How to fight fair in a stable relationship
Arguing is normal.
All couples argue, but the way they argue determines the course of the relationship.
Fighting wise is a great way to actually solve problems. Or, more importantly, knowing that you can solve relationship problems by letting go of the constant need for problem solving. It is important to set right expectations from the beginning and to know your whole happiness shouldn’t be provided by your partner. Start by asking your inner guidance what you would need to do differently to make yourself happy, rather than what he needs to do differently to make you happy.
Everyone knows in a relationship communication is key, but it is how the communication is made that makes or break the relationship. Of course, when angry, people tend to have destructive ways of attacking and resuming their partner to negative traits. But instead of attacking the other person’s character, happy couples tend to refer to the current situation and how it makes them feel, or the message that it reaches the person that feels hurt or angry. It is fine to say “When you do this, it makes me feel neglected” rather than “You don’t love me!”
There's a "conflict pyramid", which starts from a common basis (the desire to solve a problem), the partners expressing their arguments, the identification of the common and different elements, and ultimately, finding a solution. In many cases, conflict resolution is stuck to irreconcilable elements, when the best solution is to return to the common interest in solving the problem.
The magical solution in such cases is empathy, mutual respect, and interest in maintaining the relationship and finding a more amicable solution above the proof of the supremacy of one's own arguments. Every time we are caught in such a conflict, which seems unresolved, it may be helpful to ask these two questions: "What is it most important thing to me at this moment: am I right about this or does the relationship we both worked on matters more?" and "over a year, when I look back to today, who would want to be the thing to remember? ". It is very important to see when the ego comes between you to, and just argue because you misunderstand and feel your beliefs are being threatened. Sometimes we get threatened and misunderstand the intentions our partner truly has.
What can we do when things get too tense? We can take a break, breathe deeply a few times, leave the conversation in order to have a few minutes of solitude, in which we can analyze our feelings and calm down. If you fail to communicate and you don’t see the intensity of the argument dropping, it is a sign that the discussion should be continued at a later stage.
How can we find a compromise?
The popular concept is that win-win means you get to the point where everyone sees their desires and expectations through the solution found for the conflict they were in. In fact, "compromise" means knowing how to distinguish between the most important and the least important things for you in that discussion.
A win-win situation means knowing how to leave the less important things slide sometimes. While each one gives up to the non-important things, in the end, everyone should feel pleased and content with the facts that you acknowledge their needs and try to meet them if possible.
Of course, compromise is not always handy to us. You must always practice learning to know yourself and others, in order to know how much you can "stretch the string", to know when to stop and when to go further, to figure out what matters really in your discussion and in your relationship.
Remember that sometimes solving an argument means looking at your partner with compassion, knowing what they mean and what their true desires are. Maybe they need a bit more help around the house, more help with the kids, or they feel like a basic need is not met. People tend to get angry because it’s the easiest thing to do, but in long-term really listening to what your partner has to say and how your behavior impacts the relationship can transform you and them into a better person.
According to relationship expert John Gottman, Ph.D., it seems that 69 percent of marital problems actually never get solved. If you're a social person and he's a homebody, this is a matter that instead of needing solving, it needs acceptance. People can adjust their behavior in order to accommodate your needs, but they cannot change their personality. Just make sure the main purpose of these disagreements is to deepen your bond, instead of starting a war that is continued by days or silent treatment that never solves any issues. Also, one of the deadliest things to do is to disconnect without discussing what's really bothering you. Make sure that you express your feeling while having a goal in mind, and try to listen to your partner’s needs as well.
If despite your best efforts your conversations still get too explosive and you need help figuring out exactly what it is that is bothering you, consider seeking professional help. Couples or individual counseling can provide a safe and neutral environment for sorting out problems and discussing difficult topics while finding a constructive solution for them.
If your strategies don’t work, just keep in mind always to speak as honestly as you can and to be open to compromise. With patience, persistence, and effort from both sides, you'll be able to put your relationship problems to rest, even if that might take some time and practice.