Monday, June 17, 2013

BookPastor >> "The Good Fight"

What makes a good marriage? Is it avoiding all kinds of conflicts or fights? Is it a happily-ever-after, and never-ever-fight scenarios? Obviously not. All marriages have their problems. The thing is to learn not to avoid but to engage, not to flee but to fight fair and well. The main purpose for married couples: We are in it together.  This book is a good read. The review was first published at "Panorama of a Book Saint" on April 24th, 2013.


TITLE: The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer
AUTHOR: Drs Les and Leslie Parrot
PUBLISHER:  Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013, (210 pages).

Is all conflict bad? Is there any benefit at all in fighting? When married couples quarrel, is it a sign of a crumbling marriage? In this book, two established marriage counselors give their take about the difference between conflict and resolution. In other words, "It's how you fight, not whether you fight" that is the key point. Dispelling the myth of good married couples as those who live happily ever after, psychologist Les, and family therapist Leslie, come together to help readers distinguish bad fights from good fights, enable couples to grow in authenticity with each other, and to cultivate resilience of the relationship amid adversity. Putting proper perspective in every kind of conflict, we learn how to measure our "conflict quotient" like distinguishing the trivial from the important, learning the rules of engagement, keeping the fight fair and honest, and even uncovering our own "fight" styles. Just like there are rules to any sports or games, the Parrotts put forth three rules for cooperation; two rules of ownership; two rules of respect; and two rules of empathy; as a way to help couples fight well. That is not all. Fighting well also produces another benefit: Learning more about our own selves. For instance:
  • Competitive Fighter: One who is high in expressiveness, and low in flexibility
  • Collaborative Fighter: One who is high in expressiveness, and high in flexibility
  • Conciliatory Fighter: One who is low in expressiveness, and high in flexibility
  • Cautious Fighter: One who is low in expressiveness, and low in flexibility.
In fact, knowing what kind of fighter we are is a tremendous asset in learning how to fight well. Using their knowledge and experience, the authors then teach readers on the various combinations of the fight styles, and subsequently apply them through five big applications: Money, Sex, Work, Parenting, and Housework.

On and on, the consistent message in the book is that fighting is not necessarily a bad thing. It can even save one's marriage like releasing steam to prevent the marriage kettle from blowing up. It creates a deeper intimacy between couples. Ultimately, it brings about greater peace, as couples learn more about each other, about themselves, and more importantly, about the simple things that matter more to any marriage. There is a whole chapter on dealing with anger, a critical aspect of any conflict resolution.

My Thoughts

Drs Les and Leslie Parrott have done it again. Not only have they brought together their own expertise and fighting experiences, they have structured a powerful resource to help all couples deal with their differences, their disagreements, and their disappointments, whenever married couples feel less than "happily ever after." Just because a marriage is not happy or funny, does not mean that it is not a good marriage. In fact, a good marriage is one that is filled with both laughter and tears, joys and sorrows, hugs and fights. It is a myth to think that good marriages are those that are without fights or conflicts. All marriages will have fights from time to time. It is how we deal with each fight as they come along. Avoidance can only make it worse. Untimely engagement will be unhelpful too. What is important is to recognize that when the fight comes, both couples are ready to deal with it fairly, promptly, appropriately, and most of all, lovingly. In keeping up with the times, the authors have also included a free app that can be downloaded and installed in the increasingly common smartphones we have.

This book does not make readers look forward to fights. It gives couples the freedom and the courage to tough it out together, knowing that behind every fight, is an opportunity to learn, to listen, to heal, to relate, to reconcile, and to understand each other better. After reading this book, readers will be reminded again the traditional marriage vow:

"I _____ take thee _____, to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold, for better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; .... till death do us part."

Fighting well, is actually within this vow. Remember that in each fight, if we hurt our spouses, we are also hurting ourselves, for couples are in it together. Thanks to Les and Leslie Parrott, we have a great resource to help us maintain a fuller view of what we have first promised our mates.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Worthy Publishing without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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