The fights you’ll have in your marriage can be scary or seem silly. And when the couple doesn’t fight fair, it can quickly cause problems in your marriage. When couples argue and their fights quickly escalate from a simple conflict to a full-on war, the pattern puts a strain on your marriage that can lead to divorce.
Learning how to fight fair is key to keeping the peace in your relationship. Follow these steps to begin changing how you fight.
Step 1: Stay in control
As you’re arguing your heart begins to pound. Your palms get sweaty and your temperature starts to rise. This is the fight or flight mode. In this state you start to lose emotional control, potentially leaving you with the capacity to lose control.
Instead, you need to maintain control during arguments. Learn to recognize when you are about to lose control. Take a time out from each other to cool off and regain your emotional control.
Step 2: Do not interrupt
Interrupting your partner during an argument shows you aren’t listening to understand what they are saying. Instead, you are trying to dominate and control your partner. You aren’t allowing them to voice what they need to say.
Instead, listen to what they have to say without thinking about what you want to say. Give them your full attention. Set a time limit if necessary for each of you to state your side of the argument.
Step 3: Leave the past out of it
Couples often bring up some past transgression their partner committed as a way to attack her or him. When you continually bring up old grudges, it’s often because there is an underlying problem with unforgiving. You still have those past hurts.
Instead, table those past hurts for another conversation. Focus solely on the original argument, and deal with one issue at a time.
Step 4: Don’t criticize each other
When you begin to criticize your partner, you aren’t arguing constructively. You’re fighting dirty. You’re saying ‘It’s not about the issue at hand, you’re a liar’ The argument then quickly spirals into name-calling, criticizing, and aggressive language.
Instead, leave any criticisms and name-calling out of the picture. Again focus specifically on the issue at hand.
Step 5: Apologize for your part
Getting defensive and placing blame on your partner when you may be the one that’s caused the hurt.
Instead, recognize and take responsibility for when you have hurt your partner. Acknowledge the pain you have caused and ask for forgiveness. Learning how to fight fair in an argument with your partner leads to more rational discussions, better communication, and less stress. So be kind, don’t lose your cool, keep to the topic and say you’re sorry.