Casey and I are both extremely strong willed and stubborn people, so our fights tend to be pretty dramatic.
Maybe we should have been thespians instead of marriage coaches. You see, all couples fight. It’s bound to happen because of different personalities, experiences and beliefs systems. But what most couples end up doing (and we are very very guilty of this as well) is fighting dirty. You know, the fights that have name calling and yelling and sometimes even pouting like a spoiled brat. The problem with dirty fighting is that you end up arguing about the behavior during the fight rather than the real issue. The fight becomes more about competition of who is right and who is wrong. We’re giving you 6 very helpful secrets to fighting fair to remember the next time you get into an argument.
A primary requirement for any fight is to remain in control. No one should be childish, abusive, immature or abrasive. You are entitled to your own feelings and opinion but your spouse won’t listen to you if you’re losing control of your words and actions. Stay calm, take a deep breath and always speak in love.
Do Not Interrupt
Being interrupted is not only rude but it also shows a lack of respect. What if you focused on truly understanding what your spouse is saying without worrying about having to respond? Tune into their words and non-verbal communications and the feelings behind them. A practical tool we teach couples is to use an object while communicating. Whoever is holding the object has the mic sort of speak. Once the person is finished talking, they can hand off the object to their spouse and it’s their turn to share.
Do Not Bring Up The Past
Don’t bring up old grudges when they don’t belong in a particular argument. Deal with the issue at hand and get real about what is bothering you. This is not a free for all to bring up every past mistake and fight from the past.
Allow Your Spouse To Speak
A conversation requires two people to speak. You have to allow your spouse to share his or her feelings and opinions as well. Do not dominate the argument and shut them down when they speak up. Recognize when an olive branch is being extended to you and take it. In order to find a win-win solution to the fight, you must understand their feelings as well. Listen well and try to see things through their eyes.
Do Not Criticize
You married your spouse because there were dozens of things you loved about their looks, personality and character. Do not make the fight a dirty one by criticizing their character. Telling them all the things you dislike about them will not only crush their spirit but break trust and connection. We know that we’re all different, have our own opinions and everyone is never going to agree on everything. Having said that, the bottom line is as it always has been. If you can’t say something nice, well, keep your mouth shut!
There’s a Time Limit
No fight needs to last days and days. Life is too short for you both to be constantly at each other’s throats. Arguments should be temporary so don’t let them get out of hand. Remember that all healthy marriages are made up of two people who constantly apologize and forgive each other. If you both can’t find a win-win solution, it’s time to reach out for help and guess what, that’s ok. We’ve done it. Our friends have done it. And millions of couples seek guidance from a pastor, friend, or therapist.
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