How to Fight Fair in a Marriage
How to Fight Fair in a Mariage
“Is fighting in a marriage alright?” This is the question we are often asked. The simple answer is, “Yes!” When a husband and wife fight, they are engaging in a perfectly normal and expected part of what it means to be married. In fact, disagreement between two people in love is actually healthy for their relationship. To argue or not argue is NOT the question! The question should be, “How do we fight fairly and effectively?”
Learning how to fight fair and to make appropriate compromises will go a long way towards keeping a relationship strong. Compromise is rarely ever 50/50. Some days it is 90/10; some days it is 60/40; and some days it really is 50/50.
The truth is, compromise is part of what marriage is all about. Whether it is what to make for dinner, where to live or what color to paint the living room, the two of you have to make the decisions together that both of you can support after the decision is made. Sometimes arguments can actually – pardon the pun – get to the heart of the matter.
Fighting and arguing are just as much a part of marriage as sex. It is a natural part of relating to another human being.
Over the years, our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples around the world have revealed seven ways to fight fair and they are:
1. Fight in a calm manner. That means don’t shout or throw things or rant about the situation. Don’t take a position of anger or hostility. Think about what you are going to say before it actually comes flowing out of your mouth.
2. No name-calling or ugly verbiage about your spouse. Don’t let the argument degrade into a battle of personal insults. It doesn’t address the issues and can do lasting damage to your relationship even. You can’t take back your words!
3. You are an adult, act like it. Don’t have a temper tantrum! Don’t just sit there looking mad without saying anything. Engage in the conversation with the thought of how can we solve this problem together as adults.
4. Keep the argument logical and focused on the issues at hand. Don’t wander off topic. Determine what the problem is, what issues need to be dealt with and what are the possible solutions. If you focus on determining which solution would work best, it keeps you moving towards an end result.
5. Don’t cast blame. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. You share the problems together and you have to share the solutions together. What you discover is that when you can arrive at a solution by working as a team, the two of you can tackle anything that comes your way.
6. Don’t hold grudges. As soon as the issue has been resolved, forget it and move on. The worst thing you can do is resurrect old battles and scars. That means no gloating if you were right and no reminding him or her constantly about how mad you still are. Couples with great marriages tell us that they have a short memory when it comes time to their past arguments. That is the way it should be.
7. As we have said many times before, NEVER go to bed mad at each other. Settle your fight before you go to bed, no matter how long it takes. You can defer the ultimate decision on an issue until further discussion the next day, but you can’t go to bed mad at each other! This is the number one piece of advice given to us by the thousands of happily married couples that we have interview over the past 30 years around the world.
Remember, it is perfectly okay to argue and debate with your spouse. Better solutions are often arrived at when you engage in wholesome debate. Learning how to argue effectively is critically important to a healthy marriage and to a healthy relationship.
Simple things matter in love and marriage. Choosing the one you love for love tops the list. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Love and Marriage Experts
Love and Marriage Advice