, we’ve discovered the hard way, there is no such thing as a constructive conversation in the middle of the night. (Tired) Having the discipline to think “H.A.L.T.” when an argument is looming can save a lot of unnecessary battles and get to the real needs in our lives.
“You never take out the garbage cans!”
“You always interrupt me!”
These kind of statements can leave any spouse feeling rather defeated. It’s hyperbolic, unnecessary, and ultimately not constructive. Sometimes, it can leave the victim throwing their hands in the air and thinking, “Why bother?” And lets be honest, they sometimes take out the garbage cans, don’t they? A few years ago, there was that one time they didn’t interrupt you, right? Keeping the conversation from absolutes allows encouraging dialogue. We’ve worked hard at eliminating these kind of statements from our arguments.
Welp, there’s just a couple tools Laura and I have adopted along the way.
What practical tools have you used in your marriage in order to fight fairly?
Kyle Reynolds is the director of young adults at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, Washington. He graduated from Northwest University with a degree in youth ministry and is slowly getting his Masters of Divinity from Multnomah Seminary. He has been a full-time vocational minister for the past 12 years within various denominations. He even started and stopped a church a few years back but that’s a whole other story. Kyle is married to a sassy girl named, Laura and they have two boys, Lincoln and Sawyer. He enjoys speaking, writing, playing cards, and a glass of Mac n Jacks. Oh, and he’s still surprised daily by God’s grace.
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