Fighting Fair

Do you ever feel stuck in an impossible place of frustration with your significant other where you just don’t feel heard? The communication is stagnant, circling the issue at hand and nothing is getting resolved?

We have all experienced something like this in our relationships. Unfortunately this will happen, and it will probably happen more than you’d like.

BUT, there’s a way it can benefit and strengthen a relationship, when it’s DONE RIGHT!

Moments of conflict or tension in a relationship are inevitable. Everyone has their own perspective on situations or beliefs and these are shaped by our experiences in life. Our experiences with our families and belief systems we adopt over time plays a role in this, too.  

When couples run into trouble over differences of opinion or perspective it’s usually because they can’t allow the other person to express their side and show true understanding of where the person is coming from. 

Relationships still work when differences occur.
The key is how to communicate effectively and FIGHT FAIR!

There is a lot of value in experiencing conflict in a relationship. And, more importantly, learning how to resolve that conflict in a productive and loving way. 

Easier said than done in the heat of the moment, I know! Since emotions can cloud our ability to think rationally, it can seem impossible.  

However, conflict resolution plays an important role in building trust and improving communication in a relationship. 

Let’s look at these 10 simple steps to “fighting fair:”

  1. Accept the conflict in the moment: 
    Acceptance means the opportunity for growth is present.
    Instead of thinking it’s a step towards failure, think to yourself, “this is where we can improve US.”
  2. Focus on the issue, not the person:
    Attacking the other person is not healthy or productive and will lead to more hurt and potentially irrevocable damage.
    Take the conversation from a finger pointing “how could you do this” to “this triggered me because ___, and that’s why I’m hurt.”
    This allows you and your partner to discuss how things could be handled better or differently next time to avoid hurt feelings.
  3. Be respectful:
    This shows the other person you can embrace that it’s OK to have different views.
  4. Use a soft voice:
    When voices raise it creates more opportunity for negative emotions to arise and miscommunication to occur.
  5. Don’t get defensive! Get curious instead:
    This can create resolution quickly! You may find that you agree with the other person when you get more curious about where they are coming from.
  6. Ask for clarification:
    Never make an assumption during an argument, ask for specifics and keep the argument around facts, not feelings.
  7. Look for common ground:
    This creates options for finding a resolution and building the foundation of the relationship.
  8. Find compromise:
    Small concessions with each other over time can create lasting trust. It sends the message to your partner that they are more important to you than “winning” the argument.
  9. Be willing to give a little:
    This creates cooperation and creates alternative outcomes to find points of agreement. Small sacrifices are necessary in every relationship!
  10. Find a resolution, and move on:
    Make up and make peace with each other. Unresolved conflict will only ultimately create resentment that will undermine the relationship.
    Make a conscious decision that the love you feel for your partner is bigger that the issue itself.

An argument doesn’t have to ruin the day! Keep in mind that when both people are actively seeking to understand the other person’s perspective, each will feel heard and validated. By doing this, we’re creating deeper intimacy in the emotional health of the relationship.

So, when an argument is unavoidable, remember to LOVE

L: listen
O: observe
V: validate
E: empathize

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