How to Fight

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
In a marriage, I like non-verbal arguments best. Sure, they can be just as aggravating and miserable as a good ol’ yelling match, but I think you can have a little more fun with them too since you use actions instead of words.

Take my husband and me, for example. We have this “thing” going with our bathroom countertop. Since moving into our new house, we’ve kept the vanity clear of cosmetics and cleaners. Whenever my husband leaves out sunscreen or the like, I put it back up in his cabinet for him. Well, the other day, I left something out (Yeah, I know. Shame, shame, Linda Kay), and he put it away for me, (in the wrong place, mind you), only to leave THREE of his items out. So, now…. It’s on.

Confession Time: OK, I admit. I might’ve put it away myself, but I gotta use
this as an example for the rest of my blog, so please work with me here.
The whole ordeal made me think of writing (yeah, imagine that:)). In telling a romance story, a writer has to delve into the dynamics of a relationship between the hero and heroine. You can throw in as many plot twists, plane crashes, psycho stalkers, and surprise babies as you like, but somewhere in there, the two main characters are still going to have internal, emotional differences, whether they be difference of opinion, morals, or objectives. In short, they need to fight. Happily ever afters don’t happen without overcoming their problems first.

I increasingly wonder if I shouldn’t have majored in Psychology instead of English when I went to college. Authors deal with so many fictitious personalities, they have to figure out what makes each character tick. What are their strengths and weaknesses and how are they going to deal with confrontation? When are they going to pull their punch, and when are they going to hit below the belt? Will they be honest throughout, or will they cheat?

My sister actually came up with an ingenious idea to help me map out internal battle plans for my stories and figure out how I want my characters to fight. She leant me a self-help marriage book called Safe Haven Marriage by Dr. Archibald Hart. The book explains how different people act and react in a fight and why. Of course, then it goes on to teach us how to fight fair, but for a writer, the mere explanation of why and how can be very useful. We know how we ourselves will react in a certain situation, but a counseling book will further explain others’ motives and fears.

So, it makes me wonder: could reading any old marriage book richen the depth of our heroes and heroines? Both deal with strengthening a relationship, so it seems reasonable to me.

What do you think?


  1. My favorite relationship book is: "It's (mostly) His Fault" By Robert Mark Alter.

    LOL - but seriously, he explains how men think differently from women and tries to help the guys see things from a female POV- good for Characterization... ;)

  2. Thank you, Nancy. I'll definitley check it out. I love the title!!