How to Fight Fair in a Relationship: Healthy Conflict vs. Unhealthy Arguing

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Have you ever tried to solve a problem in a relationship by talking it through only to wind up yelling and screaming at one another? If so, you may need to approach the way you attempt to handle relationship conflict.

There is a huge difference between fair fighting (a.k.a. healthy arguing, healthy conflict) and unhealthy arguing. There is a huge difference between communication with the intent to solve a problem and just spewing out hateful words.

Most couples have good intentions. They truly do not want to hurt one another. The problem is, they just are not sure how to communicate in a way that will make the both of them happy.

There are several points to remember when initiating a discussion with your spouse. Some valuable fair-fighting tips include the following:

—Be sure to make it clear to your partner that you value that person’s opinion even if you do not agree with it.
—Allow your partner the right to feel differently than you or to think differently than you.
—Choose your battles carefully. In other words, some issues are worth confronting head-on regardless of how uncomfortable they are, and other issues are best left alone.
—Remember that you can express how you feel about situations, but that you cannot change your partner. In this case, you will either need to learn to “agree to disagree” or try to offer some type of compromise.
—Whenever possible, use “I” statements, such as “I feel…when you…”, or “I get angry when…”. Try to keep the focus on how you feel rather than on the wrongdoing of the other person.
—When you are wrong admit it as soon as possible. If the other person is wrong, it is wise to forgive that person as soon as possible.
—If you are in a battle with someone who feels the need to be right all the time realize it is that person’s problem. Although it is very difficult to do so, you may either need to accept this about the person or move on.

If you are unable to fight fair with one another even after applying one or more of the following suggestions mentioned above, there still is hope. If you both are determined to work it out, a qualified marriage or relationship counselor can do wonders.

Attending counseling with your partner can help you discover deeper unresolved issues that may or may not even be your partner’s fault. This will help you both understand not only each other but yourselves as well.

The more you know about yourselves the more you love yourselves. The more you love about yourselves, the more likely you are to be able to love your partner. This increased amount of love will help you fight more fair with your lifetime companion.

On the other hand, if you attend counseling you may discover that you and your partner are incompatible. Either that or perhaps the ability to love one another has been damaged beyond repair.

This could be because the trust has been broken, or because one or both of you is no longer willing to try. No matter what the situation is, at least you will know what you need to do-either fight fair or not fight at all-and move on.