Let’s face it, communicating with your spouse or significant other can be a challenge under normal circumstances. Throw in bad moods, emotions, blame shifting, wrong timing, etc. and a disagreement can quickly turn into the main event at the Caesars Palace.
Disagreements and misunderstandings are inevitable, but knowing how to fight fair will keep you from having to go a full twelve rounds. We hope these tips help you learn how to fight fair.
· Choose the right time and place to discuss your concerns. Schedule a mutually convenient time to discuss important issues in your relationship. Over dinner with friends is not a good time to randomly bring up heart concerns.
· Clearly identify the problem. The best way to hit the bullseye is by aiming at a clear target that does not move. Stay focused on one point at a time.
· Stay on current issues not past mistakes. Bringing up the past is a quick way to send the conversation spiraling out of control.
· Use “I” statements and not “You” statements. “You” statements typically put the blame on others and hinders the communication process.
· Try not to globalize the problem. Stay away from phrases like “you always” or “you never”! Instead use phrases like “you sometimes” or “there are times when you”.
· Learn when to ring the bell and go to separate corners. Many times disagreements will not end in one conversation. Take a break and come back to hard issues when tempers are flaring and you both are going in for the knockout punch.
· Be willing to brainstorm solutions. The attitude of “it’s my way or the highway” does not suggest you are serious about solving problems together. Mutual agreement is worth fighting for.
· Agree to honor one another. There are ways to honor one another in every disagreement. You can respectfully agree to disagree. Stay away from raising your voice, name calling or using derogatory language. It’s been said ”do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
· Restate or summarize what you’ve heard. Sometimes we hear things that are simply not being said. Restating and summarizing gives our spouse the ability to clarify intentions and statements.
· End with a new beginning in mind. Disagreements are a part of the fabric of communication. As you work on building better communication skills, remember each time you resolve conflict successfully, you are setting the stage for future transparency and trust.