Let's face it, every couple fights. Despite how unpleasant fighting is, sometimes it just needs to happen so that you and your spouse can fix some things and get back on track. But, sometimes, the fighting doesn't get things back on track but can cause even more problems.
The secret to having productive fights (the ones that get your marriage back on track) is to have fair fights. Fighting fair ensures your arguments stay productive and helps you and your spouse get back to being happy together sooner. But, fighting fair is hard to do. After all, when you fight, you just want to give your spouse a piece of your mind and say exactly what you think. Here are four tips to help you fight fair no matter what kind of mood you're in.
4 Tips for Fighting Fair In Your Marriage
1. Stay on point
When you fight, it's easy to bring up other things that you're mad about, too. You might start fighting because your spouse is late, again. Before you know it, you're both yelling about how the other person never takes out the trash, either. The problem with this is that when you don't stay on point, you confuse your spouse about what the argument is really about. You may also end up fighting about something other than what you really wanted to talk about. This defeats the purpose of bringing it up in the first place. So, before you bring up something, think about what it is you really want to talk about and stick to it. Don't get distracted and try to keep your spouse on point, too.
2. No personal attacks
If you want to talk about how your spouse never does nice things for you, you don't need to tell him what a big jerk he is or how stupid he is for never doing nice things for you. These kinds of comments distract from what you really want to talk about and only hurt your spouse's feelings. Personal attacks also make the argument hotter than it needs to be.
When you make personal attacks, you're sending a message to your spouse that you don't love her (or you won't love her). This is the worst message to send to someone you want to be married to. So, leave the personal attacks out and talk only about the subject at hand.
3. Leave the past in the past
When you fight, it's easy to talk about how your spouse is doing the same thing this time that she did at last year's Christmas party. To prove your point, you may also want to bring up other instances that were similar to this one. Most of the time it's better to just let sleeping dogs lie. Bringing up stuff from the past just brings up even more hurt feelings for both of you. You also risk re-fighting about all that old stuff (see point number 1 above) instead of the matter at hand.
When you bring up a complaint without a solution, you're just nagging. You're sending your partner the message that you're mad, and you just want to give him a piece of your mind. You don't really care what the outcome is, you just want to make him feel bad for making you mad.
Instead of just complaining about what your spouse did wrong, offer a solution of what she (or both of you) can do to repair the problem. Your spouse will love that you're giving her a chance to make amends and you'll feel better, too, when your spouse takes you up on your solution. This also ensures that you don't fight for too long because you're telling your spouse what she can do to fix things.
Remember that all spouses fight, and fighting can even be good in your marriage - when it's done right. These four tips will help you make sure you're fighting fair and getting back to happier times in your marriage.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.