Do happy couples fight? Yes, they do, and often! It's a common belief that fighting is a sign that a marriage is in trouble. On the contrary, not fighting can be an even worse predictor of relationship happiness and success. Suppressing anger, giving your partner the silent treatment, or ignoring and denying the existence of problems is far more dangerous for a marriage than saying what's on your mind. Conflict isn't the issue, it's how we resolve conflict that will make or break it for us. So, here's some useful tips to remember:
1. Express your beef in a constructive, positive way: "I would really appreciate it if you cleaned up after yourself in the kitchen": vs. "You're worse than the kids - I always have to clean up after you!"
2. What's in it for your partner to comply with your request: "I will feel so much more relaxed and content when I come into the kitchen. I'll be able to focus on talking about our day, rather than worrying about the mess. That will make me feel so much better about you!"
3. Listen, Listen and Listen some more! When we truly listen to understand our partner, only then can we move onto the next level of actually solving the problem.
4. Ground Rules for Fair Fighting will keep it manageable. Both of you have to be ready and willing to discuss an issue. It's never effective to discuss anything when you're hopping mad. You WILL say something hurtful that you will regret. So don't! You both must have permission to take a break if you become angry, or refuse to engage at all if you need calming-down time first.
So, remember: fight fair, fight well, and fight effectively. Get it out on the table and listen to each other. Ultimately, you're on the same team, right? It's about solving the problem, not winning.