Even the best marriages with the most loved-up couples aren't always going to agree on everything. It's how you go about fighting that can make or break a relationship. TV's Dr Phil is a big believer in fighting fair: "If you make your relationship a competition it means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It's not a competition, it's a partnership." With these seven rules to fighting fair you can argue without ruining your relationship.
No yelling like a screaming banshee: Just because you can scream louder doesn't automatically mean you are right. Raising your voice will only encourage your partner to respond by yelling back. It's not supposed to be a competition about who has the loudest voice. If you are unable to calmly state your point of view without reaching decibels that upset neighbourhood dogs, take time out.
As tempting as it is to tell him to shut up because he'll never be the man you want him to be, insults, name-calling and foul language are a big no-no. While being verbally abusive may temporarily make you feel better, it could irrevocably damage your relationship.
Make sure your argument is in private, not over the phone while you're at the office or at the supermarket and certainly not in front of your kids. They don't need to witness your disagreement. Also avoid posting derogatory comments on social media.
Keep your points relevant. This is not the time to refer to decade-old grudges like, "Remember in 1996 you said this and you didn't, blah blah blah." You don't want to turn it into a session which rehashes everything that's been said in the past.
Not everything you disagree about has to turn into a huge argument and a night alone on the couch. There are some things where you just need to take a deep breath and let it go. Some things are worth fighting for and others are best left alone. Make a conscious decision not to sweat the small stuff.
Whether you disagreed about who forgot to close all the windows or whether or not smiling at a stranger counts as flirting, once you've calmly stated your side of the argument, shut up and move on. It's one thing to say you forgive someone, it's another to forget about it and move on.
Sometimes, even if you are in the wrong, it doesn't hurt to apologise. What's more important, your relationship or proving you're right? Your partner's happiness should take priority over you being right.
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