Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

How to Have a Good Fight and Other Marriage Tips



My husband and I barely made it to the altar, but we're happily married today. Here's the best of what we've learned in 20 years, especially about conflict.This month my husband and I are celebrating twenty years of a marriage that almost didn’t happen.  His proposal to me was anything but romantic.  After four years of a stormy, long-distance relationship, I was at home crying.  We’d just said good-bye after a weekend of arguing, and I was convinced that our relationship was finally over. To my utter shock, Jose stopped by on his way to the airport. He rang the doorbell, kissed me, and shoved a ring on my finger.

“We’re going to get married.  Do you hear me?” he said. Then he got back into the taxi to go catch his flight. I was uncertain and miserable. The ring on my finger didn’t make me feel any better.

Amazingly, we are still married twenty years later, but I really wouldn’t recommend this way of starting out! By God’s grace, my husband and I enjoy an imperfect, but mostly happy marriage.

Here’s what I’m learning about marriage:

Accept your mate as he is.

Focus on the positive things you like about your husband.

Encourage rather than criticize.

Consider how you need to change to be a better wife.

Respect your husband.

Speak positively about him in public and in front of your kids.

Accept your mate as he is.

Think more about what you can do to help your husband than about what he can do to help you.

Invest in your relationship with a weekly date, even if it means candle light dinner at home after putting the kids to bed early.

Know how to have a good fight! (Just kidding.)

  • Realize that conflict is a normal part of a close relationship. Don’t let it scare you or make you feel like a failure.
  • Listen carefully and think before speaking.
  • Deal with conflict when it comes up rather than letting it snowball into something bigger
  • Focus on one issue at a time.  Conflict escalates into down-and-out war when we bring in lots of side issues or make blanket statements like “You always….”
  • Make “I” statements, which reveal your feelings about the situation, rather than “you” statements, which often place blame.
  • Know when to pass over something and let it go.
  • Really let it go.

Look to God first to meet your needs.

Let your husband know your needs, but be realistic in your expectations.

Cultivate friendships with other people.  (If you’re like me, you probably need to talk a lot more than your husband can stand to listen!)

Remember that effective communication includes talking AND listening.

Respect your husband’s occasional need for silence.

Accept your mate as he is.

Believe me, after 20 years of marriage, I still need to grow as a wife.  Our marriage is far from perfect, but it’s getting better every year.

Now it’s your turn: How long have you been married? What’s one thing you’ve learned about marriage?


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

15 thoughts on “How to Have a Good Fight and Other Marriage Tips

  1. This is excellent! I shared it on my Facebook page. Blessings!

  2. Loved this blog! I am seeing couples giving up on their spouse too easily, close friends and friends of friends! We need to be intentional about working for our marriage.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great reminders, Betsy and so very true.

  4. My husband proposed to me right after a bad fight, as well. He brought me to dinner (reservations we didn’t want to cancel), and I didn’t even bother to dress up. I was in an old hand-me-down shirt I took from my dad on a hunting trip (holes and all). He turned to me and asked how long I was going to be mad at him, to which I wittily said nothing, so he asked me to smile. I smirked. He pulled out the ring and said, “Would this make you smile?” Too which again, I said nothing. LOL!

    We’ve been married 7 years, though we’ve been together now for 12 (met in high school, waited until after college to get married).

    I think your story (and mine, somewhat) are good examples of how proposals built on honesty and recognizing that fights are not the end, but rather just a new understanding of the others’ perspective. I loved your story, and I think his proposal to you was super romantic. Like me, you’ll never forget the fight that happened before the proposal, but you’ll also always have a reminder that even at the worst, you guys are your best together. 🙂

    God bless, and thank you for sharing the story. …Made me feel better today. 🙂

    • Jessica! What a great story, and a great positive lesson you’ve gotten out of it! I’d never thought of mine that way. But it is true, with a beginning like ours, there was no where to go but up! So marriage has in SOME ways been easier than our stormy dating!!!

  5. I can only do something about my own behavior. So do it. And then pray if you want to see something change in your mate.

  6. I enjoyed your engagement story! I knew you guys had a rough start, but never heard the details before. Best advice that has helped us in our 33 years of marriage is this: remember there are three in our marriage, my husband, myself, and God. We have one enemy-Satan, who wants us to point fingers at each other. At those times, we must join forces and stand against the devil’s will, which is division. When we pray, God helps get our perspectives back in line. It may sound hokey, it may sound hard, but it works every time!

    • That is a great tip, Ginger. So important to remember. Thanks. I love it: our one enemy is Satan, not each other when we’re having conflict! Oh and I left out LOTS of detail about our “rough start,” believe me! 🙂

  7. Great advice Betsy!!
    Blessings to you!!

  8. All of this advice is excellent. I am guilty of doing the opposite of some of these things listed although I am really good at a few too. This was my favorite tip.

    “Consider how you need to change to be a better wife.”

    Too often I am trying to change the things and people around me rather than changing myself to adjust to their needs. This is such a good reminder. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for finally writing about >How to Have a Good Fight and Other Marriage Tips | Faith
    Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life <Liked it!

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