All couples have disagreements. When opinions are strongly held, the disagreements can lead to highly emotional arguments, which could get in the way of a healthy relationship. To help sort through the emotional from the rational, couples can employ fair fight ground rules. The following tips can lead to greater mutual understanding and appreciation.
- Be specific. Complain about one particular item.
- Ask for a change. Donít just complain.
- Ask for feedback.
- Respond to your partnerís complaint.
- Donít respond with glibness or sarcasm.
- Consider compromise. Both your views are valid.
- Solve one problem at a time. Wait for original demands to be resolved before launching counter-complaints.
- Let your partner speak her or his own mind. Donít presume your partnerís feelings or likely reactions.
- Donít tell your partner what to do or feel.
- Donít label your partner. Donít call him or her crazy, immature, foolish, etc.
- Mention grievances and irritations as soon after you experience them as possible. Ill feelings saved for days, weeks or months may be experienced by your partner as carefully saved weapons.
- Meditate before speaking. Your best thinking comes with reflection.
- No one ďwins.Ē Either both gain intimacy or both lose it.
Inspired by ideas from Concepts in Pairing, by Dr. George Robert Bach & Ronald M. Deutsch, 1970, $5.95, David McKay Co., Inc., NY.