5 Signs You Donít Fight Fair in Your Marriage Understanding the rules to arguing with your spouse is a big step to having a better marriage. BY LISA BROOKES KIFT, MFT
Fighting maliciously will not help resolve disagreements in your marriage.
“ Two human beings with their own thoughts and free will are bound to get tangled up in conflict occasionally.”
Conflict and disagreements between couples is a part of life. Two human beings with their own thoughts and free will are bound to get tangled up in conflict occasionally. Itís not so much about the fact that it happens, but how you and your spouse navigate through it.
Fighting in your marriage may be problematic if it rarely ends in finding peaceful resolutions or at least compromise. More damage can be done if one or both feel hurt or angry after the incident has passed, which can mean unfinished business between you. Resentment is toxic to marriages and poor conflict resolution skills can create a mountain of it.
Here are five signs you donít fight fair:
1. You name call or make below-the-belt character attacks (i.e. "Youíre so stupid!")
2. You use global statements such as "always" or "never" (i.e. "You never listen to me!")
3. You go off topic to a long list of prior examples of the current issue.
4. You use family traits as a weapon (i.e. "Youíre just like your mother!")
5. You shut down or storm out of the house. Sometimes leaving the situation all together is a good idea, but using a structured "time-out" is a better choice to avoid the other feeling abandoned.
Even in healthy marriages there can be times when couples donít agree, donít get along and may not even like each other for brief periods (a reflection of words and/or behavior of the other, not who they are in their core). Awareness of the things mentioned above is a huge, very helpful step towards lessoning the damage done to your marriage. Once you learn about the things that are less helpful, you can then learn about more productive ways to have difficult conversations, which includes things like active listening skills, "I feel" statements and other methods of respectful, loving and attuned dialogue. Remember, conflict will happen. You and your spouse can learn to get to the place where itís less a "boulder in the road" and more a "blip on the radar."
Lisa Brookes Kift is a marriage and family therapist, author of "The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples" and "The Marriage Refresher Course for Couples (Therapy-At-Home Workbooks)"--two of a planned series of cost effective workbooks for individuals and couples providing a cost effective alternative to traditional face-to-face counseling. She is the creator of The Toolbox at LisaKiftTherapy.com, providing tools for marriage, relationship and emotional health. Lisa is happily married, has a precocious son and strives to balance her life between her therapy practice, writing, family, friends, travel, love of the outdoors , fitness and her weekly co-ed volleyball league.