While conflict is a common occurrence in human communication, conflict in marriage on the other hand is an entirely different ball game.
A little argument if not handled properly, could easily escalate conflict into combat. This is why counsellors and experts recommend one rule for handling marital conflict; fight fair instead of fighting dirty.
Learn to fight fair in the following steps;
- Maintain Control: To maintain control in an argument, you need to know when you are about to loose your cool. Once you recognize the warning signs, you need to signal to your partner that you need a moment. Having that time out to control your emotions and allow argue reasonably, is the first step in learning to fight fair.
- Never Interrupt: Interrupting your partner shows you are listening to respond instead of listening to understand. It is also a sign of domination and control. Always allow your partner to finish whenever they are speaking. It shows respect and consideration for their feelings. Most importantly, it tells them you are actually listening.
- Don’t rehash the past: It is not unusual for couples to bring up the past when they have arguments. Continuously bringing up past shows the infraction was never truly forgiven. It takes focus away from the argument and further complicate the issues at hand.
- Don’t criticize: Criticizing each other in an argument is just fighting dirty. You are no longer fixing problems; it has become personal. Criticism can easily degenerate into name calling and aggressive language. You are no longer dealing with the issues at hand which should be your main focus.
- Apologise: The easiest way to resolve a conflict is to apologise and take responsibility for hurting your partner. A proper apology acknowledges the hurt, the pain, solves the problem and asks for forgiveness.