When couples fight, it can make or break their relationship. Literally. And because it isn’t a televised debate, a counseling session, or in the boxing ring, there are no rules and there is no referee to tell you if you’ve dealt a low blow or if you’re being unfair.

So how do we fight fair? How do we use fights to strengthen our relationships and not break them? Well, here are some ideas to help you get through your next fight. And make it out better than before.

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Use “I feel” Statements

No two people think the same and doesn’t it seem, sometimes, that you and your person couldn’t be thinking more differently? This is why “I feel” statements are so important! Sometimes arguments arise because of difference of opinion, but sometimes it's all a misunderstanding.

By using “I feel” statements, you can share what you think about something in the nicest and least defensive way. Say, “I feel like this about this.” Or, “When you do this, I feel like this.” The most important part is truly knowing how the other person feels and you sharing as well, so that you can come to a conclusion, maybe make a compromise, but definitely finish the argument.

Stay on Topic

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Try to just talk about the issue at hand. Otherwise, bringing other things into the picture could lead to a larger, worse argument than when you started. Not only that, but it will become an endless argument. It’s important to “start each day new” and in that, keep each argument in its own box. Start and finish talking about one topic and don’t waver. No one wants to fight all the time or for long periods of time. So pick a topic, say your peace, and move on.

Repeat Back Statements for Understanding

Because everyone is so different in their thinking, how they are raised, how they react to things, and everything else, it’s really impossible to truly understand something as it relates to someone else. Since this is the case, doing everything you can to understand the other person is crucial.

Repeat back the thoughts of others, but make sure to do it nicely, and don't mock. Say, "I understand that you feel like this about that." Or, "What do you mean when you say that?" Don't only clarify understanding but ask questions, too. It shows you care and really want to resolve this issue, not fight about it.

Give Your Partner the Benefit of Doubt

You want people to give you the benefit of doubt, don’t you? In fact, this pretty much falls in line with the Golden Rule. That is, treat others how you want to be treated. And this means giving the benefit of doubt.

Don’t assume your person meant to hurt you or irk you, chances are they didn’t. And if they did, fight with kindness and love. Love plus love equals love, even if it takes you awhile to get there. Hate or meanness plus love, does not equal love. Think the best of your person and help positively influence them to think the best of you, too.

Consider the Core Issues Behind the Argument

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This isn’t to say that everyone is hiding some ulterior agenda during an argument, but it could be that they are bothered by something else, and they may not even know it. It also may be to difficult for them to talk about their issues.

We have all had these things happen. And when something hard or sad is going on within ourselves, sometimes we don’t want to talk about it. But the thing is, we should. And sometimes our person needs to help.

It happens where you are really hurting, sad or mad and you easily get "mad" because the tissue box wasn’t replaced. And then you get yelled at or do the yelling. If someone is reacting weirdly towards something seemingly insignificant, the problem is probably not the tissue box. Always ask someone if something else is really wrong. Or hug them and ask why they are so mad about the tissue box. It could be they feel like the tissue box replacement is your job, and it really was the tissue box. Also, it could be, they are really upset about something else. Ask.

*Want more “fighting” tips? Watch for Fight the Good Fight: What Not to Say, coming soon! *

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