Better Ways to Fight

Learning to Disagree Constructively

The idea of a productive fight may seem impossible, as arguments are often associated with bad feelings, harsh comments, and broken dinnerware. To make things worse, studies show that the more a couple engages in rolling their eyes, stonewalling (walking out), or critiquing their partner’s insignificance, the more likely the marriage will end in a divorce. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. You can rise above the immaturity of pummeling each other over a swing at the playground, and make your fighting a good experience. So, put down that plate and pick up a pen. I’ve got a list of 10 steps to ensure a more productive fight.

1. Make Sure That Your Anger is Not Something Else

Everything from cancer to diabetes can cause emotions to be in turmoil. If you find that you’re fighting a lot (for no apparent reason), please consider the health of your body, before you consider the mind.

2. What Do You Stand to Gain?

Before every single fight begins, remind yourself what you have to gain from continuing with the argument. If the answer is nothing, then what the hell are you doing? Stop yelling and apologize already!

“You must first decide that you are worthy of love and that your value to be loved is not determined by
someone else but yourself.” – William ext. 5131

3. Know the Rules of Mature Arguing

Fighting is a much more pleasant experience when we know the rules of engagement. Things like avoiding the word, “you”(“You always become a jerk after watching football!”), asking questions if you don’t understand, and staying on topic, can drastically improve your results. Things work better when a couple has the same rules to abide by, so make sure that both of you are on equal ground before the first round bell rings.

4. Shoot From the Hip

Research shows that the longer a monster stays lurking in your closet, the bigger and more hideous it will become. To avoid any conflict from brewing and becoming a huge burden over your relationship, make sure to bring it up so that you can talk about it. This doesn’t mean that you should bring up every little thing that bothers you. Remember, step two. If you don’t stand to gain anything from mentioning it, just forget it!

5. First Beat the Crap Out of a Few Stuffed Animals

“Hot” anger is the number-one killer of relationships. These are the moments when things are said and done that will leave lasting scars. If you are not ready to talk about a topic with your anger under control, then stop, drop it, and set a time to reconvene. You need to be able to fight calmly over such volatile topics as cheating, lying, etc.

6. Your Goal is Not to Win… But Be Heard

A fight that is about winning is as wasteful as a bank robbery to gain recognition. Most arguments come with the simple goal to be heard. Once we feel like our partner understands us, we feel better, and can go on with the relationship in peace.

“The only person you can change is yourself. Learn to accept others as they are or move on.” – Rivers ext. 5273

7. However, If You Want to Be Heard, First, Listen!

In a fight where nobody is listening, nothing is getting accomplished. By making the effort to listen to your partner, they will be more inclined to listen to you. One of the best techniques is to summarize your partner’s important points in your own words once they’ve finished speaking. They will feel understood, and you will have a better understanding of where they’re coming from before you start with your points.

8. Tell Your Partner Exactly What’s Bothering You

We all hate it when a loved one tells us that nothing is wrong before they slam our eggs on the kitchen table, causing the runny yoke to splash across our face, and knock the hot coffee into our lap (true story). It shouldn’t be a secret. Tell your partner why you’re upset, or please refer to step two. And don’t repeat yourself once you do confess unless you’re asked to. You reduce the strength of your argument, each time you repeat what’s already been said.

9. Describe What You Need to End the Fight

Since every fight must have a purpose (other than winning), once you are heard, make it clear what you are looking for to end the argument. Perhaps you want them to be home earlier, spend more time with the kids, or make an effort to put more romance into your relationship.

10. Consequences

Every action has its consequences, and if you want your request to avoid falling on empty air, make sure that they know the consequence for their actions if they continue to disrespect a reasonable request. Keep in mind, these are not idle threats. These are clear directives on how you intend to react if your partner continues to hurt your feelings. You must follow through with these, or your partner will never respect your feelings.

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22 thoughts on “Better Ways to Fight

  1. Zoraida

    I really think that not all angles are covered. Most time middleage women going through menopause are missunderstood. You have tried time and time again letting know of your feeling and concerns, mood swings, headaches and the sickenning feeling all this causes.
    But noone understands and it is all about what they want and how they wanted. This causes
    conflict among family members including your spouse. It is hard but, sometime one would like to just go far for a long while where there is only peace, quiet, solitude so you could hear your own thoughts. Life is short and I really would love to enjoy it.

  2. gina

    Thumps up with the rule# 5, 6 & 7…..

    i had already experienced how pain it is being hurt and beaten but i got through it with patience and maybe when the word LOVE will truly there in our hearts and JESUS filled his spirit and wisdom within us then we can control everything.

    nice topic….

    God bless

  3. jjj

    gee, I give up…there are too many idiots out there…men…have all the power
    and they’re
    good at it…I must admit..
    not caring is their way.
    so what’s the answer?
    Waste of time, money and effort…!!!

  4. Muddy

    me and my husband always argue before, because he is a great liar and he never admits it even you caught him already. I was angry cuz he will nver tell the truth and, i gave him so many advices for his own good then he will response, ok and alright without mean it. So i stop confronting him and arguing, that works for us. We are married for two years now, i hope our relationship will last cuz we love each other so much.

  5. NIcole

    “Things work better when a couple has the same rules to abide by, so make sure that both of you are on equal ground before the first round bell rings.”

    I wish that had been the case with my ex husband…The sweetest man when we first met…and that lasted for about 10 years, but he was slowly becoming an alcoholic so I didn’t notice what was happening at first and then there were no longer any rules, no respect and he hurt our daughter and me so badly. We have broken up, and while I’m still shattered, I know I’ve done the right thing leaving him. Sometimes walking away is the only thing to do…

  6. tricia

    Yes, u are right we cannot change someone, we can only change ourselves and we cannot change ourselves if we don’t acknowledge our flaws….. one cannot solve the problem alone……it takes 2 tango….needs a lot of effort, initiative and be concerned on to your partners feelings……if one doesn’t cooperate…..time to leave ur partner and move on.

  7. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Good tips Eric…..

    Two things I learned in life….

    1. Pick your battles wisely, some things just aren’t worth even fighting about

    2. Timing is everything…..pick the right time…..( and it’s not in the middle of heated and wild anger )……and try to think of it more as a debate in that your are intelligently expressing your viewpoint…..

    I learned both of these in the corporate world……I was the first female ( all men above me AND below me ),…. in an all male corporate environment in the comapny and the youngest to ever climb the ladder so high or so fast in that male dominated field and company.

  8. samantha

    I had a relationship on the happiest I have been was while we were seperated I was with another guy who I thought was great but he ended up cheating and what’s wrong with meand off for 14 years now and he is a bad addict I have not been happy in a long time and we fight constantly and its always. The same



  10. Pamela

    Great points in this article. If a disagreement is to be a win/win, then a goal to be understood and to understand the other person, makes good sense. I believe time outs when a person is too angry is a good idea, and shows respect for both parties. What is hard for me, is to have loved ones stonewalling. Years go by, and nothing is accomplished, and lost time cannot be brought back.

  11. Goodluck

    I am a thirty five year old women who is in love with a twenty four year old man. He is adorable, caring and he would make a great friend,father and husband. But we have had alot of anger between the two of us everyday. We argue everyday. some days may be good but others he always express his feelings directly unlike alot of guys. I did not know he was as emotional. But I see a better side of him coming forth now that I aloud him to run all over me. My problem is communicating. I have been talked down by him and some more but I feel like he wants his cake and eat it too. He wants to tell me everything about whats wrong in my life and talk about my friends and how they are not good for me. He is very selfish and he wants what he wants. These ten tips I hope will help but if they don’t, i guess im going to have to find my own way.

  12. Crissy

    I am in love with a Man…and he has not called me since the weekend..i cry alot over him..

    I want him forever…….

  13. shay

    none of these tips help, or are productive in a good fight…. it takes two to tango… good luck if you can make it through all 10….
    in 90% of a fight someone wants to win! there are only about 10% that will except the fact to agreeing to disagree…..

  14. Sheri

    All of the rules are good advice but what happens when you are in the middle of an argument and you are very angry? All the advice in the world goes out the window for me. At that point, I just want to get my point across.

  15. alecia

    Please I need your help my husband very alcoholic we always fighting everyday please help me my husband to stop to drink alcohol thank you god bles you

  16. Secretly

    Nothing, will make a difference between me & him!!!!!
    He’s what you call a very, negative man, about everything!!

  17. ashley

    i guess u can say it isnt right that im always the blame for all “his” mess ups and problems. i dont even bother trying to argue any more. i let him say n do wut he pleases. guess i am dumc for letting him walk all over me. i kno in some situation it is my fault he yells. the names n swears dont make things any easier. i have been thinking of another person who does the exact opposite we dont fight or argue (we barely c eachother). im stuck between going to my heavenly hell or to go to my dream world !!


    not good but great. fanatastic, i read all story for above mention BETTER WAYS TO FIGHT, describe to all points mention,

  19. Lisa

    Excellent advice — the goal is to understand and to be heard. Don’t go into an argument with wild anger, and have an achievable goal.


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