This is by no means a new topic. Do a Google search on “fighting fair” and you’ll find many blogs and articles giving 5 or 7 or 10 steps/reasons/ways to fight fair. You will also find an equal number of results from authors explaining why you shouldn’t fight fair. Why attempting to fight fair is really a show of weakness in a relationship, and we should never show weakness. We operate in an environment saturated with “5 ways” to do just about anything. Instead of contributing another checklist, I would rather point to just one piece of instruction that should guide us daily.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24: 14-15.
There are two key words in that passage that should govern how you act, including how you fight. Those two words are serve and fear.
We, as men, choose daily whom we serve. If I’m being honest, there are far too many days that I choose to serve me. I selfishly look to satisfy my own desires and do or say what makes me feel the best. It is at these times that I find myself more vulnerable to fighting unfairly with my spouse because I care more about me than her. However, when I am focused on serving the Lord, there’s a shift in my behavior and speech. I become way less likely to fight with her because I’m more aware of her needs than mine. The times when we are both serving the Lord, individually and together, are the best times in our marriage. We can disagree without being disrespectful and hurtful. By serving the Lord, I can serve my wife better and everybody wins.
We must also fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord should stop us in our tracks when we step outside of His will or His law. It’s similar to the fear that should stop our children in their tracks if they find themselves tempted to disobey us. The consequences for disobeying the Lord are disastrous, yet we seem to forget on a regular basis that they even exist. Too often, I simply forget that I am stepping outside of His will, especially when I am being selfish and prideful in an argument. I find myself saying things that I would never want repeated, without thinking about the fact that He hears every word and thought. That knowledge should be enough to stop me from treating my wife the way I sometimes do.
When I look back at the fights I’ve had with my spouse, selfishness and pride are the main reasons I don’t fight fair. I know I am not alone. Most men deal with those two very things. However, if we stay focused on serving and fearing the Lord, our selfishness and pride will take the back seat. It’s a daily choice. Ask yourself daily the question that Joshua asked his people. Whom will you serve today? That choice has a direct impact on the relationship with your spouse.