When you decide to marry someone, it doesn’t mean things are perfect. We all know that (or at least I hope you do). Anyone who’s married can probably tell you that they’ve gotten into a fight or two (or three) with their spouse. I don’t see how you can spend the rest of your life with someone without the occasional disagreement/fight.
Anger is a normal emotion, and trying to determine the best way to convey your anger is important. If you are over the top, your point of view may never be understood or heard, because it will be clouded by your anger. The same applies if you keep everything bottled up. What we do, and don’t do, when we get angry and fight can make all the difference.
Couples can create some serious damage in their relationships when they fight dirty. The damage may not be immediate, but certain things can turn a healthy argument into a nasty situation. I hope these tips will help you keep your fights clean and fair.
Don’t bring friends or family members into it. There isn’t much to say on this. If you are fighting with your spouse, dragging other people into it never helps. Just don’t do it.
Stay away from phrases like “you always,” or “you never.” Generalization tends to hurt all arguments. Focus on the issues at hand without implying that the other person is always doing something wrong. It really just makes them defensive.
Try to avoid the silent treatment. This can be so easy to do, but its not very productive. If you need some time to think, just respectfully ask for it. Straight up ignoring someone can be hurtful, and it doesn’t make things better.
Don’t throw or break things. Yes, this applies even if you are not throwing them directly at your spouse. Once you start throwing and breaking things you have truly lost your temper and things can escalate quickly. When it gets to this point, you just need a “time out.” Take the time you need and revisit the discussion when your head is clear.
Don’t use name-calling and expletives to get your point across. This is just not necessary. If you are that mad, walk away. Grown folks can really find a better way to communicate than name-calling and cursing someone out.
Keep the kids out of it. This means never fight in front of your kids or in a space where they can overhear you. It also means that the kids should not come up in the middle of a fight. It is not the time to bring up poor parenting skills if that’s not even what the fight is about.
Don’t bring up grievances that have nothing to do with the current fight. Keep the fight current. What happened two months ago may be relevant, in your opinion, but the more you bring up old stuff, the less likely it is that you can manage the new stuff.
BMWK – what tips have you learned in fighting fair with your spouse?