All couples fight, but there’s a way to fight fair and get something positive out of the argument.
If you aren’t sure how, marriage counselors—like the ones at Family Coaching LLC—are there to help you learn.
Confront the Conflict
Many couples run from conflict, especially if they’ve had negative experiences with it in the past (for example, they watched their parents’ divorce or never saw an argument happen without screaming, cursing, or slammed doors). It’s important to remember that handled correctly, conflict is healthy. It helps you air your opinions and grievances and get to know each other better—even if you don’t particularly like the side of your partner you’re seeing at that moment.
Listen to Your Partner
Many couples run into problems when arguing because, instead of listening, they rehearse what they want to say next. This tells your partner that you don’t care what he or she says or thinks, although you don’t mean to say so. Instead, acknowledge your partner’s feelings when he or she is done talking. Use “I” statements, not “you” ones—as in, “I know you get upset when we’re late; I’ll try to do better at being on time.” When your partner is talking, give him or her eye contact and attention.
Don’t say “always” or “never.” Most of the time, these statements aren’t true, and they send your partner a negative message. In other words, if you say, “You always overspend,” your partner may hear, “He/she thinks I’m a spendthrift who wants to get us in financial trouble.” Instead, talk specifically about one issue, and be specific about why you’re angry. For instance, “When you spend so much money on X, it makes me worry about how we’ll pay for what we need.”
NO MATTER HOW FAIRLY YOU FIGHT, CONFLICTS CAN SOMETIMES GET OUT OF HAND. IF YOU NEED EXTRA HELP, MARRIAGE COUNSELING CAN OFFER A MUCH NEEDED FRESH PERSPECTIVE.