I don’t mean that you will never get upset with each other or have a difference of opinion. What I mean is the actual act of fighting, where tempers flare and harsh words are exchanged, is not normal or healthy in a relationship.
In fact, fighting is damaging to the relationship, as it erodes the foundation of trust you have for each other, little by little.
Instead of fighting, try resolving conflict, disagreements, difference of opinion and problems by following the four no-fighting ground rules.
No-fighting ground rule #1
Don’t put your own spin on what your partner says or does.
What I mean is this: If you were to not take out the trash it might mean that you are angry and are deliberately doing something to show your feelings. But if your partner does not take out the trash, it may mean nothing except that he or she is not the sort of person to take out the trash.
Before you are certain that your partner’s behavior is meant to hurt or offend you, it might serve you and the relationship well to find out if this is actually true. Here’s how to do it:
“When you (don’t take out the trash, don’t call me, drop your socks on the floor, stay up late, say that phrase, etc.), I feel as if you are doing it deliberately to (hurt, avoid, ignore, belittle, etc.) me. Are you? If not, then why are you doing it?”
No-fighting ground rule #2
Even though the majority of men and women say they both want to deal with conflict in a relationship right away, what they really mean is they want to end the conflict right away. And that’s OK, as long as the conflict is dealt with.
Often, however, dealing with the conflict is very hard for both men and women. It is not uncommon in a couple for one of the partners to want to postpone conflict-laden discussions. In such cases, the partner who wants to deal with the conflict ASAP can use three strategies:
1. Before walking away from conflict, agree together on a time that you will discuss the conflict.
2. If you cannot agree on a later time, then share how the unresolved conflict makes you feel and how it impacts your feeling of closeness to your partner.
3. And if that does not work, let go. If your partner does not want to resolve the conflict, he or she sees it as unresolvable or unimportant. Perhaps it is, and perhaps it’s OK for the two of you to have a difference of opinion.
No-fighting ground rule #3
Both men and women think it’s important to follow ground rules during conflicts, with men wanting ground rules more than women. Why? Men are uncomfortable with women’s anger and intense emotions, and the promise of conflict ground rules is that those kinds of emotions will stay under control.
The most important ground rule a couple needs to follow is this: Stay calm and act in a respectful, adult manner with each other no matter what. If the discussion starts to get too heated, take a break and return to the table only when both of you can be calm.
It’s easy to remember this ground rule and stick to it as soon as you as a couple understand that staying calm and acting in a respectful adult manner will preserve your relationship. Words flung in anger not only hurt each of you in the moment, but erode relationship trust bit by bit, and should be avoided at any cost.
No-fighting ground rule #4
Men hate to hear “You don’t understand,” because they view themselves as logical creatures who are good at figuring out things. To say “You don’t understand” to a man is insulting him. Women hate to hear “You need to calm down,” because women are thought of as overly emotional already. To say to a woman “You need to calm down” is insulting her.
To get the message across to each other that the discussion is not going well, couples first should stop using the word “you.” Speak in terms of “I.”
Women can use statements such as “I don’t feel understood,” or “I would like you to try to see it from my perspective.” Men can use statements such as “I see this is really upsetting you,” or “You have a lot of feelings about this,” or even “I see you are very upset, what can I do to help or to make it better.”
To improve communication in arguments, remember the following: He needs to hear only the facts and requests, and short, to-the-point statements. He needs to know what he is being asked to do about the situation. While she needs to be listened to fully, know she’s understood, and often, hugged, in the middle of conflict.
You will find fighting and conflict greatly reduced in your relationship if you follow the above four no-fighting ground rules.
Want more help on how to fight fair or stop fighting in your relationship?
Get the How to Stop Fighting in Your Relationship or Marriage audio program. In this program Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries goes in-depth on the topic of how to stop fighting. She then goes on to cover many of the reasons why couples fight and what to do about each one.
- Is it possible to fight fair?
- How to fight so that it makes your relationship better
- Alternatively, how to stop fighting altogether and deal with conflict more effectively and more lovingly, without giving up what you want
- What is the first step in fighting fair in a relationship?
- What does having conflict mean about your relationship?
- What to focus on to better resolve conflict in a relationship
- How and when to take a break during conflict
- What to do when one of you needs or wants something from the other
- How to time important discussions for maximum success
- How to handle a partner who brings up the past
- How long should you wait for a change from your partner before saying something?
- What is compromise vs. what is giving in?
- Why giving in will hurt your relationship
- How to help your partner see things your way
- How to start a conversation with your partner after a fight
- Effective ways of keeping emotions under control
- Why you should not lose control in a relationship
- How long should the cool-off period be when conflict arises?
- What do you do when one partner is the talker and the other is not … and much more!
If conflict and fighting is a problem in your relationship, you, your partner
and your relationship will greatly benefit from this audio program!
Get your copy of the audio program MP3’s + article & fridge card PDF’s now
as digital, downloadable files for $24.95