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Fighting Fair

Two people cannot spend years together raising children, maintaining a home, holding jobs, paying down debt, and dealing with in-laws and not disagree from time to time. When it comes to fighting, we're all a little different. Some of us bicker and verbally spar with each other constantly. Others can go for months, maybe longer, without so much as a misunderstanding. The bottom line is not that you argue, but how you argue. Do your disputes morph into volcanic eruptions and character assassinations? Everybody's entitled to speak their mind and get things off their chest. But a marriage license is not a license to act like a prima dona or an immature bully. Here's some advice for when the going gets tough:

  • Hold your tongue (even if it kills you). Sometimes a situation can arise that makes you so mad that you swear your head is going to blow up. Getting a concern off your chest is one thing, but flinging insults and derogatory comments is both childish and hurtful.

  • Keep your fighting private. If you are angry about something then wait until you can be alone with your partner to discuss it. It's not fair to make family and friends uncomfortable because of something that doesn't involve them.

  • Stick to the subject. Don't switch subjects or throw in old business just because you're ticked off.

  • Act civilized. Just because you're in the heat of an argument doesn't mean that you should lose all sense of civility toward one another. It's an argument, not the Battle of Midway. Stop being so concerned that you be right that you can't get your partner something to drink or a chair to sit in. Second, let the other person speak.

  • Pick your battles. Is it really necessary to go 12 rounds over everything? Is finding there's no toilet paper really worth having a fight over? Decide what you can ignore and what you feel is important. If you're going off over every blessed thing, sooner or later your partner is going to tune you out.

  • If you feel yourself losing control, leave the room. There may be moments in an intense argument when you feel like throwing something or even striking your partner. In those instances, be wise and leave the room until you get your anger under control. If you feel this is something hard to control you may want to consider getting some outside help.

  • When it's over, it's over. Once you've resolved a disagreement then put it behind you. Bite your lip when you feel the urge to dish it up again.


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