When the fire of conflict warms your face, it’s all-too easy to slip into bad habits. Learning to fight nice is the best way to preserve your relationship.
When I was a kid, our household got very loud when my parents were arguing. I remember being in my room, listening to screaming over and over again, and thinking “Is this how relationships are? If it is, I am not interested.”
The reality is arguments happen even in the healthiest relationships. The sooner we learn how to “fight nice,” the easier our lives will become and continue to be. We all get triggered by certain things. We are human. If you are never reactivated by things, I’m impressed, but the majority of us are. Disagreeing with your partner is inevitable, so learning how to disagree in a healthy way is the key!
If you shy away from any kind of conflict, disagreement, or argument, it may be avoidance. You may be shoving your discontent down and internalizing your feelings, which can be detrimental to your health. This is unworkable for a long-term partnership.
We’re going to delve into this topic because, as I mentioned earlier, arguing can actually bring you closer together and create a deeper connection. Yes, really.
What we’re going to focus on is how can we “fight nice” so you can have a good outcome versus the opposite. What’s the opposite? Hanging up on each other, being pissed off for a long periods of time, holding grudges, distance in your relationship and/or going away altogether and forever.
Sound familiar? We don’t want that, do we?!?
I’ve learned to “fight nice.” At least, I think I have, but my husband may have another opinion. 🙂
Five Tips for “Fighting Nice”
1. Allow your emotions to come up.
It’s okay to be upset, angry, and even pissed off. It’s natural and human from time to time. Be angry, but acknowledge that you are angry. It is inside of you, not the other person. To “fight nice,” it’s important that you acknowledge that you are angry at something your partner said or did. You are reactivated, possibly because you’re reminded of something from your past. That’s most common. The pitfall is taking your bad mood or anger out on your partner, pointing fingers, or blaming.
When these emotions strike, step away and take a “time out” before you say something you will regret. Take a look at a video I did with John Gray about this subject. What else can you do?
2. Take some time to cool off.
As explained in the video so beautifully, give yourself a moment to cool off. Go do something you enjoy—whether it is to sleep, take a shower, or go for a walk. Do something that calms your mind and gives you a chance to reflect and think. The next pitfall is continuing a heated conversation and saying something you do not mean.
After my husband and I have a disagreement, we take some time to go to our corners, so to say. When we come back together in a calm fashion, we’re able to hear each other’s opinions, understand what triggered us, and express our feelings in a more productive manner. Taking a time out to calm down gives you the ability to listen and empathize better with the other person.
3. An apology goes a long way.
I’ve heard people say people apologize too much. Honestly, in relationship, apologies and forgiveness should sometimes happen more often. No one tries to intentionally hurt us. We feel a sting from different things. A great partner will apologize for what he or she did or said to upset the other.
Find a partner who has freedom and ease with apologies. Apologizing does not mean you or they are right or wrong. Sometimes I apologize for raising my voice, hurting him with my words, or for arguing altogether. I also ask for forgiveness, if I think it is necessary. If you are not skilled with “I am sorry,“ I highly recommend getting good at it!
4. Discuss what you each can do to prevent this argument in the future.
This is the piece that most people miss. It’s also why the same argument rears its ugly head in a relationship over and over and over and over. If you would like to complete the issues once and for all, I recommend talking about what you can both put in place to prevent the issue. For example, if you are arguing over spending too much money, you could agree to check in with each other before making any big purchases. Looking together at what can prevent the same conflict in the future makes a healthy couple extremely healthy.
5. Discuss proactively how you both will handle a disagreement when it arises.
Because we know disagreements are inevitable, my final piece of advice is to discuss how you can handle them when they come up. It’s not if, it’s when. This kind of proactive discussion can lay a nice foundation so you’re not surprised. Instead, have it be a topic of conversation that you are both aware of and agree on how to go about addressing. That’s a healthy dating situation and relationship.
It’s okay to have emotions, including anger, resentment, and upset. What makes a relationship healthy is how you handle them, how you resolve them, and how you prevent the same arguments from happening in the future.
I wish I could say you will never fight, bicker, or have conflict, but I’d be lying. What I will say is that disagreement is inevitable and, if handled in a healthy way, can deepen your bond and connection. Take these five tips to heart and learn how to “fight nice.” We don’t have to suppress our emotions. We just need to know how to handle them when they come up, so our relationships are as healthy as possible.
[image: via shutterstock]