Do happy couples argue? Is there a thing called fighting fair in relationships?
The fact is, all relationships, even healthy ones, will always have conflicts.
Relationship fight is a common part of married life. But things tend to get messy when you are no longer aware of how to fight.
Yes! There is a proper way to fight in a marriage, and this way has to do with being fair. But, before we talk about fighting fair in a relationship, let us try to understand why couples fight in the first place.
Why do couples fight?
Whenever two people with different backgrounds, ideas, emotions, dreams, opinions, and thoughts about life get together, there’s bound to be conflict in one form or another.
Basically, couples can fight about anything, even something very petty. A fight can stem from a simple disagreement on who will do the dishes to who is going to babysit to bigger issues regarding finances, changing career, shifting houses to even more severe issues like sex issues or alcohol addiction, infidelity, and so on.
Basically, just like every relationship, every couple’s fights are unique. What seems to be an issue for one couple might not even bother other couples.
Is it possible to love each other despite conflicts?
Is it normal for couples to fight?
Of course, it is! Fights don’t have to mean you don’t love each other; it’s just a clash of differences unless you want it to be more!
Now, if every relationship has conflict one way or another, what separates healthy from unhealthy relationships at these particular times?
The answer is found in “how” people involved in healthy relationships deal with their conflicts and resolve to continue fighting fair in marriage or close relationships.
How to fight fair in a relationship?
How to get better at fighting? Are there any fair fighting rules for couples?
You need to remember that the person you are fighting with is someone you love. So, you shouldn’t overstep your boundaries, use respectful language, and try to make your point.
If at any point you feel that the disagreement is turning into an unhealthy argument, do not insist on talking about the issues then and there. Take a time-out.
You don’t have to sweep the issues under the rug. Constructive arguments are, in fact, healthy for a relationship.
But, there’s always a way and time to talk about distressing or sensitive issues.
20 tips for fighting fair in relationships
Here are listed a few key tips for fighting fair in a relationship.
By following these fair fighting rules for couples, the relationship can continue to grow healthy.
1. Don’t hold grudges
When you are arguing with your spouse, don’t hold onto past mistakes or issues and dig them out just to win the fight.
If there are lingering issues that are bothering you, sort them out when the time is right. But, holding onto grudges would hurt you more than your partner.
2. Address the issues on time
If your spouse does not want to discuss the matter with you, then set up an appointment with them. Make sure that you discuss the issue in order to have a fair fight.
Keep in mind that it is okay to go to bed angry, you need your sleep in order to fight productively, but you must address the issue. If you do not address it, it will keep building up and eventually explode one way or the other.
We often don’t really like to admit that we were wrong because, for some of us, we were taught that mistakes are a sign of failure. As a helpful insight, here is interesting research on apologies in close relationships.
Prefer using ‘I’ instead of ‘you,’ which often disarms the other party and brings the problem instead of them into focus.
Now, doing this can require more thought and energy, but if you want a healthy relationship, it shouldn’t be a problem for you.
8. Do not label them
How to fight fair in a marriage?
Even if your partner is temperamental in nature or has a certain habit that irritates you often, avoid labeling them.
Do not give them tags like temperamental, insensitive, or cruel, or callous just to vent out your anger. These labels must definitely be avoided, especially during a nasty argument.
9. Don’t drift away from the topic
Never use a present concern as a reason to deal with everything that bothers you.
Never use stones from the past to throw at your partner in a current disagreement.
If there is something that needs to be said concerning the topic that you’re addressing, this is the right moment to do so. Nothing is worse than a partner who keeps bringing up past issues that I thought were already discussed and settled earlier.
10. Do not discuss the details of your fight with any third person
When fighting, make sure that it remains between you and your spouse only.
Do not involve third parties in between, as the fight will get biased.
Involving kids, mother-in-law, or your prejudiced friends can lead to a very messy outcome.
11. Avoid name-calling
This is a very crucial tip for fighting fair in a relationship. During a fight, everything has a larger impact, even if you say it in a sweet way.
Everything you say during an argument will take a wrong turn, so avoid doing that. Avoid calling your partner with ugly names, names that may hurt them, or words that may leave an indelible scar.
Remember, even pet names and endearing names can be hurtful when you make use of a sarcastic tone.
12. Be cautious while using humor during arguments
When making use of humor during an argument, be cautious.
Laughter is good for the health, but teasing can be easily misinterpreted and hurt your spouse.
13. Listen to your partner even while fighting.
When fighting healthy in a relationship, listen to your partner’s point of view and their opinion. This also includes watching for body language.
During a fight, look at how your spouse’s body is. If it is too tensed up, then slow down your argument and change your tone to a sweeter one.
Make eye contact and look at one another when you speak. Avoid interrupting your partner and let them get their voice and point across. This is very important in order to fight fair in a relationship.
14. Seek your partner’s feedback
Yes, even while arguing, make it a point to seek your partner’s feedback. It is a human tendency to remember only the other person’s wrongdoings.
But, food for thought is, if your relationship is going downhill, there is a possibility that even you have contributed to it. So, if you truly love your partner, seek their feedback and introspect it in solitude.
15. Work on your shortcomings
Only seeking feedback from your partner is not enough. It is essential to go a step further and work on your drawbacks.
If you expect your partner to change and mend their ways, you too need to join the bandwagon and work on self-improvement. If you both do it, your relationship will improve drastically.
16. Take a time-out when you see the situation worsening
If the argument is deteriorating, you both should take a time-out. A cooling-off period is essential while discussing bothersome issues.
Constantly fighting in a relationship can never have good outcomes. After you cool yourselves down, both of you can get a better perspective of the situation and work towards the solution instead of damaging it further.
17. Do not take advantage of your partner’s vulnerability
If your partner has been vulnerable to you and confided in you about their weaknesses, do not use this knowledge to pin them down when you are losing a fight.
Prayers have the power to give you strength, help you overcome your weaknesses, and even help you heal from your previous scars.
20. Seek professional help
Despite trying everything, if you are still having a hard time dealing with your partner, seek professional help.
A counselor’s intervention can help you analyze the situation without any bias. They can help you unveil the underlying issues, help you heal, and make you capable enough to deal with such issues successfully even in the future.
Just remember, conflicts will inevitably arise, but your partnership will remain unscathed as long as you continue fighting fair with your significant other.
All healthy relationships require work, dedication, and time to grow; have patience with yours, and you’ll soon surprise yourself with a revived, happy and fulfilling relationship.
As long as you are fighting fair and maintaining effective communication, nothing can sound the death knell for your relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Alissa Zucker is a copywriter, working for the professional writing company Mcessay.com. She is interested in reading classic and psychological books which give her inspiration to write her own articles and short stories.