Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day Twelve: Fighting Well

Today Kerry has us in the boxing ring learning how to fight well because he says that most of us have no idea how to resolve conflict.

His first piece of advice is to stay in the ring and off the ropes. Too many people either run from the ring or choose to not engage in the fight by resting on the ropes. Men are especially good at this slipping into the garage or the basement or the boat, etc. to withdraw from their wife.

Kerry gives us five styles of fights:

  1. The Rope-a-Dope fighter. They avoid conflict, refuse to engage, and retreat when emotions arise, avoiding conflict whenever it surfaces in a relationship.
  2. The Knock-Out Artist. The people insist on winning and will do whatever it takes to conquer their opponent.
  3. The Take-the-Fall fighter. They throw in the towel early looking for a false peace. But they often stuff their anger and develop severe cases of resentment.
  4. The One-Two Puncher is the fighter who is committed to give and take. This style is a bit more healthy because this fighter is willing to stay in the ring an exchange blows until they establish a clear winner.
  5. The Sparring Partner. This fight is not "to win" but to make both people better. No one is looking for a knock out. Both fighters see themselves as team mates.

Kerry also suggests a few ground rules for fighting;

  1. Affirm your commitment to the relationship...that you are not out to hurt the person.
  2. Wear a "mouthguard" - be careful that you don't use words that inflame or wound.
  3. Don't attack, causing the other person to go on the defensive and shutting down.
  4. Own your own feelings. Acknowledge them and seek to express them in contructive ways.
  5. Don't bring up past history but focus on the present issue at hand.
  6. Bring the Prince of Peace (Jesus) into the ring to make sure it's a good fight.

As you think about your last 30 days on earth what are some unresolved fights that need resolving? What are some unfair fights that you need to apologize for?

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