Learning How to Fight With Respect
Every relationship is going to have its ups and downs, and learning how to address them is an ongoing process. Have you and your partner experienced your first fight yet? If you haven’t, you will. Arguing, bickering, fighting, call it what you will, it is an inevitable part of any relationship. Couples counselling is one way to learn how to fight fairly in your valuable relationship. To learn more about healthy relationships, see this article.
Abandon Your Right vs. Wrong Mentality
One of the more detrimental ways that you can think while arguing with your partner is that one of you will be wrong, and the other right. If you enter into an argument under the notion that one of you is right and the other wrong, not only will your emotions be firing on all cylinders but so will your sense of competition. And while competition has a fantastic place in a relationship (board games, tennis, beach volleyball) it has no place in your heated argument.
Be Honest With Yourself
Being honest with yourself is a lot easier said than done. When it comes to fighting with your partner, honesty starts with you. Fights don’t erupt out of thin air, you can see them coming. Everyday you make conscious decisions about what battles to pick. Why have you chosen this one? And if you aren’t the one who has chosen it, what reasons might your partner have for choosing it? Before things get too heated, try and find a moment to ask yourself why you are feeling the emotions you are experiencing. Feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or anger that have nothing to do with your relationship can sometimes seep into arguments hoping to find an outlet.
Avoid Criticism and Contempt
Oh, how easy it would be to simply blame the problem at hand on your partner’s inability to finish what they start. Criticism – making harsh assessments of your partner’s character – is often paired with contempt – feeling superior – when it comes time to hash things out. Neither of this character traits are particularly helpful tools when it comes to respectful fighting. Recognizing critical and contemptuous comments the moment it is happens (or better yet before it flies out of your mouth) goes a long way to not letting your fight get off topic. After all, it’s incredibly unlikely that your argument has anything to do with your partner forgetting to take the garbage out… again.
Accept That You Will Fight
If you treat an argument with your partner as a be-all and end-all of your relationship, you are going to be afraid to fight. Arguing does not mean that your relationship is in trouble, it simply means you have different opinions – which is a good thing! Instead of trying your darndest to avoid a fight at all costs, accept the fact that you will fight, and learn how to do it with respect. Choose your words carefully, don’t yell if you can speak, and soften your language. Dr. Gottman, a prevalent marriage counsellor believes that the magic ratio in a marriage is 5:1. Meaning that you have five times more positive interactions than negative ones.
To learn more about couples counselling or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 613-425-4257.