Battling Against a Battle
All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest–never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principle of equal partnership.
The only thing I don’t like about the famous Ms. Landers’ advice above is the word “battle.”
Battle is a word from warfare, and it conveys the idea of trying to defeat your opponent. That’s why it is so difficult to have what Ms. Landers calls a “good” battle. As long as you are defining your significant other as your opponent, and as long as you are handling the natural conflicts between you by trying to defeat this opponent, you will not create the close relationship you crave.
All we have to do is replace the word “battle,” and I think we’re good to go. I like the word “conflict” instead. Sure, some may say we’re into semantics here, but I don’t think so. Conflict is not a term necessarily conveying a fight; it just means two positions seem to be differing so much they cannot coexist.
This is why we call a double-booked appointment as a scheduling conflict. This is why we call someone occupying two counteracting roles as having a conflict of interest.
A conflict does not have to have opponents; it simply has to have positions that, seemingly, eclipse one another. A conflict does not therefore demand a battle; it simply needs calm conversation, and mature negotiation. This way the two parties involved can more clearly understand each other’s position, and dive deeper to understand the underlying interests in their own. They can then see themselves as partners, working together to find solutions that get everyone’s core interests met.
In fact, in a good conflict, the real “opponent” is not the other party involved but rather the escalation of the conflict into, you guessed it, a battle.
Peace begins with pause,