How to stop unhealthy fighting in your relationship
The most important thing in any relationship is respect. Without respect, you cannot have a happy marriage or even a healthy friendship.
If you do not show your partner respect then there will be no trust and without trust, you cannot have love. When it comes to fighting, respect is crucial because without it; things can go very wrong very quickly with no room for compromise or understanding.
Fighting is one of the biggest challenges that couples face in their relationships but it does not have to be this way if both parties agree to fight fair!
Distinguish between problem-solving conversations and heated arguments
In a heated argument, both partners are attempting to prove their point and gain the upper hand in the conversation. The goal of this type of conversation is not to solve any problems but rather to win points by using logic and facts or emotion-based arguments.
In a problem-solving conversation, however, both parties work together toward a solution that benefits everyone involved—including yourself! This means identifying problems and finding solutions that will work for both parties (not just you).
Don't try to read your partner's mind. If you're unsure about why your partner's upset, ask them
When you're in the middle of a fight, it may seem impossible to stop and ask your partner what's going on. The intensity of the moment can sometimes make it feel like there is no other option than to continue arguing for as long as possible. However, taking the time to ask questions and get more information about why your partner is upset can help calm things down.
Asking questions such as:
"Why do you think I do this?"
"What do you think would happen if I didn't do that?"
"How does this make you feel?"
Choose your timing carefully
Be sure to choose the time carefully. It's important to have a clear head and be in a good mood when you talk about an important problem in your marriage. Don't schedule a fight when either of you has been drinking or using drugs, for example, or when one of you is feeling low about something else.
Here are some guidelines:
Choose a time when both people aren't too tired or hungry.
Choose a time when neither person has too many other stresses going on (for example, work deadlines).
Choose a time that's private enough so that nobody can hear what's being said (for example, don't fight in front of kids).
Discuss one issue at a time
To begin, discuss one issue at a time. This means that you should not bring up past issues and don't bring up future issues until the current issue is resolved. While it can be tempting to discuss other topics when fighting, this only leads to more fighting and less progress in resolving your current problem.
If you find yourself bringing up an unrelated topic or relating a new problem with an old one, stop yourself and return the focus back to resolving the original problem.
Both parties must stay open-minded, especially when hearing opinions that oppose their own
In order to fight fair and stay on the same page, both parties must be open-minded. You should accept that your partner may have a different perspective than you.
Try to understand where he or she is coming from and don’t assume that they are wrong in their opinions. If you’re not sure about something, ask for clarification before arguing your point further. Finally, don’t be afraid of admitting when you don't know something; this will help lead to a more productive discussion overall.
Frame statements as requests, not demands or accusations.
Stating what you want in a non-demanding way is more likely to get you what you want than demanding it. This is because a demand statement comes off accusatory and can make your partner defensive. It also makes them feel that they're being criticized for something wrong they've done (even if they haven't), which can lead to an argument or fight—or both! Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements when expressing feelings: "I feel hurt when I hear what you said about my parents," rather than "You hurt me by talking badly about my mother."
Don’t badmouth each other or use abusive language, even if you’re upset or angry.
One of the most important things to remember when fighting fair is not to badmouth each other or use abusive language. Even if you’re upset or angry, it isn’t helpful to call your spouse names, insult them, or use other hurtful words. It also doesn't help anyone for you to try and make your partner feel bad about themselves.
Instead of saying things like “you’re stupid” or “you can never do anything right," try using phrases like "I feel frustrated when we don't agree on something." This allows both spouses to talk about their feelings without hurting each other's feelings in the process.
Use concrete examples when explaining how you feel so it's easier for your partner to understand what upsets you
When it comes to talking about a problem in your relationship, avoid vague terms like “you always” or “you never.” You want to use concrete examples that are easy for your partner to understand and relate to. Instead of saying, “You never help me with the kids,” say something like, “Last night I was putting the kids to bed and needed some help from you before I could get any sleep myself."
When explaining how you feel about an issue in your marriage, don't use emotional terms like “hurt me” or “made me feel bad.”
When we're upset by something our spouse does (or doesn't do), it's natural for emotions to flare up; however, these feelings can easily get out of control when we use them as part of our argumentation. For example: Saying something along the lines of "You hurt my feelings" won't solve anything because it doesn't tell us what specifically about this situation made you feel that way—it's just another way of saying "I'm mad at what happened."
Once the argument is over, allow yourself to move on and don't make any decisions in anger or frustration
Do not bring up the argument again. This healthy fight fair tip is a bit of an oxymoron, but it is important: Do not bring up the issue that you argued about again. You may feel like it would help to get closure on this topic, but this actually just makes it harder for both of you to move forward and heal emotionally from what was said or done during the argument.
Don't make any decisions while still upset. Similarly, do not make any big decisions when you are still feeling angry at your spouse or hurt by something they did during your recent fight.
The best way to stop unhealthy fighting in your marriage is to fight fair. The next time you get into an argument with your partner, remember these tips and try them out. You’ll be amazed by how much easier it is to talk when you approach things with love and compassion.