The other day my husband and I had a good fight. A good fight is like a good cry (and that I had, too.) It’s cathartic, exhausting, and just as it empties you out it fills you up, too.
After it was over I said to him, “thank you for fighting with me.” And I meant it.
I was seriously grateful for the fight. Grateful for the space that it created for our full selves to show up and be heard.
To me fighting is a sign of a healthy relationship. A fight creates a moment in time where we can make a choice: Do I fight, defend, and go below the line? Or do I strip myself down and get vulnerable. Do I tell you the truth and share what it is I’m fearing right now? ‘Cuz it’s always a fear.
Fighting tells me that I matter. I want to know that you care about me. I want to feel important.
But fighting also tells me that our third entity matters. A third entity is what two people (or more) come together to create. There’s you and me and then there’s Us, which is our third entity. There’s Paul, George, John, and Ringo and then there’s the Beatles, their third entity.
I need to know that ‘Us’ matters. And I need to know that the Beatles matter. If you don’t think the Beatles matter then I don’t even know what we’re doing here. I digress…
Here’s why I like to fight: Fighting is the antidote to apathy and inauthenticity. Fighting tells me you care, I care, and we are willing to make things uncomfortable in order to make things better.
Fighting tells me that you’re all in on me and on Us and you’ll do what it takes, even if that means holding up the mirror so I can see the thing I am avoiding.
Or taking my perspective as neither right or wrong but asan experience and helping it shape the way you show up with me.
Fighting tells me that our hearts are both beating right now. That we’re both alive. In fact, Us is alive.
Remember kids: to fight with someone you love you need psychological safety
Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.