Disagreement between couples is inevitable. Even the strongest marriages run into conflict. But what defines marriages that survive conflict is how the couple manages to settle their dispute. These couples have rules for fighting fair, and most of them have laid down these ground rules with each other so that when they disagree, they can constructively reach a resolution.
- Identify the real issue
When couples disagree, the argument often becomes a vessel for them to bring up issues from the past and rake them over again and again. It is important that the couple can define what the disagreement is about and confine themselves to the matter at hand when they work out the solution.
- Non-degrading language
Couples should know that using degrading language is never productive. It raises emotions and clouds the issue at hand. They should agree that name-calling, swearing, and insults are not acceptable. When you become that angry that you feel you’re on the verge of breaking the rule, walk away, decompress, and calm down. Then you can go back and continue the discussion.
- Raised voices
No one likes being shouted at. As adults, there is no need to raise one’s voice to make a point. In any case, most people ‘tune out’ when someone shouts at them. Couples who are focused on resolving their problems don’t yell at each other. They give each other the chance to speak calmly in a rational manner without engaging in humiliating behavior like shouting.
- No violence
A disagreement needs to be talked about and solutions discussed. If the only way a person can express themselves is through violence (whether against their spouse or towards inanimate objects such as walls, glasses, and doors), they will never be able to resolve a conflict properly. An act of violence has lasting effects that may never be erased from the memory of the other person.
- Don’t make threats make promises
Couples who want to resolve a conflict fairly do not storm off when they don’t get their way, and they don’t threaten to leave or sue for divorce over a simple disagreement that can be resolved with a simple open conversation. Acting in this way is childish and creates a feeling of fear of abandonment, hurt, and anger. When a person says these things, it must not be to make the other person bend to their will. It must be because they mean it and intend to do it.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
Couples who resolve conflict successfully can see things from each other’s point of view, no matter how difficult that may be. They ask their partner questions so that they can understand why their partner is reacting as they are. They listen to what their partner says and try to understand.
- Acknowledge your shortcomings
Many couples argue for the sake of arguing. When one partner sees they are wrong, they will continue arguing instead of admitting their error or fault. Couples who fight fair don’t do that. The minute they see they are wrong they admit it freely. They don’t put their pride before the truth.
- Say sorry
Sorry is easy to say but hard to mean for a lot of people. Couples who resolve conflict constructively say sorry to each other, and they mean it. They don’t say it to finish the argument and get away. They show that they are sorry by way of their actions.
- Finish it
To finalize a conflict resolution, a line must be drawn under it. The couple makes sure that they have aired all their views and that they have understood each other’s feelings. They agree on the resolution that they have reached. Sometimes, they may have to agree to disagree. But the conflict should be over and done with, not made into ammunition to pull out the next time they disagree.