Relationship Tips: How to Fight Fair

Relationship Tips: How to Fight Fair

Fair Fighting Rules

Do you constantly find yourself having the same arguments with your partner? Ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere, or or like you’re not being heard? Here are a few helpful ground rules to set so that arguing stay civilized, and your relationship stays intact! 

Before you begin an argument, 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 more than your fair share of housework, and this is just one more piece of evidence? Think about your 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. When an argument starts to get off topic, it can easily become about everything a person has ever done wrong. This is inefficient, and often makes it so neither problem gets resolved.

No degrading language
Discuss the issue, not the person. No put-downs, swearing or name-calling.

Express your feelings with words and take responsibility for them
“I feel angry.” “I feel hurt when you ignore my phone calls.” “I feel scared when you yell.” These are good ways to express how you feels. Starting with “I” is a good technique to help you take responsibility for your feelings.

Take turns talking
This can be tough, but be careful not to interrupt. If this rule is difficult to follow, try setting a timer allowing one minute for each person to speak without interruption. Don’t spend your partner’s minute thinking about what you want to say. Listen!

No stonewalling or shutting down
Sometimes, the easiest way to respond to an argument is to retreat into your shell and refuse to speak. This refusal to communicate is called stonewalling. You might feel better temporarily, but the original issue will remain unresolved and your partner will feel more upset. If you really can’t go on, tell your partner you need a “time-out.” Agree to resume the conversation later.

No yelling
Sometimes arguments are “won” by being the loudest. This often just makes the problem worse.

Take a time-out if things get too heated
In a perfect world, we would follow all of these rules 100% of the time. Unfortunately, humans are imperfect! If an argument becomes too 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 understanding
There isn’t always a perfect answer to an argument. Life is just too messy for that. Do your best to compromise. If you can’t come to a compromise, try to at least see your partner’s point of view. Make a point of prioritizing your relationship over “winning” an argument or “fixing” the problem.

Click here for a print out of these rules–put them on your refrigerator or night stand for a helpful reminder when things heat up!

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