Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fight Fair

Inevitably, at some point during your relationship with your partner you will have an argument. It is part of life. However, have you ever had the argument that spiraled out of control? Or the argument that lasted two days? A week? Longer? One of the important things to learn, in order to maintain a healthy relationship is how to "fight fair."

Arguments will happen, so accept that. When they do, be sure to have the argument in a respectful way. Be focused on the problem, and don't bring previous problems or events into the argument. Do not try and tackle multiple problems at once, one thing at a time so that you don't overwhelm yourselves.

Make sure that you utilize time outs. Time outs are not just for children, they are for adult use as well. There are two keys to using time outs as adults, the first is that you have to allow your partner to walk away if they ask for a time out, do not follow them down the hall continuing the argument, let them go. However the time out is not open-ended, set a time that you both agree to return to the discussion, say for example 15 minutes, this gives everyone a chance to calm down some. Then you can return to the discussion and try and create a solution for the problem.

Listen to what the other person has to say, and allow them to complete their thought. Regardless of how many times you may have had an argument, and how each time your partner says the same thing, this might be the time they take a different perspective, and have something different to say. And if you cut them off prior to their completing their thought, you are ensuring that you will have the same argument over again. None of us are mind readers, so don't play that role in your argument.

It is also important to try and understand things from your partner's perspective. Not that you have to agree with their perspective, but if you can understand where they are coming from it will help you both in the development of a solution.

And finally, remember to forgive one another.

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