Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. writes in Psych Central how there is never a need to have an argument with your partner. Instead, couples can use ten strategies that she refers to as “Friendly Fighting” that can help couples resolve a conflict without it going downhill.
When Hartwell-Walker says that couples never have to fight, she means it. Specifically, the kind of arguing that brings both sides down into the mud and gets personal. Such as:
- Making threats
- Cursing at each other
- Attacking the other person’s character
- Making accusations
However, Dr. Hartwell-Walker notes that even the most congenial couple, one that seems tobe made for each other, can have disagreements or differences of opinion. She says that for a healthy relationship to exist, each person must have the knowledge to handle conflict and resolve differences together.
The Friendly Fighting Rules includes the ability to:
- Embrace conflict
- Focus on the issue, not the person
- Be able to listen respectfully
- Talk softly to each other
- Remain curious and not defensive
- Ask for specific examples from your partner
- Find points you both can agree upon
- Consider options
- Make small concessions
- Make peace with each other
Dr. Hartwell-Walker recounts a conversation she had with an older friend who was married to her husband for 68 years. She said that the couple had a rule that they made on their wedding day. They decided not go to bed angry with each other. They made the commitment that their relationship, and their marriage, was more important than whatever it was they were arguing about.
Sometimes couples are able to intuitively communicate with each other. Others learn from examples in their own lives how to, and how not to, communicate with partners. Either way, it is possible for couples to resolve differences between them, and not say or do something so damaging that it could put an end to the relationship.
Want to learn more about the ten rules for Friendly Fighting?
Read the full article here: 10 Rules for Friendly Fighting Couples.
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