How to Fight Fair in a Relationship


( – “That’s it! I’ve had it! I’m angry, and we’re gonna get this straightened out, once and for all!”

Ever been there? How did it turn out?

You and your significant other may not always agree on the perfect resolution, but if you fight fair, you’re more likely to respect each other and meet each other’s needs. You’ll also have a greater chance of staying together over the long-term. So, how do you fight fair?

Rules For Fighting Fair

  • Avoid fighting when you or your partner are tired, hungry, or distracted. You both want to be able to focus on each other and what is being said. That might mean you have to set an appointment with each other to keep from having interruptions or distractions. You might also need to set a reasonable time limit.
  • Maintain control and don’t yell or call names. Try to find the emotion under the anger and express it with words. Try not to anticipate what your partner thinks or feels. Instead, express how you feel or what you think, then ask your partner for feedback.
  • Avoid interrupting each other. Give each other time to talk and respond. Be polite. Be respectful. Instead of jumping in right away to give your input, really allow your partner the chance to speak their mind.
  • Be open and honest about your feelings and needs. Deal with the issue(s) at hand. Don’t travel back to irrelevant issues, and don’t hold grudges. Nobody is perfect. If you’re both trying to make your relationship work, then try to give each other some grace.
  • Focus your energy on solving your issues instead of on wounding each other. Avoid criticizing each other or bringing up past mistakes. If you need a break to cool off, then call a timeout.
  • Stay engaged. Avoid withdrawing physically or emotionally from the process. Listen to what your partner has to say instead of tuning them out.
  • Apologize when you’re wrong. Recognize when you’ve hurt your other half and take responsibility for your actions. A sincere, heartfelt apology goes a long way to healing rifts and bringing you both toward common ground.
  • Look for points of commonality. Validate each other. Look for solutions together.
  • Compromise with each other. Find a way for both of you to win whenever possible. Meeting halfway might mean making sacrifices on your end, but it allows you to both find a happy middle ground.
  • Try not to leave the issue unresolved. If one person needs a timeout, the other person should not go chasing after them. But remember that a timeout is one thing, abandoning the process is another. In most cases, the issue will continue to repeat until a solution is found.

Arguments are normal — and inevitable — parts of relationships. Fighting fair and resolving issues can be healthy and may strengthen the relationship. But if you get stuck and need help, consider seeking out a counselor who can help you both move forward. Doing so could save your relationship.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!

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