How to stop a fight by one simple sentence
We all argue - but we can learn to do it the right way.
I have never understood those couples who say they never fight. I can’t identify with it, and I also don’t think it’s very healthy. On the other end of the spectrum, fighting or arguing can be a relationship killer if not handled healthily.
Arguing is healthy. When two different people come together with differences of opinion and baggage from being human, it’s inevitable for there to be a spat in the mix. What’s not healthy, is when it’s taken to extremes.
There have been times in my marriage where I wished that my husband and I could get along better. Everyday, I felt like my marriage was a battlefield, and if I stepped on a mine, everything would explode. I wasn’t arguing with my husband, I was fighting my enemy. And, as it turns out, I was fighting the wrong enemy.
Communication is key
When one of you isn’t in a healthy place, or communicating healthily, it makes it very hard for the other person to try and gets things back on track. It’s almost like trying to clean oil with oil. The more you add, the worse it gets. But there is a phrase that my husband and I learned long ago, that seems to turn things around every single time our discussion gets turns into something a little more aggressive.
Do you ever, in your relationship, experience that when one of you is out of whack, the other fills in the gap? If you do, this is very normal. All it is, is working as a team to keep the marriage functioning healthily. Now, when you are both on track, well…the stars align. But keeping it that way is difficult. Relationships are difficult. They take effort, humility, and a whole lot of grace. But when your communication is lacking, then things can get ugly. Check out my communication tips post.
How to stop a fight in its tracks
Communication is kind of an art form. You have to learn how to do it, and then continue to practice it or you will forget how to do it. That’s why, I always refer back to my trusty phrase when things begin to heat up.
Are you ready? It goes like this.
The one sentence that stops a fight every single time
okay, okay, you ALSO need to open your eyes, and give them the most irresistible puppy dog stare, and then say this.
“I am not your enemy.”
That’s it! Well, then you should probably take responsibility if you did something wrong, and maybe muster up a little kiss and hug, but that one sentence does the trick every time. I should also probably give you a little back story as to why this works for us so well.
When you think of the root cause of why people argue, it’s not because you don’t love one another. It’s not because you no longer care, even though it may seem that way in the midst of an argument. But if can take a step back from the situation, and let your emotions subside, you will begin to realize, on most occasions, that what you are fighting about isn’t worth tearing one another apart. In my case, when I do this, I realize it isn’t even worth being right - even though I WAS right ;-)
Thinking about saying this phrase when you aren’t currently fighting with your spouse, is easy to do, right? But when things are all fired up, it’s SO hard to come to place where you can say…”I am not your enemy.”
This phrase, this one simple phrase, does a few things.
It helps the other person look at you differently from the moment you say it. Because the reality is, you aren’t their enemy, but they may have been treating you like you were.
It also isn’t accusatory, critical, or casting blame, which only causes the other person to put up their armor and fire back. It’s stating the simple fact that you are not one another’s enemy, so there is no reason for an argument. It’s reminding one another that you’re still on the same team.
There could be reason for a healthy discussion and disagreement, but there is no reason for a fight to escalade to anger and resentment. You will both regret it after the fact, and instead of resolving and restoring your relationship, you’re tearing down and criticizing. Even though you will most likely work it out after the fact, you will, over time, begin to cause wounds that become harder and harder to heal. Trust me, we were there before. And continually allowing for arguments to reach unhealthy levels, WILL begin to wear you both down.
Here’s a few tips on what you shouldn’t say during a fight.
So, who is the real enemy if it’s not your spouse?
THE DEVEL MADE ME DO IT! Nope.
I believe, because of my faith, that there is an element of the enemy (Satan) working to destroy families and marriages. If he can destroy a family, he can pretty much begin to try destroy the world. Try he will, but succeed he won’t, because Christ has already defeated him - he no longer has power over us as God’s people. He does, unfortunately still, have an influence, but it’s always our choice to give in or not. All the more reason why we should pray and pursue God in our own personal lives.
That being said, recognizing that our enemy is not one another, but the actual enemy, we can begin to fight the right enemy with prayer, self-reflection, and growth. I’m not saying that what you did, or your spouse did to cause a fight was caused by Satan. I’m saying that we still make a conscious choice to give in to what our selfishness wants, but the spiritual realm is also very much apart of it.
If you’re not a Bible believing person, you might be a little freaked out or confused by what I’m saying. Please feel free to message me anytime if you have questions or responses to this topic.
Because a lot of what I write about stems from my faith, I will always look at things from a spiritual perspective. But I also want to give tips and ideas to those of you who have a different faith or belief than I do. We can all learn something here, whether you are atheist, muslim, christian, jewish, etc.
It all goes back to that one phrase, “I am not your enemy,” making sure your partner knows that you are not their enemy, and they are not yours. I can’t tell you how many time we have dissolved a fight, when one of us says this to the other person.
I hope it helps you find resolution and restoration, instead of fueling the fire with criticism and resentment.