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Friday, 22 September 2017

Fighting fair

Relationships are never perfect, because no two people are perfect. Disagreements and even full-fledged arguments will always ensue due to the friction between personalities, upbringing and personal convictions. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

When we say that couples should learn to fight productively with each other, I don’t mean exchanging physical blows. That is never permissible for any gender. If your partner is abusive in this way, please walk away.

However, disagreements can be tools for the growth of the relationship and for learning each other’s triggers and boundaries. The problem is that some couples don’t know how to fight fair and are stuck in a cycle of toxic, verbally abusive episodes. There is a way to fight with your partner while not breaking their spirit.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you chose this person. You love them. Keep this at the forefront of your mind as you table your concerns. Do not put them down or use degrading language at them in your frustration. Talk about your own feelings and wants and don’t try to tell them theirs.

Another thing couples do wrong is blaming. “This is how you always...” or “last time, you also...” Keep the past in the past and deal with what is in front of you. Pointing fingers will only make your partner more defensive and less able to hear your point, even though it might actually be a good one.

How you put your point across also matters. Some of us grew up in “yelling” houses, where we shout to communicate and this seems normal. Your partner may have grown up in a quiet house and so yelling sounds confrontational and angry to him. You might just be expressing your feelings, not even angry, but he won’t understand it like that. This is why you need to communicate at your partner’s level, and avoid shouting.

It might feel good at the time to threaten your partner with a break up or a divorce, but please do not do it. It is callous and shows that you have no respect for your union. Do not threaten them with anything you know they hold dear. Don’t let things get physical either, breaking things or throwing things. Keep things civil. You will want to preserve your relationship after the fight.

There are no winners or losers in a fight between lovers. That should never be the aim. The aim should be to understand each other better and grow in your trust, respect and love.

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