Typically, when couples disagree, a calm conversation is all that is needed to find common ground and resolve the situation. After all, contrary to popular belief, it is completely HEALTHY and NORMAL to have disagreements in relationships. In fact, disagreements are necessary in order for you to grow as a couple! But when you or your partner goes for a hit below the belt, that’s when a fight becomes dirty. Make it your goal this year to start fighting fair. I promise you, it’s possible! Put the disagreement back on track by following some basic rules of FIGHTING FAIR.
Before you begin, ask yourself why you feel upset. Are you truly angry because your partner left the mustard on the counter? Or are you upset because you feel like you’re doing an uneven share of the housework, and this is just one more piece of evidence? Take time to think about your own feelings before starting an argument.
Discuss one issue at a time. “You shouldn’t be spending so much money without talking to me” can quickly turn into “You don’t care about our family”. Now you need to resolve two problems instead of one. Plus, when an argument starts to get off topic, it can easily become about everything a person has ever done wrong. We’ve all done a lot wrong, so this can be especially cumbersome.
No degrading language. Discuss the issue, not the person. No put-downs, swearing, or name-calling. Degrading language is an attempt to express negative feelings while making sure your partner feels just as bad. This will just lead to more character attacks while the original issue is forgotten.
No yelling. Sometimes arguments are “won” by being the loudest, but the problem only gets worse.
Take a time-out if things get too heated. In a perfect world we would all follow these rules 100% of the time, but it just doesn’t work like that. If an argument starts to become personal or heated, take a time-out. Agree on a time to come back and discuss the problem after everyone has cooled down.
Attempt to come to a compromise or an understanding. There isn’t always a perfect answer to an argument. Life is just too messy for that. Do your best to come to a compromise (this will mean some give and take from both sides). If you can’t come to a compromise, merely understanding can help soothe negative feelings.
PRO TIP: Print these out and hang it up somewhere visible in the house for easy access during an argument. I’ve provided you with a few basic rules of Fair Fighting, but this is just the beginning. If you find yourself stuck while trying to implement these in your relationship, or if you’re ready for more Fair Fighting tips, I’m happy to help you out! Call (832) 421-8714 or contact me here to schedule an appointment with me.