A relationship without fights is not a relationship, and anyone that has ever lived with another person knows that co-existing means fights. Rather than trying to escape these fights, portraying them as a failure of the relationship, a couple can find ways to fight fairly. When the fight is dealt with as something that can advance the relationship in the long run the pain and hurt emotions are soothed. The outcome is a solution for how to cope with the situation that led to the hurt and anger.
Here are 7 ways to fight fairly. Try to keep these points in mind the next time the skies turn gray on your relationship…
- We, not You
Using “we” and not “you” is a very constructive form of communication during an argument. If you say “we need to get better at taking care of the bills on time” you are not accusing your partner but rather showing that this is something that bothers you, and that you feel it should be solved through a joint effort by expressing yourself with “we” and not “you.”
- Winner of the Fight takes first Prize
Remind yourself of the goal of your argument. What is the first prize? Is it more important to win and be right, or to maintain friendship? By thinking like this you might opt to let go rather than push for your rights which can make the fight die as soon as it started.
If you can’t listen to what your partner is saying chances are that your partner can’t hear you either. Take a time out and come back into the game when you are ready to hear each other out.
- It is not about you
If you are attacked with a nasty word or you are being accused of things that make you cringe, it is important to be able to step to the side and realize that your partner is speaking through their filter of the world. Are they right to blame and hurt? No, but you don’t have to return the poison with the hurtful blows that you know all too well how to deliver. A way to fight fairly is to get out of that defensive position and talk logically and to the point.
- Control your Voice
It is important to keep a calm voice in order to fight fairly. Just take it down a notch or so, and you will be less aggressive in your expression.
- Ask for Feedback Before the Fight Erupts
If you sense that your partner is angry with you, it is better to take the bull by the horns than to avoid confrontation. Ask calmly if you have done something to cause upset. If your partner is still in a calm state of mind, chances are that you will be able to talk about it in a fair and upright way.
- Think before you speak!
Before you give your partner a piece of your mind, stop and think. There might be things that you don’t have to say. That you are annoyed with something that happened today does not give you the right to express anger for something that happened last year. Thinking before opening the mouth is an important way to fight fairly.
Copyright © 2010 Alina Steinberg Baugh, MS | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 1499 Bayshore Highway, #210 | Burlingame, CA 94010 | 650.539.9662