Since all couples fight at one point or another in their relationship, I thought I would show you a healthy way to fight this week rather than take the approach of telling you not to fight – (since that is like asking a blind person to see). Fighting does not doom your relationship or kill the intimacy you feel for each other; however, the love and intimacy in your relationship highly depends upon the way you fight.
Put these three simple and highly effective ways to “fight” into play and you will keep the flames of romance burning bright – regardless of your differences.
1. Stay on one issue and avoid going off on a tangent. Easier said than done. Couples start fighting about one issue and then rapidly escalate the fight by bringing up different issues from the past. These past issues are usually introduced by the following words: “And another thing …” or “Since you are bringing this up, how about the time you …” Sound familiar? Doing this only escalates the tension between the two of you and is totally unproductive. If you are fighting about one particular issue – stick to that specific issue. While arguing, if you remember other issues you would like to discuss, set up a date and time to discuss them with your partner later. Otherwise, a fight about one issue will end up in a litany of past grievances with no resolution in sight – a sure fire way to kill romance, intimacy – and your relationship.
2. Do not interrupt each other. This is really simple and easy to understand but people have a hard time doing it. Do not interrupt your partner when they are speaking. If you need clarification about your partner’s point, ask them for it when they are done speaking by saying: “Can you please help me understand what you meant when you said …” This will let your partner know that you were not only listening to them but – perhaps more importantly, you were trying to understand what they were saying. Conflicts of any kind can never be resolved if people do not feel understood. Couples do not have to agree with each other but they do have to attempt to understand each others differences. Listening carefully while not interrupting will help develop this understanding.
3. Be respectful – and that means you are not allowed to call each other names. Just because your partner feels differently about something than you do that does not make them “stupid” an “idiot” or ridiculous”. If you find yourself getting over-emotional during an argument, take a time out from the fight and re-visit it when cooler heads prevail. Besides being disrespectful, name calling during a fight is unproductive and creates ill-will between you and your partner. Once respect goes out the window, the relationship itself is usually not far behind.
A final thought on fighting with your significant other. When you are at a crossroads with your partner on an issue ask yourself this question: “Is it more important that I “win” this fight? Or that I keep my relationship strong and happy?” In other words, are you willing to risk the love and intimacy in your relationship over the issue you are fighting about? Is it really worth it? Usually the answer is a resounding no.
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann