Updated: Mar 23, 2021
At some point in your relationship…perhaps when the glowy sheen of a new relationship begins to succumb to the day-to-day realities of life or maybe even way down the road in your relationship… You will reach an impasse with your partner and have a disagreement or perhaps even a heated argument. We know this to be a fact. But don’t panic about this.
We are several years into our marriages and have years of experience to back this up. You can do a few things to improve how you fight and learn how to fight fair. Remember, you’re in love and not in war!
First, let’s see if you can relate to these fighting styles or behaviors…
Does this sound like YOU during a fight?
You go from 0-60 at the start of a disagreement;
It’s your way or no way;
You avoid conflict at all costs but then take it out on your partner;
Giving your partner the silent treatment after an argument helps you hold onto your “leverage,” so to speak;
You go for the jugular (figuratively speaking, of course!), and then you’re filled with regret but too stubborn to say you’re sorry; or
You automatically jump to the worst-case scenario.
There are many other behaviors we haven’t listed above, but we think you get the picture with the few we’ve listed and can fill in the blanks about your own style.
We’re starting with the following 5 rules to consider when fighting with your partner. The goal of all of these rules is to prevent fights from escalating to the point of no return.
Rules to Fighting Fair (1-5)
1. Stay Calm. Keep your cool. You’re not a child, so choose/use your words carefully. There’s no room for tantrums in a relationship. When you don’t stay calm, things can quickly spiral out of control, and you solve absolutely nothing.
2. Don’t play the blame game. Finger-pointing and blame tend to put your partner on the defensive and can shut down any chance of easily resolving the problem.
3. Don’t bring up every other issue that is bothering you about your partner. Stick to whatever the specific issue is that has caused your disagreement in the first place. This isn’t the time to start bringing up anything other than the issue at hand.
4. Leave the past in the past and focus on the real (and current) issue. Resist the urge to bring up something from the past that could spark additional conflict between the two of you.
5. Allow your partner to speak without cutting them off to try to get your point across. Allowing someone to feel heard can help diffuse the situation and allow you both to speak about what you feel has transpired on an equal footing.
One of the BEST gifts you can give your relationship is learning how to fight fair. It can make a huge impact on your relationship and ease your mind knowing that any conflicts can be resolved without flying so far off the handle…way past the point of no return.
We look forward to sharing Rules 6-10 in our next installment. In the meantime, hop over to our Facebook page and share your thoughts on how couples fight and which rule you feel like you will try out first.