Remember Ross and Rachel from Friends? Remember the “we were on a break” fight that came up time and again for season upon season? Check it out if you want to reminisce or if the 1990s weren’t your heyday – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEn9YvJ3Gfg.
Let’s face it, everybody gets angry and everybody argues with their partner. When done respectfully, arguing is a chance to get things off your chest, to heal and move forward. BUT when we’re upset and fired up, this is not always how it ends..…if it ends. Sometimes we explode and say things we regret. At times we simmer and say that nothing is wrong. Sometimes we fixate on old issues.
A healthy and, dare I say it, a good fight is one where you come away feeling heard and that there is some resolution to the issue. A bad fight, on the other hand, can leave you feeling even more angry, hurt or frustrated. So how do we fight well?
Here’s some starting points on how to fight well:
1. Be respectful. Don’t belittle. Don’t name call. Remember that most of the time, you really like this person.
2. Use “I” statements. Try “I feel hurt” or “I don’t feel heard” instead of “You did this” or “You’re not listening”.
3. Give each person the time and space to say their piece. Don’t interrupt. Reflect back what you heard them say and clarify if necessary.
4. Stick to the issue. Don’t bring up old problems. It’s counterproductive and will distract you from the issue at hand.
5. Take a breather. Allow time to cool off, then come back together and talk.
6. If you’re wrong, apologise. Full stop.
7. Do it in person! Way back in 1972, the famous (at least in communication circles!) Professor Albert Mehrabian found that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. So arguing or trying to resolve one through a text message is fraught with the danger of misinterpretation.
And finally, arguments are inevitable, but they don’t have to lessen our relationships. It is the couples that fight fairly who can heal the rifts and move on – and that is well worth the effort.
If you are interested in Couples Counselling with one of our Psychologists or would like to learn more about fighting fairly please feel free to contact us here or call us on: 6381 0297