Every couple disagrees from time to time. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for a long time, all marriages have ups and downs.
It’s knowing how to handle the down times that matter. And that includes knowing how to handle those inevitable disagreements with your spouse.
Your marriage is worth the effort. If you and your spouse argue more than you should or if you have developed some unhealthy ways of handling conflict, there is hope.
Laying down some ground rules for how to fight can make all the difference. This can help keep the tension down when those disagreements do occur.
Here are some helpful tips you can use for fighting fairly with your spouse.
How to Fight: Avoid Degrading Your Spouse
Discussing important issues with your spouse is something you should do regularly. But you want to use respectful language even when you are feeling emotional.
Insults and put-downs won’t help the situation, and instead, will only make matters worse. Remember to avoid profanity and name calling completely.
You want to show your spouse you are serious about your concerns, but you want to treat your spouse respectfully and listen to their thoughts as well.
Raising your voice in a disagreement with your spouse will only escalate the situation. Yelling doesn’t help your partner understand you better or take you more seriously.
Instead, it will make your spouse feel they need to protect themselves or your children if they are around. If you find yourself yelling in a heated discussion, try to take a step back and calm down.
Take a break and come back to the issue when you can discuss the matter calmly. Then, you can begin the conversation again and discuss what made you angry.
If your spouse tells you that you’re yelling, take their word for it. You may not even be aware of how loud you are getting in the heat of the moment.
When you blame or point the finger at your spouse, it automatically puts them on the defensive. Even if you think your spouse is at fault, this tactic will get you nowhere in an argument.
This will result in your spouse defending themselves, and then no one hears the other’s concerns. Rather than blaming, try explaining your feelings while offering ideas to resolve the problem.
And always listen to what the other person has to say. Without cooperation on both sides, the problem will not be resolved.
Avoid Threats and Physical Force
Any sort of threat or physical force in an argument is totally inappropriate and unacceptable. If you are feeling so angry and emotional that you think you might lash out in this way, you must be self-disciplined and back away from the situation.
No matter what has happened to cause the argument, no one deserves to be threatened or abused in any way. This is a violation of your spouse which leads to fear and mistrust that can ruin your marriage.
If you and your spouse have had issues with threats or physical force in the past, learning how to fight in a healthy way is critical.
Focus on Yourself
Rather than blaming your spouse and beginning your sentences with “you”, try to use “I” sentences instead. This helps you get your point across and share your feelings without putting your partner on the defensive.
Once you begin blaming someone else in an argument, that person stops hearing what you have to say and instead starts thinking about what to say to defend themselves.
That’s why it is important to focus on explaining what is bothering you and how it makes you feel. This opens the door to a healthy discussion where both sides feel their concerns are respected.
Avoid Reliving the Past
When you have a disagreement with your spouse, leave the past in the past. Bringing up past hurts and mistakes will only stir up those old wounds.
This can add fuel to the fire and make your disagreement much worse while taking the focus off of the real issue at hand. Many people make this mistake when arguing with a spouse.
They bring up old issues that may not have been resolved. Remember, the past cannot be changed. It is your future with your partner that truly matters.
A key component in knowing how to fight fairly is to avoid interrupting. Think about this. Do you like it when you have something to say and your partner interrupts you?
Of course not. So you don’t want to do that to your partner either. When your partner is speaking, stop and really listen to what they have to say.
Let them talk as long as they need to and don’t interrupt. You both deserve the right to express your feelings and be heard.
It’s impossible to come to any resolution when you are not communicating in a respectful way.
Keep It Between You
You may be tempted to run to your best friend and tell all whenever you are angry with your spouse. You should think twice before doing this.
Your best friend is hardly unbiased and you might not get the best advice for the good of your marriage. If you do feel you need to talk to someone, that’s okay.
Just make sure they are someone who is unbiased and cares to help you resolve the issue. If you feel you and your spouse are at an impasse, seeking the help of a therapist could be helpful.
And there is no shame in reaching out for help.
Avoid Involving the Children
Children too often become the unfortunate witnesses to their parents’ arguments. You are their role models. They are watching everything you do.
Watching their parents constantly fight can be emotionally damaging to children. It is very irresponsible to fight in front of them.
One of the most important things you can do when learning how to fight is to protect your children. Don’t argue when they are around.
Disciplining yourself to do this is good for your children. They deserve the right to just be kids and not be caught in the middle of their parents’ conflicts.
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We hope these tips on how to fight fairly with your spouse are helpful.
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