Rules For Fair Fighting
All couples fight. One major difference between long-married, happy couples and those that divorce is that successful couples have learned how to "fight fair."
Fighting fair means following guidelines that promote a safe and fair fight where both partners allow each other to express feelings and positions fully, and hear each other out, no matter how deep the disagreement. Follow these guidelines:
1. Be specific when you introduce a complaint. Confine yourself to one issue at a time.
2. Donít just complain. Ask for a reasonable change to help resolve the problem
3. Do not make the situation seem hopeless by overloading your partner with complaints.
4. Do not let counter-demands enter the picture until the original request is clearly understood and there has been a clear-cut response.
5. No cross-complaining. When the other person complains, donít answer with a complaint.
6. Do not be sarcastic or intolerant. Be open to your own feelings and equally open to your partnerís.
7. Do not correct a partnerís statement of his/her own feelings. Do not tell a partner what s/he should know or feel.
8. Never assume that you know what a partner is thinking until you have checked out the assumption in plain language. Do not predict how s/he will react.
9. Always be open to compromise. Your partnerís view of reality may be as real as yours, even though you may differ.
10. Never make labeling statements, accusations or put-downs. Name calling, snide remarks, put-downs or negative facial expressions are unacceptable, unproductive and damaging to your relationship.
11. Forget the past and stay in the here and now. Donít use "always," "never" or "should." What happened last month is not as important as what you are feeling now.
12. Donít interrupt. Let the other person finish before you speak.
13. No physical violence allowed. This is a firm guideline for fair fighting.
14. Time out is okay. If things get too heated, ask to continue the discussion at another time. Specify the time.
15. Remember, there is never a single winner in an honest and intimate disagreement. Both partners either win more intimacy or lose it.
Sometimes our problems are just too hard to solve on our own. If you are concerned about a particularly difficult marriage, relationship, or family issue, the Office of Employee Assistance (OEA) can help you. Why not call your OEA today at 305.348.2469?
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