Fighting can enhance marriages!

Handled well, fighting can help a couple to enhance their marriage and become more aware of each other.

May 16, 2018

By Canute & Lourett Magimay
Handled well, fighting can help a couple to enhance their marriage and become more aware of each other.

Francis and Angeline Chang shared this experiential advice when they presented the Fighting in Marriage session to the 50 couples who took part in the Evening for Couples programme organised by the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission on April 21 at the Church of St Francis Xavier.

“The point of a couple’s communication, including fighting, is to get closer to each other and to become better spouses,” said the Changs, who have been married for 24 years.

With real-life examples, they noted that, while fighting is a reality of married life, most couples do not handle it well, primarily because they do not understand why they fight so much.

“Spouses know that they love each other, so fighting appears to be a contradiction. However, it is healthy for spouses to share feelings of anger and resentment in a manner that enriches their marriage,” added the Changs.

In the first session, Listening, Christopher & Diana Teoh shared on barriers that prevent a couple from truly listening to each other.

“Being listened to is perhaps more important than any other single factor in a good marriage. Married couples must recognise and understand the many contributing factors that enable them to actively listen to each other,” said the Teohs.

Andrew & Andrene Teoh made participant couples aware on how to make decisions that would enhance their relationship during the third session on Couple Decision-Making.

“Making decisions well is very important in the life of every married couple. We must evaluate how we make decisions, and be aware of barriers that prevent mutually-acceptable decisions,” said the ‘golden’ Teohs, who have been married to each other for more than 50 years.

Sharing their life experiences with humour, the senior Teohs added that some of the barriers to healthy decision-making were temperament, background of spouses, values deemed essential, and lack of communication.

During the fourth and final session on Healing, Joseph and Anita Pragasam shared that as a sacramental couple, spouses have the gift from God to heal each other.

“Healing is repairing the damage in a relationship and helping the other spouse to a new and enriched married life,” said the Pragasams, who are the chair couple of the Family Life Commission of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur (AFLC).

They noted that “a heart filled with anger has no room for love” and, as Christians, forgiveness is an essential element — not an option — in the process of healing.

Archbishop Julian Leow dropped by to meet and speak to participants. “As a priority, the Church strongly supports Family Life in general, and married couples, in particular. I am happy to know that married couples are enriching their spousal relationship through focussed programmes such as Evening for Couples,” he said.

Fr Edwin Peter, an AFL Ecclesial assistant, visited participants during tea break to support and to encourage couples to ‘take home and live’ the principles shared in Evening for Couples (EfC).

Joseph also briefed participants that, apart from Evening for Couples, AFLC offered three other programmes to support and enhance Family Life: Catholic Marriage Preparation Course, Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille. Call Joseph 012-9696117 or Anita 017-6708672 to enquire about Family Life programmes.

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