Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to fight right

Relationships are fraught with misunderstandings, bickering,
arguments, big fights and mega fights. It’s not something we can
escape, because after all we are different people with different
opinions. Fights can range from the color of the bedroom wall, to not
giving enough freedom to your spouse, to who should pick up the kids
or do the dishes or about not having enough sex. There is no dearth of

The good news is that fights can be productive for relationships. Yes,
you read that right! In fact research shows that couples who fight
often have a more lasting and fruitful relationship compared to those
who don’t! (Ok, that doesn’t mean you’re going to pick up a fight with
your spouse once a month.) And here’s the twist, it’s how you fight
that matters.

It’s unfortunate that in fights there is more of “I’m right you’re
wrong”, instead of “let’s right the wrongs”. The cardinal mistake
couples make while fighting is to “win”, unfortunately there is no
prize for the winner, except pride…and in the long run it’s a loss,
especially if you have deal with resentment from your spouse.

So, here are some rules to help you fight right:

• Be calm, express your opinion in a calm way. Talk without “fighting”.
• Acknowledge and address the conflict as soon as possible. Don’t
allow it to go into days or fester for long.
• Give each other a fair hearing. Toss a coin and decide who goes
first. Let the person finish telling his / her side of the story
completely. Make sure that both of you clearly understand what the
person is saying. And then express your side of the story.
• If you need a break to clear the air, say so. But give a date and
time to resume the discussion, and honour it. But again, time is
crucial, don’t let it go on for more than a few days.
• Fight maturely. Never shout, blame, insult, call names, physically
injure, stomp out, or bang things. It doesn’t help in anyway. In fact,
it does more harm.
• Never rake up past fights or things that are not central to the
fight, like “No wonder, your son has turned out like you! Or all this
anger comes from your father.”
• Be less competitive and more cooperative. Learn to accept that there
are opinions that are different from yours.
• Fight with your spouse and not against him / her. Remember you’re
both on the same side.

I would like to sign off with ‘happy fighting’ ;-) instead, I’ll say
‘happy resolution’!
And don’t forget to share your conflict
resolutions tactics with us!