By Kevin Herrin
Years ago, I was introduced to a concept called “tanking”
by counselor Dr. Barbara De Angelis. She talked about
how everyone in a soul tie relationship has an invisible
pipe, so to speak, that connects them to one another.
When one senses tension and refuses to talk about it,
the emotion does not go away. It usually travels through
the virtual “pipe” and begins to manifest itself in the other
person. The more the originator suppresses, the more
the other reflects the hidden emotion until an explosion
of volcanic proportions takes place in the home. It looks
like the exploder is a hothead or basket case when the
problem is actually the suppressor. Whether it’s fear or
anger or worry, making the decision to not talk it out can
prove to be disastrous down the road. Outside of making
God the center of your relationship, I am thoroughly
convinced that the most important part of marriage, or
any family relationship or friendship for that matter, is
My wife and I get along beautifully on a day off. We
love all the same things. However, when it comes to
taking on a task we can tend to see things differently.
When we took a personality assessment with Dr. Sandy
Kulkin (www.sandykulkin.com) it revealed that we were
complete opposites, in fact, a couple that would fall into
the highest-rate-of-divorce department. When he turned
my graph upside down and put it with hers, they matched
perfectly – opposites in every area. Thankfully, he followed
the statement up with, “…But what a team! Where
one is weak the other is strong and vice versa.” Whew!
We have definitely had our differences over the years but
I guess we’ve learned a few things; we celebrate 25 years
together this year.
This week I’ve heard two nationally known leaders
refer to the same subject and I wanted to share it with
you. Hopefully it will bless you like it did me. It’s the
concept of fighting right.
All couples fight. But how you fight can mean the difference
between a minor disagreement and major damage.
Healthy couples fight for resolution, not for victory.
Conflict isn’t a relationship killer all by itself. But here are
four warning signs that can indicate you may not be handling
conflict in a constructive way:
1. Criticism – Are you using disagreement or conflict
as an opportunity to criticize your spouse? Or are you
guilty of criticizing them in front of other people? Criticism
is a warning sign that you’re fighting against each other
instead of for the relationship.
2. Contempt – Contempt is one of the most accurate
indicators that a marriage is heading off track. Even if it’s
never expressed in words, a disgusted glare, an exasperated
eye roll, or a snarky mental remark is still a big red
3. Defensiveness – Right now — when you’re not in
the middle of a fight — you have to admit that defensiveness
is not something that you’ll probably be able to see
in yourself once your feathers are ruffled. You’ll have to
choose to listen when it’s pointed out to you.
4. Stonewalling – If your spouse won’t seek God with
you, don’t let that stop you. Your spouse is not your
enemy. We only have one enemy. And he’s a thief and
liar who never fights fair. Don’t fight each other. Get on
the same team, and fight off the spiritual issues like pride
and a hard heart that sabotage your relationship. Dennis
Rainey encourages couples to literally look at each other
and say, “You are not my enemy.”
Decide today that you’re going to communicate better.
Life is too short to spend it hurting the ones we love the
most. Conflict that leads to bitterness can destroy the
soul. Don’t let it. “I can’t help it,” is the lamest of excuses.
You have the power to decide. It’s a gift from God and no
one can take that from you. You’re going to have arguments…
disagreements… majorly diverse points of view.
Agree to disagree and decide it’s not worth wounding
each other over or destroying the relationship. Take a
long deep breath and let it out slowly. Talk it out. Get it
out. Just do it in the right spirit. You can do it. Fight right.
By Kevin Herrin