Every serious relationship will eventually involve conflict. This, however, should not discourage you, because couples who do not fight are more likely to separate.
If you are in a serious relationship, then the question should not be if you fight but rather how you fight. Fighting can be a productive way to strengthen your relationship when done correctly. That said, many couples do not consider how they fight.
5 tips for fighting well and fair:
# 1: Fight for a solution
Couples who fight often lose sight of why they are fighting. Once a fight escalates, it can be very easy to stop trying to find a solution to the problem. Instead, you attack the other person in an attempt to be right.
You both must focus on the problem, and remember that you are fighting for a reason, not just to be right. You need to want to be intentional about keeping conflict resolution the goal. This is a significant part of developing a long-term relationship. Fighting can be productive and strengthening if you remain focused on finding a solution rather than merely attacking one another in anger. Do not fight to be right, fight to find a solution.
# 2: Do not fight angry
When a fight begins, control your emotions, and do not allow the fight to escalate out of control. This can quickly derail a potentially productive discussion.
You can lose your ability to maintain control. Once you lose control, you have the potential to cause serious damage in your relationship. Consider taking a break during a fight if needed. Once you or your partner thinks you are losing control, then speak up and postpone the fight to a later time. This will help you cool off, think about the problem, and decide on what the best way to resolve it. This gives you time to articulate how you are feeling to the other person. If possible, perhaps you could even schedule a time to discuss the issue later that day. If you do not do this, then your fighting will quickly escalate out of control, get blown out of proportion, and has a very good chance of causing irreversible damage.
Find what works for you, and pick a time to discuss the issue when you and your partner can remain in control. Remember, the goal of fighting is always conflict resolution,, so it is important to only fight during a time where you can both remain focused on the main goal. Fighting angry can be destructive and is not a fair way to fight.
# 3: Stay in the present
Do not bring up the past. You are fighting about something that is happening now, and you need to resolve it. Focusing on the present topic will allow the fight to remain fair and productive.
# 4: Respect each other
This may seem like an over-simplification, but people often fail to uphold basic manners and proper communication. Examples include eye rolling, interrupting, sarcasm, yelling, criticism, name-calling, and insensitivity,. Even in a fight, you should still treat your partner with respect. If you are both able to do this, then you will find that your fights will not escalate as quickly and will be much more productive.
Listen to what your partner is saying, and try to understand their point of view. Do not interrupt them, or only listen to determine what your response will be. Honestly listen to what they are saying to hear where they are coming from. Look each other in the eye, and use an acceptable volume when you speak to one another. A gentle response can quickly deescalate your fight. Be intentional about treating each other with respect, and you will be sure to fight fair.
# 5: Apologize
This is the most critical key to resolving conflict and repairing your relationship. You need to be willing to sincerely apologize after the fight. Regardless of what the fight may be or how or why it started, you need to be willing to offer a sincere apology for hurting the other person. Although this can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, it is one ofp probably the most important steps in repairing the damage and creating a long-term relationship.
For more information
If you and your partner are struggling to engage in fair fighting or have been wondering when to see a marriage counselor, then you would likely benefit from the relationship counselors available at the Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center.
Contact us today at (501) 222-3463 to begin getting the help and guidance you need to create a healthier relationship.