I mean the person who cannot rest until the conflict is addressed.
You have to get this off your chest. Your feelings have been hurt, and someone is going to hear about it. The words are coming to the surface, and no matter how much you swallow or try to suppress them…they’re going to come out. It might get messy.
You are the Fighter.
And if you are the Fighter, chances are your spouse is the Fleer.
By Fleer, I mean…the one who flees. The one who would rather resurface a blacktop parking lot on a July Texas day than face conflict resolution. The one whose eyes are searching for the exits when they hear the words, “We need to talk.”
You don’t initiate the conversation–ever–and you can simulate a severe allergic reaction when someone else does.
You are the Fleer. You show ninja-like evasive maneuvers that would make the Navy Seals proud.
And if you are the Fleer, chances are your spouse is the Fighter. Don’t shoot the messenger; God is the one who paired you two crazy people up.
Here’s the real test. When you have unresolved conflict in your marriage, one of you is sleeping soundly while lost in sweet dreams. You are the Fleer.
The other one is lying awake in bed fuming. And the more peacefully your spouse sleeps, the angrier you get. You are the Fighter.
[Warning to the Fleer: this may result in an abrupt and unpleasant awakening.]
So now you know who the Fighter and Fleer is in the relationship. Let’s discuss some ground rules for conflict resolution.
Rules for the Fighter:
1. Tone down your voice. NO YELLING! [did I say that too loud?]
2. Limit your words. The fighter can easily fill up the silences. You’re never short on words. Be careful. Speak a few sentences, and then wait for a response. The goal is dialogue, not monologue.
3. Don’t say things you’ll regret later. Don’t unplug your filter. Don’t say what you feel like saying. It’s okay to be emotional, but it’s not okay to express your emotions any way you like. You’re talking to a human; act humane.
4. Initiate conflict resolution before it gets late at night. The conversation is unlikely to be productive when it’s past your bedtime.
Rules for the Fleer:
1. Don’t disengage. If you want to see your spouse increase their volume, then demonstrate indifference. Otherwise, stay focused.
2. Repeat what your spouse is saying in your own words. This shows that you are listening.
3. Initiate conflict resolution from time to time. You’ve probably fallen into a pattern in your relationship, and it feels unnatural to initiate an uncomfortable conversation. Do it anyway. Don’t use the excuse: “If there’s something we need to talk about, my spouse will bring it up.”
4. Don’t apologize quickly just to get out of the fight. It has been scientifically proven that every fiber in the Fleer DNA is genetically engineered to avoid conflict. You’ll accept responsibility for everything you did (and many things you didn’t do) if it means you can stop talking about it. Don’t.
And they all lived . . . happily ever after.
So which are you? The Fighter or the Fleer?