I always believed all fights were unfair …unfair to me that is …because I lost most of them. Growing up in a small mohalla (community) of New Delhi, we were a group of around 20 kids from 6 different families, ranging from 3 to 16 in age. We played together in the evenings and there were as many fights as there were games. I lost most of the times( 98% of the times …I was a chubby kid and totally lacked any physical strength) The few fights , I did win were against kids much younger to me therefore it was unfair to them( I lost to them occasionally too…but thats another thing!!) I was so keen on winning the arguments and fights laid out in front of me that I would resort to all kinds of tantrums……screaming …. fake tears were shed….My mother mostly intervened with a sagely ” fight fair ” advisory. She and other elders decided what was fair and if you cannot be fair you cannot play anymore…. life was simple then.
Physical fights ave rules laid out most of the time…don’t poke eyes, don’t hit where it really hurts…etc….. Unfairness is relatively easy to spot in a physical fight but what happens in a battle of ideas? Fairness often takes the back seat. Especially when both parties are thoroughly convinced they are right and it is made even worse when like me you really really want to win. And the absolute worst part of it all is when you fight over small silly things with the ones you love. I believe fighting fair is all the more important in marriage- primarily because both are on the same side and the decision effects both equally. One good barometer of a fair fight between two individuals is the choice of words and the tone of voice, all pointing towards the kindness or the lack thereof in the relationship (in that respect, I am constantly amazed by the patience, restraint and kindness my husband exhibits in dealing with people and I am trying to learn from him). Many times I have found that I get emotional about my own point of view and it blinds me from rationally approaching the issue at hand. In the end , I am not as happy as I thought I would be after winning. (I am hoping there are others who have been in situations like these….)
The scene from Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks starrer You got mail comes to mind where Meg ryan’s character speaks some harsh words to her business rival Joe fox(played by Hanks) which is against her nature and is something she never usually is able to do. However after speaking her mind she confesses to her online friend (Hanks again !) that she feels horrible! How true is that …..
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias wrote this in his book, I, Isaac take thee Rebekah;
One impression of any relationship that stands out and remembered is the level of kindness or unkindness demonstrated between a husband and wife. The First is refreshing; the latter is discomforting. I would go so far as to say that there is never a reason to be unkind. There may be reasons to struggle. After all two wills are merging into one. There are constant compromises and surrenders demanded, but there is never a resaon to be unkind, particularly when you are tampering with the very fragile nature of a person’s sensibilities. I have seen love maimed and even killed by unkind words. Unkindness can be the hatpin to the heart of love and bleed it to death. Lives and dispositions are much more fragile than e think . Every relation ship should be marked ” Fragile: handle with care”.
I am writing this post fresh off a ‘discussion’ with my husband where we both were on a different page and disagreeing. He heard me out patiently and discussed what he believed was right and his reasons for thinking so. After a lot of back and forth, we ended up going along with his ideas. Because we fought fair, I am feeling good about the decision we took together. It became collaborative not single-sided. In our marriage we strive to be kind and patient with one another. It helps that we share a common core-beliefs, values and culture and a common definition of fairness.
Fight fair and without getting historical (without bringing what happened in 1954 into the fights of today ) or hysterical (yeah that doesn’t help either!) is possible and then the outcome is more acceptable and pleasant.