My Rules to Fighting Fair

In my last post I mentioned the Rules of Fighting Fair.  These are rules that Andy and I try to use when it comes time that we have scheduled an argument.  Because we like to schedule these things.  After 10 years, we must be doing something right and I figure why not share tips.

Though we try to live by these rules, it doesn’t mean we are always successful.  From time to time when I feel I need to break one for the rules (come on, I’m an emotional girl…I can’t always hold it together) I like to put out a disclaimer.  I say to Andy something along the lines of “I know this is going to come out right, but I need to say it.” or “I don’t really mean this, but I’m angry and want to just be angry.”

Not that this makes what I’m saying any nicer or fair, but sometimes you have to be a little irrational to get our your feelings.  At least I can let him know ahead of time that I know what I’m going to say is irrational and that I don’t really mean it.

Here are the rules that I try very hard to abide by.  At least with Andy.

  1. Try to find somewhere quiet and away from others.  You don’t need a audience or other people’s input.  Also, without an audience, you are allowed to say what needs to be said and to move on.
  2. Think through what you want to say before you say it.  Make sure it is something that you won’t want to take back later.  Make sure you say it like you want it to be taken.  Once something has been said, you can’t take it back.
  3. Don’t start a statement with “You always…” or “You never…”  They are accusatory words and more then likely just make the other person defensive.  Instead, use words like “I feel like…”  You will be taking ownership and really getting your feelings out there.  You can’t disagree with how someone else feels.  Words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ usually are over exaggerations.
  4. Don’t bring up the past.  Past arguments have no part in the new one.  You should have finished that argument and therefore bringing it up is like beating a dead horse.
  5. No yelling.  No one likes to be yelled at and therefore when yelled at people stop listening.  If you talk normal and keep your cool, it will be easier to discuss things.
  6. No put downs or name calling.  Making the other person feel horrible isn’t going to accomplish anything.
  7. Don’t go to bed mad, it isn’t good for anyone.  Also, waking up upset is even worse and makes for an unpleasant and tense morning.
  8. Discuss things as they come up.  When something bothers you, talk about it.  Keeping it inside is self detrimental and does nothing to help the relationship.
  9. Remember that you are in this relationship together. Communication is key to keeping any relationship a happy one.  Trust and compromise are other important parts of a relationship so keep them healthy.

I’m not a professional, but I do know what has helped Andy and myself.  To me, these rules seem very common sense, yet in the heat of the moment they aren’t always easy to remember or use. I think the biggest point to me is to just keep the communication lines open.

While ‘disscussions’ should be taken more private most of the time, I think that it is important for children to see adults argue.  It is healthy for children to see that people don’t always get along and everything isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.  People argue and there are ways to solve conflict without running away.  It just seems to me that so many people want to run away from relationships because of an argument and lack of communication.

So, tell your loved one that you love them, hug and kiss them before leaving them, and fight fair.  Look I sound like a motivational speaker.

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