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Who's Fighting?

By Mary E. Adair

One of the big laughs, comedians can nearly always depend upon, is the one which comes when husband bashing or wife bashing "jokes" are cleverly told with just the right timing of the bait-pause-punchline. Sometimes, the people laughing are doing so with a bit of guilt, because the episode hit too close to home. Even when embarassed, couples laugh together when the catastrophic happenings in the arena of marriage anecdotes are well delivered in the "of course this never really happens to anyone" manner. It may be the first time the couple has laughed together in quite some time.

The age of individuality is here. One can't knock it, entirely, but we can examine what it has done to the closeness of marital relationships. The definition of true love used to be if you loved the other person enough to consider their wants and needs above your own, then that was real love, or true love.

Now, with the emphasis on the individual, one is told that they must love theirself better than anyone else, or they are not capable of giving anyone else a proper affection. Who came up with this rule? Did our parents and grandparents, and others farther back, secretly hate one another? Is that why there used to be such large families, so many get-togethers, and vacations with all the children included - indeed, being foremost in the plans for everything? Because, poor things, they were never told to first consider what they individually preferred?

Depression and arguing, even homicide and suicide, play a large part in today's marital records. You are more likely to be murdered by someone in your immediate family, than by a complete stranger. The second most likely prospective murderer will be someone you know very well. What has caused these statistics to become the norm? Could it be that everyone is determined to only consider anyone else, after doing whatever they feel like doing for theirself?

Whatever the actual answer, doctors and psychologists, and the supposedly more educated psychiatrists, are doing a gigantic business treating the people who just can't seem to get what they want out of any relationship, "despite the fact that they have been practicing the love yourself best theory faithfully." Counselors do an even larger business, it seems.

Perhaps it is because the words marital and martial are so nearly alike that just being in one situation causes a person to think about the other. Seriously, couples who don't get along, and those who not only argue, but physically abuse their spouse, are so prevalent, that when you do a search on the world wide web for answers, there are thousands of references that roll up on your monitor. I'm including some of these non-clickable links which you can copy and paste in your location line if you are interested in more information. Not all are really helpful, or even meant to help, such as this one which offers a unique service to the compleat hostess:

FIGHTING COUPLES Ever tire of everyone being so nice and cordial at your parties? Your parties need some life to them? Well, hire your own couple to come to the party and spice it up with a verbal fight. Picture a perfect couple mingling with your...
From: http://www.ecparties.com/entertainment/fightcouplesngags.html

No, I'm not kidding. That is honestly one of the links you can find. But there are also a lot that may help you to settle things peacefully in your own marriage. These are only a few of the many available links for the subject:

    Couples Questions and Answers
    "I have been married for 2 years and 2 months and now within the last year major conflicts have arisen. She screams and never talks and is never happy she is telling me to make a $30,000 and I was beginning a breakdown and now I am... You... Above all,...
    From: http://ggoss.com/couplesQA.htm
    Save My Marriage Fighting for Your Love
    From: http://planetshowcase.htmlplanet.com/savemymarriage-ho.htm
    Fighting Fair for Couples
    Workshops & Seminars Year 2001 Fighting Fair for Couples Seminar Dates:
      Mediation & Facilitation
      What will be offered?
      Year 2001 Seminars
      Who should attend? Couples who live with conflict in their home, and/or who have a difficult time communicating....

    From: http://www.und.edu/dept/crc/fight.htm
    Relationships: A Couple's Guide to Fighting
    Many people subscribe to the thinking that fighting is a normal part of any relationship. The existence of sayings that describe different types of "normal fighting" is proof in itself that we accept fighting as a part of life. Sibling rivalry, lover's spat ...
    From: http://www.shpm.com/articles/relation/fightguide.html
    Trauma Relief - Marriage: Fair Fighting Rules For Couples
      FAIR FIGHTING RULES FOR COUPLES - Use percentages to express how much each person wants to go to different activities, movies; for example, "I want to got to Taco Bell 10%" means it really doesn't matter. "I want to go 90%" means it matters a lot to you.......

    From: http://www.trauma-relief.com/fighting.html
    Make Arguments Work for You
    You may think that couples should get along all the time. But couples who learn how to argue successfully actually have better relationships. Arguments needn't be bitter or aggressive; in fact, the following tips can...
    From: http://www.ncpg.com/self10.html

Of course there is also help for those who seek a more spiritual relationship even though there is no real clawing, biting, or gouging going on between them. One site that offers such counsel is listed next. This could well be interpreted as more of the "one must love oneself first and best" advice, but check it out for yourself.

    The Light:
    Spiritual Counsel, Inspiration, LightShifting, Shame, Emotional Abuse, Codependence, Spirituality, Self-Help...
    Dedicated to truth in spiritual counsel and freedom from dysfunctional paradigms of emotional abuse, fear, guilt and shame. Spirituality, self-help, empowerment, and life-affirming living are advocated.
    From: http://www.lightshifter.com/

The following site lends a different perspective along with a bit of humor as it does some unabashed name-dropping. It is included to show the wide perspective of "experts" offering counsel, but also because it is an interesting saga.

    How Loving Couples Fight
    After 40 years making a living tickling the ivories, Roger Rossi recalls his experience with celebrities and other notorious people, often under bizarre and embarrassing circumstances.
    From: http://www.aslanpublishing.com/aslan/books/pianobench.html

Everyone is liable to have an argument, it seems, and so every possible special interest group is included in links to address how to fight fair. This one has good advice even if you are a traditional, monogamous partner.

    Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples - Fight Fair, Grow Closer
    Fight Fair and Grow Closer - All couples have disagreements. When opinions are strongly held, the disagreements can lead to highly emotional arguments, which could get in the way of a healthy relationship. To help sort through the emotional from...
    From: http://www.buddybuddy.com/t-fair.html

Now, don't start fighting with your spouse or significant other over which link is the first to surf, or which one gave the most feasible advice. All this info is meant to stop those arguments, for Pete's sake!!!  

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Reader Comments

Name: Robert Hoskins Email: robert_aubin@graffiti.net
Comment: Mary, while your article was informitive and full of insight, I'm left with the one question I'm always left with after hearing someone argue the pros, cons, and different types of relationships: In an age where individuality is becoming more of a necessity than say, how much one earns, or their social status (a good thing), why do we as a society find ourselves time and time again being convinced that having a relationship is crucially important to happiness? See, it's my firm belief that it's /entirely/ possible to have a highly fulfilling life without the need of a partner. But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that successful relationships won't create worlds of happiness, but what I am saying is that an entire life of individuality seems to be, in some ways, criticised, even scorned by sociological opinion.

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Name: Rebecca Morris Email: Unlisted
Comment: Mary....now the rule.."Love thy neighbor as thy self" may need to be instituded right in the middle of the " I love myself more" thing. Love the article, and gave me food for thought. :-)TY

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Name: Mary Ann Email: supermom_57@hotmail.com
Comment: Thanks for such an informative article. I found several things in your article to really think about!!! In particular the "old" definition of love ..."if you loved the other person enough to consider their wants and needs above your own, then that was real love, or true love." This is what I have always believed. Thanks for the reminder! And the things to think about. And thanks for doing all the research to provide the links in your article. BRAVO Mary!

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Name: cassandra Email: mytdc@hotmail.com
Comment: How great to see this subject finally approached. And in a workable manner. That is why I am always happy to be with you in a seminar or just in a chatroom discussion. You see things so sensibly and reasonable and have a way to (should I say combat,*g*, the matter. I have great respect for that ability. And for being "gutsy" enough to present it, say it isn't, a good way and give solutions to try to fix what is wrong. The younger married people seem to think a big wedding and the presents are more important than the vows they take. Good for you, Mary!!!!

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