Many people think the perfect relationship is when a couple never fights and is on the same page 100% of the time. However, researchers have found that a predictor of divorce is not necessarily fighting, but HOW partners fight. Learning the “right” way to fight will help you and your partner experience better communication and manage conflict effectively.
Keep reading to discover six skills that will usher you into the art of fighting fair in relationships through the Gottman Method’s constructive conflict management process.
Fighting Fair Does Not Come Naturally (to Most)
Most human beings do not naturally fight fair. It’s common to “listen to respond” to one’s partner instead of “listening to understand” what they are saying. It’s like formulating a response in your mind while your partner shares his or her point, rather than truly being present and listening.
By striving to postpone your persuasion or argument, you can transform how you communicate in your relationship, which will allow you to avoid the damage that typically comes from unhealthy fighting.
6 Skills to Fight Fair
Here are the six skills you can begin practicing now to get better results when a conflict emerges with your partner:
#1: Gentle Start-Up
How you start the conversation is crucial to resolving conflict. Make every effort to use a soft, gentle, non-accusatory tone.
#2: Accept Influence
When you accept influence, you express agreement with some part of what your partner is saying and demonstrate a willingness to move toward a compromise. The process also involves striving to understand the meaning of your partner’s point of view.
#3: Make Effective Repairs During Conflict
Repairs may be about how you communicate your own feelings, and it’s also about stopping any negative and hurtful behavior.
Deescalating is for times when the conflict is too intense. In these times, it is best to take a timed break—a time-out to relax—for both partners. This allows you to calm your emotions and begin thinking more rationally.
Sometimes there is no winning in an argument. Compromising will allow you to find a resolution that somewhat satisfies both partners.
#6: Physiological Soothing for Self and Partner
Soothing and self-soothing are helpful during times when emotions are boiling over during conflict. Developing this skill will help you identify methods to calm yourself and your partner, such as affirmations, expressing loving words and appreciation, and more.
Schedule a Relationship Checkup to Improve Conflict Resolution
If you and your partner would like to experience transformation in your relationship, Jessica Bassett at Positive Living Psychotherapy can help. She is a highly experienced MFT (marriage and family therapist). Jessica has completed Level 2 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and has had great success using it with couples in her office.
Fighting fair in relationships is possible! Connect with Jessica to schedule a free phone consultation today.