They say that the couple that fights together stays together, but fighting can get in the way of your relationship. Here are some tips on how to fight fair in marriage to make things easier.
Fighting fair is not just about ground rules (although we will cover a few basics below), it is about attitude and motive. If you fight to get revenge, hurt or wound your spouse, or seek to belittle and devalue them, no fight will end well.
If, however, you fight to find middle ground and resolve tough issues, a fight can actually help you move forward and grow closer.
Let’s face it, we are human. This means we all have a will and want our way. This is not bad. It is part of what makes us unique and special. It becomes wrong (or bad) when we focus ONLY on what we want at the expense of our marriage. When this happens, fighting is dangerous and destructive.
Motive and attitude are the most important factors that determine a healthy fight.
7 Keys To A Fair Fight
Once motives are aligned with moving the marriage in the right direction (unity, love, partnership), it’s important to understand the following seven keys to having a fair fight.
1. Stick To Your Point
No matter how much you love your spouse, when you argue, you probably say things you don’t really mean. You may be hurt by your spouse’s behavior, or by something he or she said, and it can be hard to hold back the hurtful words. This is normal. People often says things in the heat of the moment that they don’t really mean.
What you both need to understand is that forgiveness is essential to marriage, but it can take a while to get to a place where you can forgive your spouse.
Fighting fair in your marriage is about learning to resolve conflicts in a way that allows you to discuss and resolve your differences without damaging your relationship. The key is learning how to stick to the point and not to the person. When you argue you need to stick the point and real issue and not let the discussion get sidetracked with accusations, name calling and other forms of attacks.When you argue you need to stick the point and real issue and not let the discussion get sidetracked with accusations, name calling and other forms of attacks. Click To Tweet
Three things that will help you stick to the real issue:
- Keep a calm attitude and stay positive and you will be surprised at how fast things change.
- Be ready to let the other person talk first, just so you can stick to your point.
- Ask questions like “Let me be sure I understand you and if I do, please tell me what is wrong with what I said or did” This builds respect in the relationship and allows you both to learn more about each other.
2. Be Respectful
During an argument, it is critical to maintain an attitude of respect for your spouse. However, it may not be so easy to maintain this respect when you are frustrated, scared, or hurt. The first step to maintaining respect is to avoid responding in kind to disrespectful comments.
Remember that your argument is about a particular issue, not about each other as people.
How to maintain respect in an argument:
1) Avoid calling names.
2) Avoid threatening to hurt yourself or someone else
3) Avoid saying something that will make you both feel bad later on. This is especially important if you have children in the house and they can hear you talking.
4) Be careful not to use derogatory names about your spouse’s race, religion, or gender. Remember that you may not even mean these things to sound disrespectful but they may be taken that way by someone who hears them.
3. Don’t Say Things You Will Regret Later
Many times when we argue, we say things we regret later. We told ourselves we wouldn’t say anything, but somehow we just couldn’t help it. Before you know it, words came flying out of your mouth like a runaway train. Before you know it, the hurtful words that you said are now hanging in the air, and you’re left wondering how on earth you could have said such mean things. You do not want to know what you have said, but you can’t take them back.
Some times, our emotions can get out of control. We can say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t mean but can’t take back.
What can we do? Next time these words start to come out of your mouth, stop and take a deep breath. If you say something you regret, apologize right away. Agree to move on from this fight for now and address the issue later when you both have cooled down.
In all likelihood, you will be thinking about what you said—and what you could have said better—even after you have calmed down.
In the meantime, remind yourself that apologies are powerful. When you apologize for what you said during a fight, it shows a willingness to repair the damage you have done.
Two things you can do to avoid saying things you might regret:
1) Keep an eye on your motives, attitude and intention when you are upset, stressed or angry so that you don’t say something that will hurt yourself and your marriage.
2) Use a time out before making a decision to talk about the issue or hurt your spouse.
Remember, never make threats. They are not acceptable, even in an argument. When you threaten an action that would hurt your spouse, you are breaking trust and hurting your relationship.
4. Don’t Be Defensive
When you argue with someone, it can be easy to get defensive. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during a heated discussion.
You may even find that you have a hard time listening to what the other person has to say. This means you are not hearing anything that’s being said, not learning anything, and not developing a better understanding of the situation. When you come across this situation in your marriage, the best thing to do is to be as honest as possible, and to apologize if necessary.
Being defensive will only make matters worse. When you are on the defensive, you are doing one of two things:
1) You are are trying to recover from a mistake you have made.
2) You are trying to protect yourself from an attack.
If you are trying to recover from a mistake you have made, then you are effectively saying, “I’m sure I’m right.” The moment you say that, you lose. The best thing you can do is to say, “I didn’t mean to do that.”
If you are trying to protect yourself from an attack, you are saying, “I’m innocent. You are the guilty one.” This is just as bad as the mistake. The best thing to do is say, “I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry.”
People get angry and they don’t always mean what they say. But when you are angry you can be tempted to say things you don’t mean in order to attack the other person and win the argument.
Don’t do this! If you attack the other person or put down their motives, then they will want to defend themselves and prove that they are right, which means a fight has started. This can lead to an ugly tirade that will get nastier as time goes on.
5. Don’t Personalize The Argument
Remember the last time you had an argument with your partner? If you are like most people, you felt like the things they were saying were directed right at you. And what you said seemed like a personal attack on your partner. If you are like most people, you probably wish you could go back and start over, knowing what you know now.
Do you find yourself arguing and instead of talking about the topic you are now talking about each other?
We personalize arguments when we argue about how the other person is making us feel, or what they did to us, or what might be in their head.
We have a tendency to want to blame others for all our problems in life. We expect them to make us happy and take care of us, when they can’t and shouldn’t do that.
If you are arguing about how someone has made you feel, then you are not really talking about the thing that caused this problem at all. You are majoring on minors.
The ideal way to resolve conflict in marriage is to avoid conflicts altogether. Unfortunately, conflict is a normal part of any marriage and it’s not possible to avoid it. So, how can we resolve conflict without escalating it? First of all, don’t get personal when you argue with your spouse. Your goal in resolving conflict is to find a solution that satisfies both you and your spouse.Don't blame or point fingers. This never solves the problem. Seek a solution, not a way to blame the problem on someone. Click To Tweet
Don’t blame or point fingers. This never solves the problem. Seek a solution, not a way to blame the problem on someone.
6. Know When To Back Down
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you were right, but there was nothing you could do about it? Did you just give up and take the loss or did you keep fighting to prove your point? The key to successful fighting is knowing when to stop fighting and realize the battle is over.
Some battles are not worth fighting.
When my children were young I learned to pick my battles. Not every issue needed to be ‘an issue.’ Sometimes you need to let them grow and learn on their own. This is not abdicating responsibility. It is using wisdom to know what battles are important and which ones are not.
The same applies to marriage (and any relationship). If you are in a long-term relationship, you may end up in endless arguments over issues that don’t really matter. This is never healthy and will eventually erode trust in your relationship.
If you are fighting about the same issue again and again with no solution in sight, if one of you is continually being blamed or punished for things over which he or she has little control, then it’s time to back down.
Here is when to back down from an argument:
1) When you find yourself becoming physically or verbally abusive.
Your goal is to win the argument, not to hurt your partner. If you’re about to say or do something that crosses the line, stop and take a deep breath. Then, think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Is it worth the cost?
2) When you find yourself becoming obsessed with the argument.
If this becomes a continual source of conflict in your marriage, then it’s not worth it. It may be time to back off and let your spouse have his or her way for awhile. Try to find other ways to win the argument, such as being more flexible and forgiving in the future.
3) If either of you becomes emotionally distant.
This is a sign that the argument is damaging your relationship. Back down until things calm down, then talk about how you can work together to prevent arguments from happening again in the future.
7. Know When To Make Up
s it really possible to make up after an argument? Can things ever go back to the way they were before? The answer is yes! And it’s not hard if both of you want to make up.
After I have had an argument with spouse, it’s good to try to remember what went wrong and why it happened. Then, keep doing everything you can to make it right.
How To Make Up After An Argument:
1) Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is not about you anymore.
2) If you need to, apologize for your actions.
3) Ask your spouse what they want to do now.
4) Listen, be understanding, let them explain their side of the story and decide what you want to do next.
5) Remember that communication is the best way to solve disagreements.
No argument is worth ruining your relationship.
Yes, there are big issues that often need to be faced. But this should always be done with the understanding you are on the same team and going for the same goals. If you keep this in mind, you can work through major issues.
Making up means reengaging your spouse with love and affection. It means showing that you are still committed to the relationship, and that what happened before will not happen again.
Don’t Let The Argument Get In The Way Of Your Love For Each OtherNever Let The Argument Get In The Way Of Your Love For Each Other Click To Tweet
When you argue with your spouse, try to keep one thing in mind: Your love for each other should always outweigh your disagreement. You can agree to disagree about a particular issue while staying committed to each other through thick and thin. This means getting back on track even if a huge fight has broken out between you two.
Final Thoughts on How To Fight Fair
When you fight fair, you show respect for who your spouse is, and you avoid attacking his or her character or integrity. When we fight fair, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have strong feelings about the issue at hand. It does mean that we are willing to accept the person our spouse is, and not blame him or her for something he or she is or is not doing.
Fighting fair in marriage means fighting honestly in love and having a willingness to listen to what our partner needs rather than getting into a power struggle with our spouse.
Is your marriage worth saving? Of course! These 7 tips will help you learn how to fight fair and get your marriage back on track.
The 7 Tips revisited:
- 1. Stick to your point.
- 2. Be respectful.
- 3. Don’t Say Things You Will Regret Later
- 4. Don’t Be Defensive
- 5. Don’t Personalize The Argument
- 6. Know When To Back Down
- 7. Know When To Make Up
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