“If we must both be right. We will lose each other” ~ Nayyirah Waheed
No relationship is without conflict. Even the most perfect of pairings will tend to disagree from time to time. It’s how we handle these disagreements in the moment, and after, which will affect the account and climate of our relationship. So what can we do to “fight” in a way that doesn’t hurt our relationship, or even helps grow it.
1) Words hurt.
Wherever the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” came from it needs to go back. Words hurt and make a lasting impression on the psyche. While in the heat of the moment you may wish to tell your partner all the things that irk you about them in the most hurtful way possible, tell them you don’t like them or want them out of your space. Remember that when the smoke clears and you are no longer seeing red, those words have been received and felt by your love. A simple I’m sorry or I didn’t mean it won’t erase them and the lasting effect they cause.
2) Be respectful
When you are in the heat of the moment it is a hard thing to tell yourself to use nice words or respect their feelings, but as mature adults we must work really hard to value the relationship as a whole and not just winning the current battle. Don’t allow the argument to escalate to the point of name calling or character assassination. If possible, try to avoid swearing and condescending tones or language as those are only going to get a rise out of your partner
3) Address the Root Cause
Are you finding yourself constantly mad or fighting about smaller things that really aren’t a big deal? You are likely not addressing the *real* issue that is causing friction. This could be within the relationship or an outside force. Perhaps there are stresses at work, financial strains. Or within the relationship there are differing ideas of how much quality time is needed with your partner. Whatever it might be take a serious look at what is really bothering you and what may be the catalyst for conflict.
4) Know Yourself
Are you finding yourself flying off the handle at every little thing your partner says? Do you assume the worst is meant by him/her rather than taking it as face value or even asking for clarification? Make sure you have resolved any feelings you have within yourself. This could be an indication of some sort of guilt or disappointment with yourself that you are projecting onto your partner. Be honest with yourself and them. They are still holding you down for a reason, open up about what you are feeling and allow a dialog to occur to bring you both to a place of better understanding.
5) Keep it Above the Belt
In an intimate relationship, secrets, fear and dreams are being shared between you. Don’t use that confidential and highly personal information as a way to hurt your partner. Ever. Period.
6) Implement Change
You made it through the fight and you feel you understand your partners concerns and needs now. You may be even feeling closer to your partner than before, great!! Ensure that this fight was “worth it” but really taking action on the things you discussed. Actions always speak louder than words so to avoid a backslide into the same issues coming up time and time again, and to prove to your partner how much you value them and your relationship, make sure you take steps to implement the changes you talked about.
While it’s hard to pick your battles sometimes, you don’t need to show up to every fight you’re invited to. You may have every right to be mad but choose what really deserves your anger. And always love harder than you fight. If you can send a 500 word text on all the things that are wrong, you better be able to send 1500 words on the reason you are so in love with this special someone.
Have any tips for Fighting Fair that you can share with other couples? Comment below!