All couples fight but there’s a way to do it successfully. Your conflicts don’t have to be what gets in the way of your happiness. It doesn’t have to destroy your relationship and keep you from having closeness and admiration for each other. In fact, conflicts can help bring you and your partner closer together. Sounds odd right? Conflicts can be productive and create deeper understanding, respect and closeness for each other.
Whenever you’re in conflict with someone,
there is one factor that can make the difference
between damaging your relationship and deepening it.
That factor is attitude.
– William James
Here are a few things happy couples do to fight fair.
Avoid calling each other names.
Many couples engage in name calling in direct response to the anger felt towards their partner. This fuels even more anger and invites more criticisms and defensiveness. If you want to fight fair, stop calling your partner names. Can you think of the last time you called your partner a name and it yielded a good outcome? It’s never something that’s helpful or constructive.
Avoid bringing up things from the past to use against their partner.
While some past incidents may be related to the fight that you’re in the midst of, it’s probably not the wisest idea to bring it up during a conflict. Focus on the issue at hand. It’s so important to resolve matters and not let them fester.
Unresolved issues tend to resurface later because they truly haven’t been dealt with. Oftentimes partners can’t control when it resurfaces so it feels more like an outburst rather than an intentional response. When things from the past are brought up in a way that feels like an attack to the other partner, disagreements often escalate and the original fight the couple was having ends up taking on a new life.
Use a wide lens that’s inclusive of their partner’s point of view.
It’s important to try to see your partner’s point of view. You may not (and do not) have to agree with them, however, understanding how your partner feels is important. Making a diligent effort to acknowledge your significant other’s feelings and to see their point of view can go a mighty long way.
Intentions are also taken into consideration.
Looking purely at your partner’s actions solely is akin to using blinders. You prevent yourself from seeing any other possibilities, from hearing reasoning or even allowing yourself to have compassion. In general, we tend to judge others by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions. Try to operate from the core belief that your partner’s intentions are pure. Don’t just assume, their intentions are corrupt. Seek first to listen and understand. This could prevent many arguments from becoming disparaging to your relationship.
Take Turns Talking
You both have something to say. And I’m sure they’re both very valid points. The only problem is that you’re both trying to talk at the same time. A healthy habit to establish is to learn the art of listening. The art of attunement. Don’t just listen to respond. Listen to understand. This can be difficult but listen without interrupting or talking over your partner.
What habits have you adopted that you’ve found success with? I’d love to hear what’s working well for you.
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Written by Kerri-Anne Brown, LMHC