Living Loving Learning

Ways to Fight Fair

In Marriage on Monday, February 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

Dirk and I have been invited to participate in a break-out session as part of a marriage conference next weekend.  The subject we were requested to share about:


I’ll be sharing some thoughts this week from our preparation.

Our relational discussions really don’t have to end up in a blow-out fight if we have some guidelines and boundaries in place.  Then we can be in control of the argument, rather than the argument controlling us.

Here is a hand-out we are working on.


Believe your mate has your best interest at heart

Listen. Ask yourself, “Is there any truth to this?”

See the discussion as an opportunity for understanding rather than for winning.

Remove sarcasm, cynicism, and anger from your words and tone.

Stay on topic.

See the issue as “our” issue, not “his” or “her” issue

Keep the discussion only between you and your mate

Take responsibility for yourself and your actions

Recognize your limits. If things are heating up, agree to a time-out.

Finish the discussion. Don’t leave it open-ended.



See your mate as the adversary

Belittle, insult, call names or use abusive language

Label or compare (“You are so ________” or You are just like your _________”)

Try to have the last word

Shut down and use the silent treatment

Put up defenses and retaliate verbally

Tear down the other’s character and personality. Keep it about behavior.

Use the D word (divorce)

Threaten, yell, scream, slam doors or throw, hit or break things

Walk away or leave the house (except for an agreed upon time-out)

Bring up the past or former unresolved discussions

Blame or make accusations

Generalize – “You always”, “You never”, “Can’t you just…?”, “You are so…”

Make assumptions about what you think your mate is saying. Ask direct questions.


What do you think?  Any additions or suggestions?

Can these guidelines help to control the argument rather than it controlling us?

  1. I love the handout…Good Stuff.

    I am blessed that Craig and I really don’t fight or argue. Recently though we had an issue. We stopped talking for a momment, took a deep breath and then remembered that we are partners. We think in terms of a team….It is us against the kids….Or when Mel was still alive there were a few times were it was US against the kids and Mel.

    When Craig and I take a breath and remember that if anyone else treated the other like this we would go into attack mode. We usually end up having a conversation to resolve the issue.

  2. Good stuff Robin (as always) — For me, remembering the first “Always” is a key. It ususally diffuses the situation a little.

  3. Wow! That is really good. I think I’ll be printing it out. I tend to just shut down when arguing. I can’t seem to articulate what I’m trying to say and then I get super frustrated. I’ve learned (the hard way) to only say a fourth of what I want to say. Think then speak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: