Is it true that if you have a healthy relationship you should never fight? Not at all! Everyone fights. In fact it is healthy to fight if you do it right! It is how you fight that matters. With functional fighting the goal of fighting is to resolve conflicts and come to a good place together. How do you do this?
The most important thing to do when you are fighting is to “lean” into your partner. Remember that your partner is not your enemy! Your partner is your partner, your love. Get “closer” to your partner and remember that you are a team. Sometimes leaning in means that you physically get close to each other. Maybe hold hands, maybe hug. Maybe it is remembering loving things about your partner so that you stay more emotionally close to your partner during the fight. Remember how important the relationship is to both of you.
Work as a team
Remember that you are a team. Work together as a team. What is the goal? What do you need to resolve? Talk about the expectations you each have. Communicate your feelings in a way that is productive to your team (relationship). The goal of your fighting is to pull together to fight together as a team not to fight against each other.
Attack the issue not each other
Work together to attack the issue not each other. Attacking each other verbally during a fight can cause lasting damage. If you say something in the heat of the moment you may permanently damage your relationship and your partner’s ability to trust you and feel safe. If you start to lose control of yourself, take a time out. But do not use the time out as a weapon. Do not stonewall your partner. Stonewalling is to refuse to answer calls, texts or questions. Set a time that you two will come back together to discuss the issue or problem. Setting a time allows you each to know when you will be able to reconnect. Use this time out time to see things from your partners’ perspective and try to see things differently.
Play it safe
If you are out to win an argument your relationship will suffer. Be mindful of what you do and say. Do not try to win anything. Remember you can be right or you can be in a relationship but you can’t be both! If someone wins or loses in a relationship then the relationship loses and will suffer.
Respect each other. Respect the relationship. Respect yourself. Everything that you do and say should be put through a filter of respect. Being disrespectful to your partner is disrespectful to the relationship. Relationships cannot flourish in a disrespectful environment.
Stay on topic
Stay on topic. Discuss the issue at hand. Do not drag other things into the argument or you will focus on that. Do not make analogies to prove your point. They only make a new topic to discuss or fight about.
Take turns talking
Take turns talking and listening. It is respectful to listen to what your partner has to say. While your partner is talking try to listen to understand him or her. Do not listen to respond. This is not functional. When you are the talker remember that your partner will want to talk also so you need to allow them the space to discuss things with you. Do not go on and on lecturing your partner.
Remember in Functional Fighting you are a team! You should attack the issue not each other. Lean in, work as a team and try to come up with solutions to the problem before you. If you work together to solve problems and not attack each other you will be able to solve anything that comes before you two!
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