There is an old saying that a woman marries a man thinking that she could change him – and afterwards, she does not. A man marries a woman thinking she will never change – and in fact, she does. Life is about change, similar to relationships.
In daily life, in general, and in relationships, in particular, disagreements and fights might be undeniable and unavoidable. However, there are still some fair fighting rules and some tips that allow you to know how to fight fair in a marriage in such the most peaceful way possible. Check out this article from VKool.com to discover what those rules and tips are!
I. How To Fight Fair In A Marriage – 10 Fair Fighting Rules
Every sport, from golf to basket ball, has rules that define the game. Rules will supply safety, purpose, structure, and predictability to the game. They make it possible for people to understand what is going on, strategize and then deal with disagreements more effectively and easily.
However, while the necessity for rules is self-evident when it comes to sport, it might be forgotten when it comes to relationship. Conflict does not have to be unpredictable, unsafe, or without purpose. So, what is a good set of rules? These sets of rules will help you know how to deal with fair in your relationship more easily.
1. Do Not Use Degrading Language Or Words
During the discussion, or even fair, you should avoid name-calling, put-downs, insults, or swearing. If you put your spouse down or criticize his/her character, it shows that you are disrespecting for his/her dignity. In fact, in sports, there are a lot of rules preventing a certain player from intentionally injuring another player. So, the similar rule should be applied in relationships. As you intentionally injure your spouse, both in terms of physical or mental, it is like saying, “You are not right with me. I will do whatever it takes in order to win or to protect myself.”
2. Do Not Blame
It is meaningless to blame each other in a relationship. Fact is, blaming your spouse will distract yourself from solving the real issue. Moreover, it will cause your partner to be defensive and it will accelerate the disagreement more.
For instance, if you leave a certain bill on the table, and that bill later becomes missing, you may be tempted to blame your partner for that mistake. You may also insist that your partner is disorganized and have to pick it up and place it in somewhere else. In turn, your partner also accuses you of being absent-minded and still insists that you do not memorize where you have put it.
However, taking a few seconds of thinking, blaming each other will take both of you nowhere because the bill cannot be found by that way and you will not feel better as well. Furthermore, it will not help strengthen your marriage at all. Thus, in such situations, you should make a conscious decision that your own relationship is too crucial to undermine it with judgment and blame. Concentrate on keeping your goodwill to each other intact and finding solutions to the real issue, rather than blaming.
3. Do Not Yell
Normally, in a fair, yelling is common. However, it just escalates all things. Actually, chances are nothing will be handled if your emotions are running too high. Once you feel stressed and feel like you are going to yell, you should step away and then cool down.
Bear in mind that yelling could be subjective. What is yelling to your partner might not be yelling to you. Maybe, you are not aware fully how you sound. Or, you might have grown up in the house where other family members were loud and passionate, and talking too loud upon feeling upset becomes normal.
The experience of your partner is the one that counts here, nevertheless. If you think you are going to yell your partner, then make an effort, consciously, to lower the voice. In reality, the significance and meaning of your communication actually, lies in how your own messages are sending. If you could not tone it down due to your extreme feelings, then you should take a time-out.
4. No Third Parties
Complaining to family and friends about your partner’s slights just muddies the issues and leaves bad feelings. Sure, there are times you need a sounding board, yet when you are actually in an argument with your spouse, yelling something like, “Well, my friend Carol thinks you are wrong, too!” will not enhance harmony.
5. Do Not Use Force
Threatening to use force or using physical force in all ways is unacceptable. Thus, you need to develop some self disciplines in order to set limitations for your own frustration and your behavior before reaching this level. If one of you uses any physical force as well as violence in your current marriage, then you need to seek professional help.
It is claimed that use of forces includes shoving, pushing, grabbing, hitting, slapping, punching, or restraining. Acting these ways will violate the boundaries as well as sense of safety of your partner. Every person has the right to be free and safe of abuse or physical damage in their relationships.
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6. Do Not Talk About Divorce
During the heat of an argument, threatening to divorce or leave the current relationship is really hurtful and manipulative as it produces anxiety about being abandoned and obstructs the ability of resolving the real problems emerging. It erodes rapidly the confidence as of your spouse in the commitment to the marriage. And, once lost, trust will be hard to restore. Even, it can worsen the problems than they should be.
Read more: easy ways on how to prevent divorce
7. Do Not Define Your Partner, But Yourself
When it comes to fair fighting rules, this is about being controlled in your own world, not your partner’s world. Just use words to describe your own feelings, your needs, and your wants, not your partner’s.
It might seem easier to analyze those of your spouse than yours, yet interpreting the thoughts of your partner, feelings, and motives just distract you from identifying your personal root problems, and will cause defensiveness from your partner.
Especially, telling your partner what he/she thinks, wants, or believes is presumptuous and controlling. It means that you know your partner’s inner world better than he/she does.
Instead of living the other person’s life, you should work on yourself, your needs, your wants and your ways of thinking. Describe those needs and wants to your partner.
8. Do Not Mention To The Past
Remember that, in the heat of the fight, you should not mention to the past of both you and your partner. Stay in the current moment, and resist the temptation to use any situation as a chance to bring up any other problems from the past as it is discouraging. We could not change the past. We all know that, right? We could just change today. Thus, you should look forwards for a better future.
Keep your own focus on what could be resolved at hand today and go forwards from there. In case that you get off the topic, and move on the other issues, you should stop yourself and get back on track before too late.
If you find yourself bringing something up from the past, then it might be because that issue was not resolved in the first place. This rule is really easy to apply so you will know how to fight fair effectively.
9. Take Turns Speaking
While discussing, let one person speak only, then move on another. When one person is speaking, the left one should be listening well – not just keeping silent and planning the rebuttal. Taking turns speaking will help you and your partner all have a chance to say one’s voice.
Do not try to talk over top of your partner and interrupt him or her as it makes the other person feels being disrespectful. Consciously remind yourself this when feeling an urge to take your partner’s turn of speaking.
10. If Necessary, Use Time-Outs
In the heat of a fight in a relationship, self-preservation becomes the focus. During this stage, mutual and creative problem solving cooperation might be unlikely. You might end up in an escalating argument, thereby becoming more defensive and hostile. In reality, it is impossible to form a rational discussion in a climate of disrespect and hostility. Thus, this is the time to make use of the rule – times-outs.
This is a short break to help you cool down and get the right perspective. It is likely the pushing and pause button on a certain video. That way, you can restore your own calm and also you will be more reflective, rather than reactive. Make use of this period to ask yourself why you act and feel that way. Reframe your thinking patterns into more positive ones. Think carefully before speaking.
Normally, a proper time-out should be no less than 30 minutes in length (yet not longer than 24 hours). In fact, it takes at least 30 minutes for the physiology of the human body to return to a normal resting state and to be less defensive or hostile. Actually, you will realize that how different your outlook could be after having a chance to calm down.
II. How To Fight Fair – 17 Useful Tips
1. Fight Early, Fight Often
The idea is to get what is bugging you off your chest when it first bugs you, instead of saving up hurts and slights for some giant blowup every six months or so. It is about being forthright and clear.
And just like a splinter, the issue gets under your skin and continues to fester until it is dealt with. When your partner's behavior bothers you, you should make a decision to confront your partner as soon as possible. If the problem needs your undivided attention, plan a time when no one else is around—even if you have to ask for several minutes alone together.
2. Acknowledge Your Feelings
When it comes to how to fight fair, you should seek to grow in self-awareness. Acknowledging your own feelings is necessary before constructively deal with conflict or anger.
Acknowledge that anger is a normal, natural emotion, so there is nothing wrong with it. There is no morality to feelings. Hence, you need to understand what caused your feelings. Morality will take its role when you take a destructive action as a consequence of a feeling.
3. Use Negotiation And Compromission
During a clear, calm moment agree, it is a claimed that neither the two of you should “win” a fight. If a person wins, the other will lose and build resentment. As a result, afterwards, these feelings will disappear as your relationship is damaged. Even when one of you is wrong, allow that person to salvage self-respect.
Check out: how to gain respect from people
4. Take Breaks
As mentioned before in this article of “How to fight fair in a marriage”, time-out periods is a basic rule. Build ground rules that let either partner to calm down before resolving anger. It might be essential to engage in some other physical activities like walking, jogging, or running. Those periods will help you or your partner identify the problem clearly and then organize your /his/her thoughts more effectively, thereby keeping the discussion of fight much more on focus.
5. Skip The Silent Treatment
It is surprising that turning a cold shoulder might finish nothing. What you are doing there is to expect your spouse to read your own mind about what is wrong. You might think that you are avoiding conflict, yet in fact, you just worsen all things, creating something else to fight about.
6. Fight By Mutual Consent And Stick On The Subject
It is not a good idea for you to insist on a fair as your partner is unable to deal with the strain or tired. Actually, a fair battle requires two ready players.
On the other hand, sticking on the subject is always required if you want to handle the fight in the first place. When a number of problems seem to be accumulating, then you need to take them one at a time. Once you do not resolve the past issues, you should make an agenda to deal with them. Just make sure that both of you go beyond insult rituals, skirmishing, or angry displays.
7. State The Issue Clearly And Honestly
During the fight, you should not simple say, “I am hurt by the manner you do not show me respect.” Instead, you should be specific and clear as in, “I felt hurt when you said… or when the tone of your voice sounds extremely condescending towards me.”
8. Do Not Hit Below The Belt Or Label
Everybody has vulnerable areas. Hence, you should not use your confidential knowledge of your spouse’s weaknesses as well as sensitivities to hurt him or her.
Do not label your partner. It is one of the most basic tips on how to fight fair that you need to keep in mind. Extreme words like always or never, right or wrong, good, or bad will cause your partner to be defensive and lash out at you after all. These words seem generalize a situation without giving proof that what you are saying is true. Thus, you need to stick to concrete examples of present-day behavior. That way, your partner will have a vivid illustration of his/her actions.
In other words, you should also avoid telling your partner that he or she is depressing, neurotic, or a bore. Instead, you should try saying, “I am tense inside, honey, because you seem moody and depressed. I’d like us to talk about it.”
9. Implement Changes
Follow anger with a firm, fair, and clear request for a change or improvement in whatever brought into the fight. Each of you needs to be clear as to what you agree to change or improve. Also, be specific and realistic. For instance, it would be agreed that whenever the husband tends to be tensed, the wife would normally encourage him to tell her about it, rather than the old pattern of keeping silent.
10. Recognize That No One Is Perfect
People move their attitude from all or nothing to realistically accepting the failures and foibles of other people without trying to convert them. To fight as an adult, you should know that no one is perfect. And, to fight fair, you should mobilize both planning and empathic communication. That means you should plan your fight, if possible.
11. Find A Neutral Spot
It is crucial for you to find a neutral spot for this exchange. Do not opt for anyone’s office space or power place. Instead, you should choose to have a discussion in the kitchen, which is considered as the heart of the house, a place when alchemy occurs.
Besides, you can split your speaking time into third parts, each speaking will not go with defense but go with intimate listening, which requires touch – holding hands, for instance. The last third part of the time is for mutual conversation, in which issues are handled or compromise is considered. Bear in mind that the important message is to never defend accusations from one’s partner.
12. Genuinely Listen
In the heat of the fight, you need to be there, at the present moment, with interest. Really listening means that you open your own heart and switch off your inner dialogue that prompts to answer what your spouse is saying. Besides, make use of descriptive language for explaining your own emotions and feelings. Never interrupt.
13. Be Flexible And Open Your Heart
Memorize that we are a species in evolution and our life are always changing. Situations change, people change. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to go keeping on track. Although we fear the unfamiliar, by opening your heart and being flexible, we could adapt to the change easily.
14. Be Honest
How to fight fair? Just simply be honest. During the fight, to fight fair, you should say what you actually feel, not what you think your spouse wants to hear. It is important to value yourself as well as validate yourself. That way, your partner also does the same. Mutuality is necessary in relationships. Hence, listen to your inner voice and really be who you are as that is the single way to be loved.
Actually, trust is often based on experience. Honesty is a good policy. You should avoid keeping secrets that are crucial to your relationship from your partner. If so, he or she will ultimately turn around and even bite you. Fact is, it is better for your spouse to hear the truth of any situation from you. When trust is broken, it is very difficult to rebuild.
15. Never Fight On An Empty Stomach, Or When Distracted Or Tired
Discussing with your partner will be a good chance for both of you engaging in the empathic process. You may set up a weekly encounter, helping keep the lines of communication open.
16. Never Personally Attack Your Partner
You could criticize the issue, yet never do it towards your spouse. Express your own feelings as your real feelings, not your thoughts. Also, as the rule mentioned above, do not play the blame game. Express your feelings in such a responsible way. For instance, rather than saying, “I think,…” you can say, “I feel…”
17. Do Not Read Your Spouse’s Mind
Do not judge or guess about how your spouse feels. Listen, simply listen and let him/her tell you what he/she feels. Do not project your emotions on your spouse as it just results in fight centered on your projected material, and time lost fighting battles that do not exist.
Above are top fair fighting rules and super effective tips on how to fight fair that can help you keep your marriage firm and warm no matter what happens. Share your thoughts with us by dropping your words below the post and we will feedback soon.