Love:  How to Fight Fair

“Where there is love there is life.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

Love is love. Miscommunication happens every now and then it is normal. Do not lose great love because of an inability to resolve small conflict respectfully. Learn how to fight fair.

How do you learn to fight fair?

Before you begin, ask yourself why you feel upset. Are you angry because your partner left the mustard on the counter? Or are you angry because you feel like you’re doing an uneven share of the housework, and this is just one more piece of evidence? Take time to think about your own feelings before starting an argument.

Discuss one topic at a time. Don’t let “You left dishes in the sink” turn into “You watch too much TV.” Discussions that get off-topic are more likely to get heated, and less likely to solve the original problem. Choose one topic and stick to it. No degrading language. Discuss the issue, not the person. No put-downs, swearing, or name-calling. Degrading language is an attempt to express negative feelings while making sure your partner feels just as bad. Doing so leads to more character attacks while the original issue is forgotten.

Express your feelings with words. “I feel hurt when you ignore my phone calls.” “I feel scared when you yell.” Structure your sentences as “I” statements (“I feel emotion when event”) to express how you feel while taking responsibility for your emotions. However, starting with “I” does not give a license to ignore the other fair fighting rules.

Take turns speaking. Give your full attention while your partner speaks. Avoid making corrections or thinking about what you want to say. Your only job is to understand their point of view, even if you disagree. If you find it difficult to not interrupt, try setting a timer allowing 1-2 minutes for each person to speak without interruption.

No stonewalling. Sometimes, the easiest way to respond to an argument is to retreat into your shell and refuse to speak. This is called stonewalling. You might feel better temporarily, but the original issue will remain unresolved, and your partner will feel more upset. If you absolutely cannot go on, tell your partner you need to take a time-out. Agree to resume the discussion later.

Source: Therapy Aid LLC

Happy Valentine’s Day! Show love to your partner, family, friends, and those who make positive contributions to your life. Want to take a dip into a passionate love affair? Check out RL Collins’ paranormal romance series on Amazon.

NEXT STEPS:  Come back next week for more tips on love.

©Indigo Stone 2023

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