Couples are bound to argue. Being able to fight in marriage or any relationship is so crucial to a healthy marriage or relationship. Are you ready to learn how to have couple fights? Let’s get started.
Do We Both feel Understood?
Make sure you’re arguing without blaming or criticizing each other but arguing to understand what each other are feeling.
Example of what not to say in a couple fight:
“You’re always thinking about yourself! You never think about me.”
“You think I’m a bad person.”
“You hate me!”
Notice these statements are very criticizing and make assumptions. Do your best to avoid making assumptions about why your spouse did something-you won’t know for sure why someone does something until you ask them.
Do not criticize your spouse. Dr. John Gottman, a leading relationship expert, created a list of four things that lead to divorce, or the four horsemen of divorce.
Criticism is one of the four horsemen of divorce. There’s a difference between offering a critique, and criticizing: critique comes from a partner who seeks to help their partner be better, while criticizing comes from a partner who seeks to put down their partner.
Example of what to say in a couple fight:
“I felt this way because…”
“I thought this when you did this…”
These statements are questioning. This partner is trying to understand why their partner did something or said something.
Be like a detective, try to solve the why of what happened or what was said. Turn all that anger and frustration into a drive to understand why your partner did what they did. Seeking to understand is also important because it ensures respect. Which is the next point.
Are We Respecting Each Other?
A big part of love is respect. When you respect someone you won’t make them feel stupid. Make sure you’re respecting each other even when you don’t agree with them!
If you feel disrespected in an argument, you both have already lost because disrespect easily leads to contempt. And contempt is one of the four horseman of divorce.
You and your partner are two different people with different backgrounds, experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. so it would make sense you both would disagree on things!
But just because you’re different doesn’t mean you should disrespect each other. Work to respect each other’s opinions and feelings. Learn more about respecting your husband in my post here.
If you feel particularly heated, take a five minute break to blow off steam, separate and gather your thoughts together. But DONT stonewall: stonewalling is when you completely shut down in an argument.
Stonewalling is another horseman of divorce. This is an easy way out that should never be taken because nothing gets solved that way-you’re not communicating anymore. So no one wins. Winning is the final goal!
Do We Both Win?
You should (or try to) argue with a goal in mind. Notably, this can take a lot of self-control especially if you’re angry. It can be easy to get defensive, and be blind to your own feelings (we’ve all been there).
Defensiveness is one of the four horsemen of divorce. Defensiveness causes division between you and your spouse when you should be united. So, try to argue with a goal in mind. Don’t let the goal be to blow off at each other.
Instead come up with a compromise. That way there won’t be one winner at the end of a couple fight-there should be two winners.
I believe arguments can be productive. You can end an argument amicably. If you need to bring a person in who can be unbiased. Respect, seeking to understand, and ensuring you both win is so important to ensure you and your partner argue well. If you want to read more on communicating better with your partner, check out Dr. Gottman’s book below on the four horsemen of divorce.
*Bonus tip: don’t go to bed angry!