5 Ways To Fight Fair With Your Spouse

I think one of the most important things in a relationship is not only how you love but how you fight. Most of us read incredible amounts of literature on how to love, we spend hours watching movies, reading books, listening to songs - all of it seduces us with this fabulous incredible idea of what love should be. What we forget about is how to fight. Fighting is not just putting your dukes up and knocking your partner out with verbal right hooks, but instead fighting fair is imperative to a healthy and loving relationship. Most of us have learned how to fight from our parents - and they may not have been the best roles models for us when it comes to loving or fighting. The point is to do your own research, learn about how not to hurt the person you are suppose to be loving.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

In my own relationship we have set rules about how we fight.

1. No Name-Calling

From the beginning of my relationship we established rules. For instance, we would never call each other names that we could not take back. Have you ever been called a bitch or something even worse? I probably would have lost respect in, not only my eyes, but my husband's eyes if I had ever allowed him or anyone else to call me names that I abhor. Allowing someone to call you names not only makes you seem weak, but it also appears as though you must believe it - otherwise why would you allow it.

2. Always Keep Your Fight Private

I have seen couples lashing out at each other at the dinner table, letting everyone know why they were fighting. Not only does this make everyone around you uncomfortable, but it also creates negative image of you and your partner to the people in front of whom you are fighting. Also, if the things said are private and hurtful your partner may secretly harbor a distaste for you or the friends who witnessed the fight. Shaming your partner is not fighting fair.

Courtesy of George Eastman House

3. Allow Your Partner To Save Face

The ability to save face is one of the most gracious things you can do for your partner. If your partner is wrong, and he or she knows that s/he is wrong, then the best thing you can do is allow your partner to bow out gracefully. If you corner someone and give them no route for escape - there will be resentful, unloving feelings which are sure to accumulate over time.

4. Give In

You may not WANT to do this all the time, you may not want to give in EVER, but my husband has a great line about this that I love. He says, "Do want to be married or do you want to be right?" This is usually the story he tells his friends when he feels I'm being unreasonable. Granted, I may be unreasonable once or twice a year, but for the most part I appreciate it when he lets me have my way. This tiny act of love that makes me think how sweet he is to just concede and not care enough to the be right because sometimes being right isn't everything.

Courtesy of the Library of Virgina

5. Don't Talk to More Than 3 People about Your Fight

A long time ago I read somewhere that if you discuss something more than 3 times it becomes part of your story. If you repeat something over and over again and tell people how horrible your spouse is (how he doesn't take out garbage, take care of the kids, works late etc), what you say will start to be your story. My rule is to only talk to my sister, my cousin or my closest friends and once I spoke about it twice I usually don't repeat it. I have realized that if everyone knows the bad things which sometimes really aren't that bad - it reflects more on me that it does him.

Dr. Phils Rules For Fighting