Fight Part 3
October 31st, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I can’t remember what initiated the fight. What I remember of it was our youngest’s reaction to it. It was a couple years ago, so that would put her at about six or seven years old. We were all sitting at dinner, when I started in on it with my wife who was sitting across from me. It was heated, but not out of control – voices raised, animated, but not out of line. As I pled my case, I caught out of the corner of my eye my daughter begin to cry.
What’s the matter? Are you crying because we’re fighting?
(A nod. No eye contact)
Why does it make you sad?
I’m afraid you’re going to get divorced.
(My wife and I look at each other)
Hey, we’re not going to get divorced. I love your Mom. I’m mad at her right now. We have a disagreement; we need to work it out. That’s what we’re doing. We’re mad at each other right now, but we’re not getting divorced. We love each other. We love you all. No matter what, we never think about divorce.
It put our daughter at ease. It put our other two kids at ease. The affirmation of our commitment to one another in the midst of a fight actually threw cold water on it. Within a few minutes, apologies were exchanged; forgiveness extended. This event, it wasn’t something that just happened; it was in a way, planned. We had decided some time before this occurred to do our fighting in the open, not behind closed doors. Unlike our own upbringing, we planned to teach our kids how to fight. And like most things, they were going to learn first by seeing us do it.
We’ve continued to do our fighting in the open. Our hope is that when required, our kids will put up a good fight: A fight that is courageously open, that moves toward reconciliation, and displays self-control.