There are certain things that we do in arguments that virtually guarantee we have a bad outcome for a fight. Saying or doing these actions are like penalties in football. They stop forward progress. They create anger and hurt feelings and problems do not get resolved. Here are a few areas that you would address in relationship counseling and marriage counseling.
List of unfair fighting rules
Not being able to take a break
Win/ Lose discussions
Power words: You, Never, Always, (sneaky I feel attack: “I feel like you…”)
Multiple Issues all at once
Counting the number of times that something has happened
Never bringing something up again
The silent treatment
Arguing in front of the kids
I’m sure you have more that you could add to the list!!!
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
So using this logic, if we know what does not work, no matter what remains, no matter how improbable that it will work, must be what will work. In other words, we need to create:
List of fair fighting rules.
Treat each other with respect
Don’t make it a personal attack
Use the words: “I” and “we.”
Listen first, then speak,
Stick with one issue
Take a break if you need one
Regroup and try again
Have a way to discuss the issue, and then move toward an acceptable solution
Each person has an opinion about a topic and neither of you are right or wrong. You’re both adults and you have an opinion. If you take the time to listen to each other, you can come up with solutions that incorporate a bit of each person’s opinion. This creates a win-win!
You can use relationship counseling and marriage counseling to assist you in breaking the unfair fighting patterns. In marriage counseling, you have more accountability because you will have to discuss your successes and failures with the therapist weekly. This forces the couple to break out of their rut and develop success in dealing with conflict.