Curious about how to fight fair in your marriage? Disagreements in a marriage are normal and healthy. However, these disagreements can tip into destructive and counterproductive if the couple doesn’t know how to set the stage for a civil argument. Check out these ten tips on how you can fight fair in your relationships.
How many times has an argument ended but felt unfinished? Did you leave the conversation with more hurt and frustration than when it began? This may be happening because you and your spouse aren’t versed in fighting fair. If you want better results the next time you and your spouse find yourself at odds, check out my ten tips for fighting fair in marriage!
10 Tips on How to Fight Fair in Your Marriage
#1 Be Calm
When conflict presents itself between you and your spouse, you can feel a range of emotions fast and all at once: anger, frustration, confusion, hurt, sadness, exasperation. So, which one do you express? What feelings should you present to your partner?
The answer – calmness and composure.
It can take some practice to avoid immediately reacting if it’s not your typical response. However, when you choose to keep you cool, you’ll find you have more control over the direction of the argument. And, this can lead to a much faster and more peaceful resolution.
#2 Stay in the Present
Bringing up past examples of your spouse’s screw-ups to support your cause is a no-no. Doing this will essentially derail any progress in your discussion, and instead, bring the focus to past wrongdoing. You are no longer addressing your present issue, and you may be adding old hurt into the mix.
If you find yourself wanting to bring up past events during the fight, consciously bring yourself back to the present.
What can you constructively say about the current problem?
#3 Take Responsibility
Even if you feel the entire issue at hand isn’t your fault, it’s imperative you take responsibility for any part you played.
Generally speaking, problems between couples aren’t one-sided.
While there may be a primary instigator in an argument, stopping to acknowledge your individual contributions to the issue will even out the playing field and make for a less hostile situation.
#4 Stop Interrupting
Interruption is a real conversation killer. If you always jump to speak while your partner is mid-sentence, this is telling them three things:
- I don’t value what you have to say.
- I wasn’t listening to your words.
- What I have to say is more important.
Even if you have an excellent (maybe the best!) response, exercise patience and allow your spouse to finish what they’re saying. They too deserve to be heard.
#5 Don’t Threaten
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen too often – threats and ultimatums used in an attempt to bully a spouse into conceding in an argument.
Your spouse is not your enemy, so don’t treat them as such by trying to scare them into backing down.
This makes for an extremely hostile and aggressive environment in which nothing will genuinely get solved.
#6 No Name Calling
Don’t belittle or degrade your spouse by hurling insults or calling them names.
Before you let words fly, stop and think “Ok, I’m angry, but how will saying that help?”
Name calling doesn’t come from a good place and won’t get you anything – except an angrier and possibly hurt partner.
#7 Remain on Topic
With even the simplest of disagreements, it can be easy to get sidetracked.
Discussion between 2 people consists of lots of small points and examples, some of which invite further exploration, and before you know it, you’re miles away from where you started.
If you see the conversation begin to stray, try to guide it back gently and stay on point.
#8 Listen to Understand
This is a biggie. Perhaps you’re hearing your spouse’s side of the argument, but are you trying to understand what they’re saying to you?
When couples communicate, they often hit brick walls because they were listening to respond, meaning they only heard enough to develop a rebuttal.
Try listening to your spouse with the intention of understanding what they are saying to you.
Even though you may not agree with the words they’re speaking, their thoughts and opinions are valid and deserve your consideration.
#9 Be Honest
If you want a shot at putting a conflict to rest instead of it popping up over and over again, be honest and truthful when you speak.
An issue will never truly resolve if you don’t clearly and genuinely explain to your spouse your stance on the matter and how it makes you feel.
True honesty can make for an uncomfortable discussion, but it builds into your foundation of trust over time.
It’s comforting for your spouse to feel they can count on you to be genuine with them even when you disagree.
Hold yourself accountable and acknowledge to your spouse when you’re in the wrong.
Your partner will appreciate your taking responsibility for your part.
This can break down walls that may have been thrown up and allow for more constructive discussion.
Marriage isn’t perfect because the people in them aren’t perfect.
Disagreements will happen, but if you fight honestly, respectfully, and with the right intentions, they can actually strengthen your partnership.