Dads Love Their Spouse: How To Fight Fair

Every couple fights.  Our grandparents fought.  Our parents fought.  We fight with our spouse.  Fighting is healthy.  Fights bring us closer together.  The stress and pressure of a good fight brings our true character up to the surface.  How do you come out on the other side of a fight with the love and trust you had with your partner going in?

During our engagement, for many reasons, my fiance and I were seeing a counselor.  One of the things he discussed with us were rules for engaging in fair arguments.  The one rule that has helped us the most was to refrain from using sweeping statements; such as “You never…” or You always…”.  Just remembering this one rule (among others) has helped us stay honest and get to the heart of what is truly upsetting us.

Anyone who says they never fight is either a newlywed or lying.  So what strategies do you use to remain civil during an argument?  How do you keep from opening old wounds during new conflicts?  When is it time to call a tactical retreat and avoid an argument?

Share your tips with us in the comments below and during the Wednesday Night #DadsRT Chat at 6pst/9est.

~JB

Comments

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Comments

  1. happiestdaddy says:

    Since I’ve written about my experience in counseling with my wife on Dads Roundtable, I can share a few of the secrets that we learned. First, have a signal that either one can use to take a time-out when a boundary is crossed or things are getting too heated. Second, avoid the sweeping “you” statements, as you mentioned. Third, only talk when things have calmed to the point that you can rationally discuss them. It ain’t easy but it is worth it. And getting a fresh take from an outsider can be extremely valuable.

    • JoeB says:

      You bring up a good point…. I isn’t easy. You’re right, doing the right thing is hard, and arguing in a fair and respectful way is hard. It’s hard to get over yourself, ignore getting offended,, and tackled the real issue at hand.

  2. Brad the Dad says:

    My wife and I are both feisty, stubborn individuals with strong opinions, so naturally this is a relevant topic for me. I like how Happiest talks about avoiding “you” statements and I seriously try to avoid those as much as possible, BUT, often when we “discuss” things like house/kids, and since my wife definitely does more in those areas than I do, it often comes across as me taking a dig at her. I struggle with this, because as a guy, I’m simply trying to talk this out with her to figure out a solution, but as a girl, she often doesn’t want a solution but for me to simply recognize her efforts and empathize with her. Aka, don’t fix or offer up my opinion, just listen and understand. That’s hard for me as a guy, but I’m working on it.

    • JoeB says:

      I often can’t tell the difference in those times when I need to keep my trap shut, or when I need to say something helpful. I often get those backwards.

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