The Art of Battle

Sam Man WomanSometimes when you are living together over a period of time you look at the other person and you just want to bring to their attention everything they are doing that you don’t like. You don’t like their habits, personal hygiene, speech, how they eat, what they watch on television, how they raise the kids or how they spend money and about a million other things. Your frustration grows and pressure builds and one day you just let it go!  This process is normal. It also may trigger in the other person their issues they have with you.

Now you are off and running in a battle.

There is a difference between good battle and bad battle. A good battle should end by clearing the air and reconfirmation of your commitment and love. A good battle always opens up new doors of understanding. In contrast a bad battle leaves wreckage, resentment and doesn’t seem to be over, even if it is over.

The trick is to have a good battle and not a bad one.

Here are the elements of a good battle:

  1. The other person never doubts your love for them. You don’t use threats of leaving them, withholding sex or making their life miserable in some way as a way of getting them to change.
  2. A good battle is based in clearing the air. Making other people wrong about “who they are” is not a smart move on your part. You may not like their behavior or attitude but these things are not really who they are at a core level. A person is much more than their behavior or actions. Attacking someone by making it “really personal” creates the other person feeling wrong about “who” they are. They will attack back the same way. For example, sentences like:  “You have always been this way…you are just like your mother…or…you have always been (stupid, lazy, uncaring etc.)”  are ways of hurting the other person but have no real lasting value. You may get an emotional rise out of them but this kind of attack can cause some long-term resentment.

Also, People will often live up to the reputation you give them! So be careful.

  1. Good battle has no need to win the argument by you being “right” and making the other person “wrong”. Being right may feel good in the moment but it causes real problems as the relationship slips into a right wrong/game with each trying to get the upper hand.
  2. Good battle always has a time allowed for the whole thing to play out. Making a remark while going out the door or five minutes before the kids are home is bad battle and unfair. Define the battle and spend the time. Let each person have time to speak and actually listen to them instead of gathering ammunition while they talk. You may be surprised to find out that you both feel the same way about things. When you get through all the differences you will probably find some logic in what they are saying.
  3. Good Battle always ends with the sincere question: do you have anything more you would like to say? Putting a completion on a battle is an art form few of us master.  Completing by saying “…thanks for listening to me, I just needed to be a little crazy.”. or…”I realize that these are ‘my’ issues but they were important for me to share”… or I would not be able to do good battle unless I trusted you… are ways to end battle. You can think of many I am sure. The point is to make sure there is a completion of some kind.

How to always win a Battle.

You will always win when the other person feels heard, respected and loved. Getting your way is not the same as winning. Being right is not the same as winning.  You will always win when you realize that people just want to know they matter and that what they have to say is important to someone, especially the one they love. You will always win when the other person feels respected.  You can actually get you way by explaining to another person how it will benefit them to go along with you. Sell your ideas instead of overpowering or manipulating.

In conclusion: have good battles and remember they are normal part of relationship. Learn to spend time and perfect they art of battle so that you come out stronger as a couple.

From “The Journey, Radicle Articles, Thoughts and Instructions on Living Your Life as an Amazing Journey.” By Patrick and Nancy Dean.   To Order a signed copy,  just email: and we will get your information  $30:00 plus shipping





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