Right Fighters: PART 2 – Be A “We” Fighter Instead Of A Right Fighter
This blog post is the 2nd in a series called “Right Fighters.” Last week in Part 1, we looked at why it hurts your relationship when you feel the need to be right all the time. Click Here To Read Part 1.
We can all get stuck in being a Right Fighter, just like this woman…
“Are you okay?” He asked. He could tell that his wife wasn’t her usual self.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she answered evasively.
But he didn’t buy it: “You’re saying you’re fine but you don’t look fine.”
“I’m fine!” She snapped.
“You don’t look fine, what’s going on? What’s happening?”
“You’re never home,” she said defensively.
“What do you mean I’m never home?” He was puzzled.
“YOU’RE never home,” she repeated.
“I’m home right now,” he said exasperatedly.
“Never mind, I don’t want to talk about it…” She paused and then said angrily, “All right, you want to hear about it? I don’t like that you’re out chasing your dreams and I’m at home looking after the house.”
“Okay, I’m not sure what this is about… I’m not sure what’s going on.”
“Never mind,” she said, ending the discussion.
“You know what? I’m trying here. I want to understand you better. I want to know what’s going on,” he said in frustration.
The Opposite Of A Right Fighter: A “We” Fighter
In this story, the wife is choosing to be a Right Fighter – choosing blame, resentment and defensiveness, which are making it difficult for them to work through this issue.
So if being a Right Fighter hurts your relationship, then what’s the opposite?
The opposite of a Right Fighter is a “We” Fighter.
It’s a subtle but powerful shift from “Me” to “We” by recognizing that there’s a 3rd entity in marriage: you, me and “we”.
The truth is that sometimes the “We” needs to win over you or me. This is the cooperative marriage where power is shared.
How Being A “We” Fighter Is Like Being On A Relay Team
Another way to think about sharing power in marriage is that you and your spouse are on a relay team together where the team members are you (the “me”), your spouse (the “you”) and the two of you together (the “we”).
In order to win the race of marriage, the three entities have to work together, passing the baton of power among the three of you.
Do you remember what happened during the 2016 Summer Olympics when the USA women’s 4×100 relay team dropped the baton…
At first, they were disqualified because you can’t drop the baton in the race.
Let’s take this even further…
Imagine if the first sprinter, Tianna Bartoletta, decided to change things up during the solo qualification run because she no longer trusted her teammate Allyson Felix to do her part.
Imagine if she refused to hand the baton to Allyson and instead continued running past her to hand the baton to their third sprinter?
Of course, that wouldn’t happen because they’d be disqualified. To finish the race, each sprinter needs to take a turn carrying the baton.
It’s the same thing in marriage…
And it’s just a ludicrous to think that one person in a relationship can hold the baton the entire time and the couple will have a healthy relationship.
Because if one partner holds the baton all the time, then you’re in the race for a competitive marriage, not a cooperative marriage.
“We” Fighters Are Fighting For A Cooperative Marriage
A cooperative marriage is a flexible one, focused on “us”.
It’s made up of two different individuals who have chosen to be together. They’ve decided to pool their individual talents, gifts and abilities to walk together.
This means that they embrace their differences and empower their partner in his or her differences.
Here are 5 benefits to being a We Fighter. It builds…
- Trust – Partners can rely on each other because one person isn’t holding power over the other
- Confidence in the marriage – The couple learns that they have the ability to handle challenges together
- Resilience – As the couple faces challenges together, they become more able to face life’s curveballs and come out stronger as a team
- Intimacy – Because the couple has already gone to the mat to fight in ways that help them to understand each other’s dreams and longings
- Value – Every woman longs to know that she’s a priority in the relationship and because he’s willing to vote for “us”, she feels treasured and cared for
When a couple is focused on being We Fighters, it becomes a race to put their own needs aside and care for the other.
Right Fighters cares first about themselves and their own needs.
Also, in a faith marriage, God is in the centre of the “We”, which means there is a higher power to answer to.
How “We” Fighters Face Conflict
Conflict can’t and shouldn’t always be avoided.
However, We Fighters count the cost of the argument.
They don’t mind going to the mat for issues that really matter, but when it comes to less important issues, they’re not interested in arguing about them.
And when We Fighters do go to the mat, they look to make repairs in the midst of a disagreement or argument by a simple touch, smile or joke…
Not only that, but they also measure their words and look for words that heal and repair and mend.
They’re always looking for ways to reconnect because they know that disagreements cause disconnection and they don’t like feeling disconnected from their partner. Instead, We Fighters look for the heart and longings of their partner because they have a future together.
Their attitude is that a win for the “We” is a win for me, so they approach a disagreement by thinking about what that win looks like because they know that they can be right and still be wrong.
So they’re willing to sacrifice something of lesser value for something of greater value – the “We”.
My Breakthrough To Become A “We” Fighter
The story I told earlier was actually a true story about a moment in my own marriage when I was a Right Fighter instead of a We Fighter.
But that’s not the end of the story...
Melis knew that Ann was right… that he worked too much. And Ann, well, she knew that she didn’t feel loved or cared for.
She wanted to say to him:
“I miss you… I miss that you’re not here. I know that you’re going to get even busier and I dread this next season. I want to be with you. I want more time with you. Besides that, I feel like I’m being left behind. I feel like you are out pursuing your dreams and I’m left here to take care of the household. And I just want a little bit of help around this household.”
However, instead of sharing her feelings… Ann remained too deep in that funk to express what was really going on.
As a result, she became critical and defensive and blocked her husband from what was really going on inside.
It didn’t matter what Melis tried, he couldn’t do anything right in Ann’s eyes.
She knew that no matter what he said or did, it would be wrong. She wasn’t in a great place – her mindset was that he was wrong.
Ann’s solution was to take a sheet of paper to write down everything that I knew was good about this man she had married.
So she took the smallest piece of paper – a little pink post-it-note – because she knew that she wouldn’t have much to write about (that’s how deep her funk was).
She began to write… he was a good dad, a good father, he spent time with the kids, he provided for us… And she kept writing…
So much so that she surprised herself by flipping over the paper to write more… And Ann realized that there were more good things about Melis than she remembered.
Then she placed that note in a place where she would read it every day.
Soon Ann’s mindset began to change and she realized that HE hadn’t changed. Melis wasn’t a different man than the man that she married… instead, it was her who had changed.
In the end, I didn’t need a new husband or even for Melis to change… What I’d needed was a mindset shift.
A mindset shift to go from being a Right Fighter to a We Fighter.
Next week, in the final post in the series Part 3, we’ll look at simple steps that you can take to go from being a Right Fighter to a We Fighter, so check back to read it or sign up to receive our newsletter so you’re the first to know when we post fresh content.
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