Or is it? Even in warfare, there are rules. So what are the rules when it comes to love?

Our favorite psychologist of daytime TV, Dr. Phil, has said, “How you argue— especially how you end an argument— can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship.” He explains, “Disagreements are going to occur. The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition, that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership.”

Therein lies the simple truth, it’s not a competition. The goal in any argument should be to reach a resolution of the issue at hand, not establish who is right and who is wrong. Pointing fingers achieves nothing; in fact, it is judgmental behavior and undermines the idea of resolution.

During fights, the flight-or-fight signals that the emotional part of your brain sends you can drown out logic and reasoning. Here at Wevorce we call this puppy brain. It makes sense that any agreements you hope to achieve cannot and will not be made in this state of mind.

Here are some keys to fighting fair:

  • Define what the argument is about; do not waver from the topic, and do not bring up any past hurts and grievances. Stay on track.
  • Don’t fight in front of the kids. Dr. Phil makes the point to take it and keep it private. Not fighting in front of your children is critical. To fight in front of the kids, is in his words, “nothing short of child abuse.”
  • Don’t let your emotions rule you to the point of letting it all out to the detriment of others. You are an adult, so take that responsibility seriously and act accordingly.
  • When your emotions are out of control, it’s not the right time to discuss anything. Take a time-out rather than risk inflicting damage to your relationship that may not be repairable.
  • Never use physical force or resort to verbal attacks; it’s totally unacceptable for any reason. This means no abusive language, no blaming, no yelling. Keep it civil at all times.

Talk about your feelings, your thoughts, your desires, not your partner’s. Don’t assume you know what another person is thinking or feeling. Let your partner speak freely without trying to analyze them. Take turns speaking and listen without interrupting. Really listen with an open mind and an open heart.

Remember that a relationship flourishes when both sides are willing to give and take. Compromise is key to restoring harmony. Learn how to fight fair and you both will be better people for it.