Do You Know How To Fight?

BY: - 14 Apr '10 | Relationships

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By Tiya Cunningham-Sumter

Your wife might drive you crazy and your husband can get on your very last nerve (it happens to all of us at some point), but how you handle the frustrations and disagreements is paramount to the health of your relationship. In my frequent conversations about relationships I often hear a variety of excuses and arguments about what’s going wrong, but something I heard recently stuck with me. Someone admitted, of their marriage, that they don’t know how to fight. They purposely hurt one another when they disagree and it leaves them both wanting to walk away. This observation was so real, and although I rarely hear it, I found it to be a true statement for so many couples.

It is inevitable that in a relationship you will not always see eye to eye on every subject. Half of the battle in overcoming disputes is knowing how to have one in the first place. A few things to avoid when you have a disagreement are:

· Yelling to get your point across.

· Shutting down and keeping quiet.

· Intentionally saying words that are hurtful.

· Not fully listening to your partner.

· Not taking responsibility for your part in the conflict.

· Having a closed mind.

If we’re yelling we are no longer listening, nor being listened to. When we fail to discuss what is on our minds it only builds up and causes even more hostility later on and being purposefully hurtful leads to wounds that are hard to heal. My husband suggests that the best time to make an emotional decision is when you’re not emotional. He says we have to decide, when things are good, how to handle arguments. Our goal during conflict is not to win; but to get our point across, listen for our partner’s point and meet up somewhere in the middle with a reasonable solution.

BMWK, Do you know how to fight?

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, Founder of Life Editing, creator of The Black Wives’ Club and an Administrator of Still Dating My Spouse. Tiya resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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24 WordPress comments on “Do You Know How To Fight?

  1. AJ Bell

    You hear suggestions like these all the time, “walk away until you calm down”, “wait until you are not emotional.” This is great advice, but, in the heat of an argument, how do you get to the point where you realize you are being emotional, and stop? How do you wait to revisit an argument later, when the problem is occurring right now? Why would you want to stop and revisit an argument when many of them are so petty, it’s best to just stop arguing and move on?

    Having a partner you can have healthy conversations with, also means you can have healthy arguments. Learn how to communicate effectively, know your partner’s boundaries and stop trying to always be right. These are skills we can practice in our everyday lives (at work, with the children, even in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store) and you will be better equipped to deal with your partner when arguments arise.

  2. Harriet

    Yes, I know how to fight…I know how to take my earrings and shoes off and put some vaseline on my face and THROW DOWN! LOL Just kidding!

    But seriously, Tiya, you are soooooo on point with this article! This is what NOT to do in a disagreement! My husband and I have learned that we can disagree, but we don’t have to argue. And we are constantly making sure we understand each other (I can’t tell you how many arguments we got into early in our marriage and later found we were saying the exact same thing!).

    Also, watching “You Saved Me” put a couple of things in perspective. When the Ma’ats were talking about the box of tissue and how the counselor asked each of them, “What do you see?” and they had two totally different answers, but were looking at the same thing…wow! It’s easy to get lost in translation, but we have to be willing to get on the same page as a married couple…even if we have to create our own unique language to get there.

    Again, good stuff!

  3. Brotha Tech

    That’s easy…Mrs. Tech and I have one rule (and one rule only) when having disagreements:

    “Mean what you say and say what you mean”

    So when I feel the need to get my point across, that one rule forces me to select my words carefully ahead of time…because once the words are out there, YOU CAN’T TAKE THEM BACK.

    That pretty much solves it for us.
    .-= Brotha Tech´s last blog ..Home Automation – More than just the interface =-.

  4. Ruby Griffin

    Over the years,being married three time,I learn how to deal with my husbands…but with any men,they hear,what they want to hear,they avoiding the issues…A men don’t like to be told nothing over and over again,they say you’re nagging them,and then you only sitting yourself up for your disappointment….All men roars like a lion,but as women,we’re the only one can calm them down in your marrriage…In my marriage i let my husband be the head of the household as it should be,in the beginning…when there is things need to be done around the houses,need to be repair,i put it out there to him,and he didn’t respond back..stage 2…if the refrigerant go out,i give him warm water, if the stove don’t work,i fix him cold-cut,and if my car break down,i drive his,soon or later something going to give…i has to get some attention on these matter quick,before it become to a argument,that we couldn’t correct…

  5. Sharee

    We have several rules on “productive disagreements” in our home. Some of them we got from our premarital counseling and some of them came from the fact that I had been in a relationship with a man that liked to yell and scream and cuss and fuss and I learned then that I never wanted to go there with ANYONE again.

    So,these are some of our rules:
    *We don’t yell
    *We take deep breaths frequently during the debate
    * We don’t pull in stuff from past incidents
    *No name calling or anything that might sound like name calling
    *Stay on topic ( it’s easy to get off into other issues. we only discuss the issue at hand)
    These are the ones that keep us sane and they keep us from injuring each other. The bottom line is we love each other and we respect each others thoughts and we’re concerned for one another. We try really hard to remember that and it helps. We’re not perfect, but the rules definitely help. :0)

  6. TCB

    I agree with everything in the article. In addition, there is a book titled “The Birth Order Book” by Dr. Kevin Leman that seeks to understand personality traits based on being firstborn, middle etc. After reading that book, the light-bulb came on in our heads in that we realized that root cause of some of our disagreements could potentially stem from us both being first-born children and all the tendencies that go along with it. The book goes on to explain other tendencies related to birth order and I feel it’s really a good way to understand where your potential spouse is coming from and it may help diffuse arguments.

  7. Tiya

    I notice that when I’m upset and even in the heat of an argument, I am still aware of my emotions and what my actions, so I know (at that moment) I’m going to say or do something that is going to hurt. I’m well aware of that, now a lot of the time, I choose to do it anyway and deal with the consequences later. So it is in that moment that we need to stop, take notice and choose the appropriate action/words. We do have control. Healthy conversations are crucial to each and every relationship.
    Harriet you are hilarious girl! If we are open to listen first (I mean really listen) that’s half the battle right there, because most of the disagreements are because of miscommunication or lack of. Brotha Tech, I get that, we have to be intentional with our words. Ruby, I am with you, I do let my husband know he is our head of household too. I love your comments. Sharee, key point, stay on topic! Yes, yes.

  8. Tiya

    TCB, I think that is a book we need to read. I’m the oldest and my husband is the youngest, so I’m sure that means something. Thanks!
    Kay, the making up is the best part.

  9. Rashida

    these are excellent tips for successful ‘fights’! we’re engaged with a 2 yr old boy, we have very unproductive fights. we’re still learning how to successfully communicate with each other so that neither feels hurt, diminished, unheard, or rejected. it’s caused some major blowouts and a few walkouts. i agree with all the tips in the article but in the heat of an argument it soooo hard to stop and find the calm to follow the tips. i know the key lies in stopping it before it gets heated, but sometimes things just come out of left field and they’re in full swing before i even notice. but i guess this is the good side of long engagements, taking time to work these things out.

  10. Anna

    I have learned that the longer you are married, the better you learn to argue. Hitting below the belt is a no no. LOL. Never bring up stuff from a previous debate, it”s not allowed. Only while debating can I stay on topic, y’all know I can easily get off topic. LOL.

  11. LEROY | kids girls bedding

    My fiance like to throw low blows and when I return one I hear about it for weeks without a mention of what she said to receive that response from me.

    We have recognized that as a problem, and that low blows are just low. We laugh about it after the fact but we also agreed to make effort to avoid them when we have an argument.
    .-= LEROY | kids girls bedding´s last blog ..Transport Kids Bedding =-.

  12. Fran

    me and my hubby DO NOT know how to have an argument at all. when we used to argue it was more like a street fight, where neither one of us was willing to back down,esp when one of us throws a low blow, we both ended up with scars or atleast we used to,in the beginning of our marriage whew, man oh man!!! stomach hurts just thinking about it, in those fights no one ever won and the fights would last for days. if he looked at me or i looked at him ****kaboom****we’d be back at it all over again. we dont fight that often now but when we do its intense and swift. i have been to counseling to try to help us but he flatout refuses to go. our fights are intense and swift because i am willing to walk away as many times as it takes to let him know that our old fighting ways dont work for me anymore. i dont yell 1/10 as much as i used to. if he sends out a lowblow i will let him know that is unnecessary and give him a healthy dose of silence.

  13. Fran

    my husband is an OLD,OLD man in an young man body and learning new stuff is hard for him. but he is learning that an arguement means we can get on with our day and a fight means that we both end up with scars,arguement=make up sex. Fight=one more tear in the fabric that is our marriage. my husband and I are peaceful folk,but we are sometimes TOO stubborn to even breath properly. thanks for this blog also. it reminded me that we have come so far and while we may not be where we want to be i thank GOD we not where we used to be.

  14. Tiya

    The great thing about most of the comments above is that those of you who say you don’t know how to argue can admit it. That’s the first part of the battle is admitting that you can do better. When we know we can do better, we have start thinking about what that looks like, what that will take and start applying those actions to our daily living.

  15. Aiyana


    This is an excellent article! The main thing that distinguishes couples who stay together from couples who don’t make it is their ability to fight effectively. The issues and problems are no different, but the negotiation and communication skills of successful couples are very different.

  16. Ken S

    Love the article (and author) and conceptually these are great ideas…but I’m having a hard time embracing these concepts considering you threw all of my clothes out of the window during our last “disagreement”. 🙂

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Young Love Ain’t Always Puppy Love

BY: - 15 Apr '10 | Relationships

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by Tara Pringle Jefferson

I have loved my husband since the very time I saw him. I was 17 and a brand-new freshman on campus. I was moving into my dorm, cursing the fact that I hadn’t gotten the single room that I wanted. But I think God had something else in store for me.

I met my husband that very first day of college, as he was the 22 year old assistant hall director who was in grad school. We all went around in a circle and introduced ourselves. “Hello, I’m Thomas Jefferson,” he said, and I kid you not, it’s like my brain fast-forwarded in time. I could see him walking with me down the aisle. I could see our chubby-cheeked kids. I could see us on a porch, rocking together, old and gray. I could see all that in the time it took the next person to speak.

After the “Welcome to college speech,” I pulled my roommate aside and told her, rather confidently, that I had just met my husband. She rolled her eyes. “Okay, girl, whatever.”

We got married almost exactly three years later and my roommate stood there as one of my bridesmaids.

I tell that story, not only because it’s cute, but because people don’t think real love can occur if you’re younger than 25. Now, we’re only in year three of our marriage, giving us six years and two kids together, but I feel we are more solid than ever.

It sucks when instead of celebrating love and marriage, it’s like we were too young to be taken seriously. We had people pull us aside and say, “You know, you don’t HAVE to get married. Why would you want to?” And you’ve got other folks taking bets on how long we’d be married, and at three years in, we’ve already outlasted 95% of the doubters. Ouch.

But I knew that I wanted to be married and I wanted to marry HIM. I was interested in what the institution of marriage had to offer and what I could offer him as his wife. I couldn’t stand being his “girlfriend” – that term just seemed to casual for the way we felt about each other. We knew what we wanted and we went for it. We’re in this for the long haul,

Not to say that we haven’t had issues adjusting. I was a 21-year-old bride and I had no idea what that meant. I knew I wanted to be married, but it took some time for us to settle into our roles and be the couple we are today. We know we’re not going anywhere. That’s why we have our long-running joke about us getting divorced: “Sure, you can divorce me. But we’re still living together and we can’t date nobody else and we’ll still share a bed – so what’s the point?” LOL.

I’m just now knocking on 25’s door and I feel good having had the title of “wife” for this long. Now, when one of my friends leans in and tells me, “Oh, girl, I think I just met my husband” I’ll be able to give her a smile and say, “Yup, I’ve been there….”

What’s your view on getting married at a younger age? Good idea? Bad idea? Keep it real…

Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer and blogger living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog,, to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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