How to Fight Fair

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fighting fair imageIt’s inevitable that two people in love will argue, especially those who are married and/or living together. The fighting is an unavoidable truth that comes with being in a relationship, but the toil said fighting can take on yours is 100 percent up to you. People often say to the Man and I, “It’s like you two never argue!” Oh, we do! We just do so in a way that doesn’t often leave a residual effect on our marriage, and certainly not one an outsider can see. We call it fighting fair. There will be so many moments in life where you have to take the gloves off, so why would we ever want to do that within our marriage? We just don’t think that’s healthy. So, we have some unspoken rules around here that help us keep the drama to a minimum and the fights contained at a level we both can handle. The other day we decided to write a few of them down to share, and we call it our little guide to fighting fair. Wanna see it? Here it goes!

How to Fight Fair

DO speak with love. Starting a sentence off with words phrases like, “I’ve had it with your sh*t because” or “Why do I always have to repeat myself?” generally isn’t a good way to remind the other person that although you’re angry, you still love them. In place of those try: “I love you, but I’m going a little crazy so I need to say this” or “I know we’ve been over this before, but I feel some things are still unresolved.” Have I wanted to call my husband and idiot or a bum mid-argument before? Of course! But that would hurt him and me too later on once the regret sets in. So I don’t. I choose to speak with love instead.

DON’T bring up something that’s bothering you when the other person is exhausted or otherwise emotionally spent. Do you want to talk about your “problems” after your boss ruined your day, or you’re running on 3 hours of sleep? No? So why would they want to? If it’s not going to destroy your relationship if you don’t say it right then, you can probably stand to keep quiet one more day.

DO pick a neutral fighting zone. I feel cornered when my husband confronts me in the bathroom while I’m doing my hair or putting on makeup (my little grooming space) and I’ve noticed he feels the same way when I approach while he’s cooking in our kitchen. You’ll be both be more open to the discussion and less defensive if you’re sitting together at the table, on the couch, or maybe even in bed; and when all those fail a walk together in the open air is always helpful to clear the air in your marriage.

DON’T interrupt their bliss. Bringing up your latest beef with your marriage while your husband’s working out or watching the playoffs is wrong for two reasons. 1) You clearly won’t have his full attention, and that’s always important when you’re trying to get to the bottom of something. 2) Everyone deserves a chance to do the little things in life that bring them joy. Interrupting those moments to bring up something that might make them feel anger or sadness is really kind of rude if you think about it. Would you want to be interrupted for a mini world war right smack in the middle of your me time? Right, didn’t think so.

DO end an argument with action points for each of you. What was the purpose of hashing it out if you didn’t decide on what either of you can do better to keep the issue from coming up again?

DON’T threaten to do something you know you don’t mean. Packing a bag, or threatening divorce or separation aren’t argument tactics their fool moves. Putting those type of thoughts out there just implies that you’re willing to say whatever it takes to hurt the other person and you’re not willing to stick around and work through what’s really going on.

DO practice your words and prepare your thoughts. Call a girlfriend and vent, or write a list of points you’d like to get across. It’s much easier to keep your cool in an argument when you know what you really want to say, and how you want to respond to what they might say. You wouldn’t go into a big business meeting unprepared would you?

DON’T give up because you’re not getting anywhere. Just call a time out instead. You don’t have to go to bed angry. We like to call it going to bed thinking. If you’re both getting tired and you’re not getting the issue resolved, you can agree to sleep on what was said and continue the discussion the next day. Isn’t that better than getting overly frustrated and saying “forget it” or “never mind”? You know it’s not really over, so don’t pretend it is. Just come to a peaceful pause.

Do you fight fair in your marriage or relationship? Do you have something to add to or dispute on this list? Please do, below!

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15 Responses to How to Fight Fair

  1. @trininista says:

    I am not married or even in a serious relationship, but this was a powerful post!
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    • ManWifeDog says:

      Thank you! I'm so glad it spoke to you just the same. Please pass it on to your married/dating friends too. ; – )

      Thanks for the comment love. It means so so SO much!

  2. GREAT post! I totally agree with all of these. My husband and I are very cautious about how we fight. We NEVER take the fight outside the house, we always try to let the other talk. If we do resolve something, we do some goofy tension-breaker like a slow dance or a tickle fight. It totally diffuses things b/c sometimes even when the fight is over, the bad energy is there, you know? And sometimes we just say "I don't want to argue about this now" and revisit it later. I've definitely had a few nights where I'm up thinking and frustrated, but more often than not I wake up and a lot of the anger is diffused and I can speak about it more rationally.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      I wish our fights stayed in the house, but they often start in the car — ha! One thing we don't do it fight in front of others. It's just not a good look for any married couple. Why let outsiders in? It's 100 percent none of their business. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie!

  3. Richa Kumar says:

    Nice one..! We can’t think of any relationship in which fights don’t take place. Fights take place when two people do not agree on a common decision, thought, action or choice of words of their partner. Remember by setting a few rules of fighting, you are deciding the dos and don’ts of fights. For example.. http://howrelationshipswork.blogspot.com/2011/05/
    My recent post Rules of fighting

  4. Mimi says:

    Great stuff! I agree. I have learned to fight fair, even when I feel he isn't. The bottom line is no one wants to be attacked or disrespected no matter what the situation is. I always try to think before I speak and I make sure to use words that will get my point across. Disagreements will happen, I've learned the way we handle them makes sure the same issues don't continue to come up.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Great point! We should have included that. When the other person takes their gloves off it's still not a good idea to follow suit. I love it. Noted! ; – )

  5. Fantastic pointers!!!!!!!!! My hub and I do most of these in some form or another. It's been working for us for 25 years, btw. ;)

  6. buddahkitty says:

    Great advice, I started with fair fighting when my husband and I lived with one another before we got married. My first rule was no name calling, no matter what. That was a good start. There is always room to grow and learn. But that's the best part of a marriage, you are always learning.

  7. Thank, Q says:

    This is great! You made some really nice points that any couple can use. I especially like "Do speak with love" because that is very important and key in any "discussion."
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  8. DinaLatina says:

    i know this post is old but i just came upon the site today and this was a really important read for me. altho my fiance and i love eachother very much, we fight very VERY dirty. and that deffinatly puts a strain on both of us. we learned it from our parents, but this article is exactly wat we need- some guidance in the right direction towads a clean argument. ill DEFFINATLY be showing this to him, in a neutral space, when he isnt watching soccer (; thanks so much!

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Thanks for commenting! I'm very glad you found this post to be helpful! I heard that from quite a few people and it makes me smile. Hey, it's definitely something all couples must learn…we're still learning. So glad you stopped by. Hope to see you again sometime.

  9. Thank you! I'm so glad it spoke to you just the same. Please pass it on to your married/dating friends too. ; – )

    Thanks for the comment love. It means so so SO much!

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