How you fight is what matters. There are many times you may need to have an air-clearing argument. You may need to get something off your chest. You may just want to be understood and validated.
If you go into a fight to win the battle, seek vengeance or maintain control, nothing good will come from the conflict. By fighting fairly and staying civil, you can find a resolution that will make everyone feel good.
Just like in life, it’s important to find balance in your relationships. Here are 10 ways to fight more fairly and strengthen your relationship with your spouse or significant other:
Try to take care of something that is bothering you right away. Get it off your chest when it happens if you can. Otherwise, you will save up multiple offenses until you blow up about everything. It’s also easy to let things get out of proportion if you give yourself time to stew about it. So, talk about what’s bothering you early and often.
Keep it private
There is one rule about getting things off your chest right away: You may not want to do it in public. For one thing, you are likely to embarrass your partner. In addition, your friends, family, co-workers and the employees at your favorite restaurant or store don’t need to know about your personal problems. Save what’s bothering you until you can have some time alone.
It is okay to argue in front of your kids as long as you set a good example of how to fight. If you can do it calmly and rationally, then it will actually help them learn how to handle an argument. If you can’t, then put it aside until you’re alone.
Try not to overact to the situation. When you stay calm, you can more effectively get your point across, and you will be able to consider the other person’s viewpoint. If you need to cool off before you talk about it, then let your partner know you need a few minutes.
Vague complaints are nearly impossible to resolve. If you say, “You never listen to me,” that’s hard to work on. If you say, “I wish you would stop watching TV so we can talk about this,” your partner can do that.
Stay on topic
Focus on the particular reason that started the argument. Don’t throw old issues or hurts into the conversation. It makes it more difficult to stay focused on the argument at hand and reach a compromise. Besides, it’s just a dirty way to fight.
Talk about feelings
If you say “I feel…” rather than just stating a complaint, it can help the other person understand why the situation is bothering. You might normally say, “You always stay out late with your friends.” If instead you say, “I feel like you don’t want to spend time with me when you stay out late with your friends,” your spouse will understand why you feel the way you do.
No name calling
If you name call or make insulting remarks, you are attacking a person’s character rather than addressing the behavior that’s bothering you. You may call your spouse “boring” when what you really want is to go out as a couple and do more things. Your partner is just going to feel attacked and think there is something wrong with them.
Most situations are not black and white but shades of gray. In an argument, typically no one is completely right or completely wrong. The reality is somewhere in the middle. You will most likely need to come up with a compromise that makes you both happy.
Take a break
You may not be able to resolve a situation the first time you argue about it. It’s okay to take a break from it and agree to come back to it at another time. Taking a break may also give you time to think about the issue from the other person’s perspective. When you come back to it, you both may be able to talk about it more rationally and find a middle ground.
Agree to disagree
Sometimes you may have to agree to disagree. There are some arguments you may never completely resolve. You just need to reach a place that you both can live with.
If you are in a relationship, you will have fights. The key is to fight fairly. You can actually strengthen your relationship and improve your understanding of each other. Do you have tips for how to fight fairly?