Apr. 16, 2016

Why Fight in your Marriage?

Lots of fighting take place in many marriages nowadays. Fighting here does not necessarily mean physical exchange or flexing of muscles. It is more of verbal battles, quarrels, disagreements and unhealthy silence over tiny issues in marriage. Couples become unusually sensitive to each other's body language, speech and gestures. The positive side of one's spouse becomes buried in the negative with the marital lens focussed on what bad he/she does. What each says is given varied interpretations and misinterpretations. Tension brews. Silence becomes scary. What could be the cause? Here are four things to watch out:

1. Inexperience

2. Internal dryness

3. Lack of good competitive spirit

4. Absence of God-factor

Inexperience: I always use the analogy of the newborn baby to compare married life. Think of a newborn baby. As soon as she is born, she is completely fragile. Her features are in tact, but delicate. Those features begin to experience nourishment as the baby is nurtured. As years progress, she gradually becomes strong and begins to acquire learning skills from the habitat. At some point in life, the baby becomes autonomous and secures independence. Medically too, the developmental process varies in children. While some develop faster, others experience a slow process of growth and maturity. This is the way marriage works. Newly married couples are like babies. They are fragile and delicate in the early years of marriage. They need to be nurtured in order to sustain the pumps and pageantry of wedding. If properly nurtured, the baby-couple develops well into maturity and adulthood. If not, the couple stumbles along the line.

One major reason for fighting in marriage is inexperience. No matter how young couples think they knew each other, there's bound to be some shake up. It could arise from religion, inlaws, bills, work, friendship, etc. Some discover unfamiliar habits as they settle down as husband and wife. Fighting can begin over little things if care is not taken. The young couple, like the baby, stumbles. She learns to crawl, stand, walk, then run. The fights here could be normal if couples carry out researches about proper transition in marriage, otherwise, it can mess the entire marriage up.

Internal dryness: Fighting in marriage is not limited to young couples. It can result from lack of understanding. It projects internal dryness. This is usually caused by lack of proper communication among couples. Unfortunatley, some couples take communication for granted. They fail to relate every bit of their daily lives to another. This is a big mistake. The husband cannot presume that the wife knows what he is doing and vice versa. He cannot presume that the wife is feeling good. He cannot presume that she's beautiful and needs not hear it over and over again. He cannot presume that she's doing well and needs no encouragement or motivation. He cannot presume that she is having a good day at work and need not be motivated. Also the wife cannot presume that he is having lunch at work, so he's fine. She cannot presume that he is strong and wouldn't need to be reminded of their love. These are tiny gestures that keep marriage constantly refreshed. When the communication channel is not flowing, there is bound to be dryness in the relationship. It is a major reason for fighting.

Lack of good competitive spirit: Some persons are naturally not good team players. They lack good competitive spirit. They see jokes only from their points of view. They are selfish and concentrate always on what they feel makes them happy. That's a bad approach to mutual relationships. For example,couple should think of religion as a journey between the two. How you like to pray might not be how your spouse likes it. Or the number of kids a woman might want to have could differ from her husband. Only a good sense of competition, a team spirit wins the game. Hot issues are resolved in marriage through dialogue becuase couples are the greatest team mates. If such team spirit is lacking, fighting takes over the relationship. It can lead to pride and arrogance in marriage.

God-factor: The God-factor is very important in marriage. As a divine institution, marriage is a manifestation of the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a reflection of the unity of love in the Trinity. Tracing marriage to the early account of creation, Pope Francis says, "The majestic early chapters of Genesis present the human couple in its deepest reality. Those first pages of the Bible make a number of very clear statements. The first, which Jesus paraphrases, says that 'God created man in his own image, in the image of God he creaed them; male and female he created them' (Gen.1:27). It is striking that the "image of God" here refers to the couple, "male and female"... God's transcendence is preserved, yet inasmuch as he is also creator, the fruitfulness of the human couple is a living and effective "image", a visible sign of his creative act" (Amoris Laetitia, no.10). Couples feel dry when the God-factor is lacking. Often times, they fail to discover what exactly the lack is, they end up fighting. They disagree. They misunderstand. They count errors. They find faults. They harbor hate. They bear malice. They grudge. They lack trust. They feel disatisfation. It is because the God-factor is lacking. Marriages are hard to sustain without the God-factor.