Is fighting a problem in your relationship or marriage? Fighting is a very serious problem for many couples. The good news is that I am about to help you solve it permanently.

First you have to understanding that you should not fight at all, with anyone. I don’t mean you should not disagree with others or your significant other. Nor should you not feel passionate about your disagreements. But fighting describes a set of behaviors that are very destructive to a relationship and must be prevented at all costs.

Here’s what we do when we fight. We get angry and defensive. We get passionate and have trouble controlling our emotions, words and actions. People often exaggerate the facts when fighting or they say things they don’t mean. None of this is productive in any relationships and especially in a romantic relationship. In fact, it is damaging. And it accomplishes nothing.

Instead, when you have disagreement with your significant other, follow the nine commandments of fighting fare:

1. Both people have the right to have needs and wants and make requests of each other
2. Even if one person’s needs, wants or request makes the other person uncomfortable or unhappy, it’s still ok to have these needs, wants and requests
3. Both people have the right to be understood, to state their case, to be heard
4. Both people have the right to express their opinion even if it is about each other
5. Even if the conversation makes one of the people uncomfortable or anxious, it still needs to happen if the other person needs it to happen
6. Both people matter
7. The conversation needs to end in a compromise, where each person gets as much as possible of what he or she wants – both people need to work towards a win win
8. If If a partner brings up an issue it is already important, otherwise it would not be brought up. Dismissing, stonewalling, ignoring, minimizing and making promises that are not kept are disruptive to the relationship.
9. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, impatience need to be kept in check, even if it means the couple needs to take a break to calm down and/or talk about the issue in short segments

If you approach “fighting” in this way, you will no longer have fights. Instead you will have a partnership with two people who come to each other with needs, wants and thoughts and are lovingly, openly received, supported, helped and honored by each other. That’s the kind of fighting that brings people closer rather than tearing them apart.

Both of you need to be at your best when you discuss issues so that you do not fight. It is important that intense conversations be timed when both people have the best possible chance to behave as a loving, supportive grownup.

This means that when issues come up, do not hold them in and gather them to the point where you are going to burst unless you have it out right now, but do choose the timing of difficult conversations carefully.

A note to men about fighting:
Men tend to see women’s emotions as manipulative and are often afraid of women’s anger. And if you are man out there who finds it difficult to deal with your wife’s or girlfriend’s anger, I would ask you to think about one thing. She’s not your mother.

When your mother was angry at you or was manipulating you with her emotions, that was a life and death sort of situation. What boy wants to loose his mother’s love? Your mother’s anger or disappointment could probably reduce you to tears when you were a little boy, because she was person #1 in your life.

On the other hand your wife or girlfriend may be the love of your life, but she did not give you life. She is your equal, not above you. She does not have the power your mother had over you. So let her be angry and learn to breathe and be with her anger and disappointment – it can not hurt you. If you can allow and honor her emotions and give her the right to have them she will see you as her hero.

Last tip to avoid fighting and have productive, loving discussions with your partner:

When your partner is talking, listen. If you start getting upset say to yourself “he is saying this and I am still ok” or “she doesn’t like something I am doing and I am still ok.” It’s a ways of bringing yourself down from upset so that you can listen and be in the conversation and make your relationship work.

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