Fighting Clean

I’m resuming my family mini-series which featured:

The Family that MMA’s Together and Cutting Through the Issues

This one is about when you fight, which is inevitable. I blogged this before here. But this one is more developed.

My dad used to tell me, “Joseph, you need to find a woman who will fight back when you’re being stupid because she loves you.”

Boy, I really followed his advice. My wife and I can REALLY argue and fight when it’s time. We’ve fought about big issues (capitalism versus socialism) and small issues (tofu chips versus veggie chips).


Full disclosure: This was the subject of our biggest fight so far.

The way we fight reminds me of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. First held in 1993, it quickly boasted that there were no rules. But while the concept seemed good on paper, it actually limited the popularity of the sport. Because it was brutal! Everything was allowed: hair pulling, head stomping, and groin punches (ouch!). The first few matches became very lopsided and many became poor fights.

But through the years, the UFC learned and added rules – no eye gouging, hair pulling, groin hits, direct downward elbow strikes to the head, etc. The fighters still hit each other hard, but the events are more sporting now. No one has ever died or even been seriously injured (depends on what you mean by seriously injured) in the UFC. And the fighters live to fight again. The rules allow these huge destructive people to coexist in a kind of ballet.


The danseur noble, Anderson Silva, demonstrating his reverse arabesque

My wife and I fight. And we fight hard. We stand up for what we believe and will speak up when the moment is right. But we can stay together because we have rules. It never becomes about hurting or crippling the other person. This allows us to argue and become passionate, but come together at the end.

The rules allow us to recover quickly as well. What used to take days or even a week of sulking before we reconcile was shortened to hours and minutes, sometimes immediately after the fight. We’ve even ended arguments with a high five, because we had a good match. Much like these UFC fighters can hug after beating each other into a pulp.


Before and After

Here are some of our rules that protect us:

1. Jesus is the Lord of our marriage. What He says in the Bible is what we follow. She and I have our opinions but His Word is the final judge.

2. We come together no matter what. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much I think I’m right or how much she prefers tofu chips to veggie chips. All of those things are passing but we must stay together. It’s easier to resolve the issue when we know we’re sleeping beside each other tonight and for the rest of our lives.

3. Look with eyes of faith. This means we believe what God says about the other person. Sometimes one of us is terribly in the wrong and what keeps the other from releasing a torrent of self-righteous fury is to ask God for the grace to see the other the way God sees him/her.

4. We’ve got our Jon McCarthy. That’s the UFC referee. And in this blog I said that the Punzalans, Paolo and Jen, serve that for us. They help us break any ties or call foul when one of us is breaking the rules.

So I love, not fight-free marriages, but fight-proof ones. Get to fighting, but fight clean. You’ll come together stronger afterward.

Here’s Dennis Sy’s blog on the same subject.


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1 comment
  • why cant i share it? love this made me teary-eyed. you see im a woman of faith. and in my 24th year of existence, ive never been in any relationship all for the reason that i know God has someone truly in store for me. but at times i feel like asking, “why the wait?” and even doubting whether i’ll really have that man of my life with the same language as mine and my God. But everytime i get to read yours and rica’s blog, id get encourage again and realize that God-made love story really does exist. thus it could and will happen to me.

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