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10 Tips for Fighting Fairly

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Arguments are an inevitable and normal part of married life. When two different people begin sharing their lives with one another, they are bound to disagree and get on each other’s nerves. As newlyweds, you’ll soon realize that arguments can be a healthy, beneficial part of your marriage – as long as you know how to fight fairly. Here's how:

1. Listen Carefully

Couple talking on sofa
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Do not interrupt your spouse. Listen to what your husband or wife is saying and save your comments or reply for when he or she is done speaking. Avoiding other communication mistakes is another great way to start the fight right. 

2. Keep Your Voice Down

Do not raise your voice. Refrain from yelling and shouting because that will only make him or her either feel like a child being disciplined or as though you’re on the attack. Keep your normal tone and voice.

3. Nix the Sarcasm

Sarcasm only leads to misunderstandings and/or hurt feelings. Your arguments should not resemble a stand-up comedy routine. This kind of language can help breed resentment. Eliminate the sarcasm and you’re more likely to come to some sort of understanding – and quicker than you imagine possible.

4. Watch What Your Body Says

Pay attention to your body language and facial expressions. Crossed arms, a frown, and angry eyebrows tell your partner that you are hostile, which makes reaching a resolution seem impossible. Relaxed or casual body language will keep the tension at bay and raise hope. It tells your spouse that you’re open to his or her ideas – even if they are different from your own.

5. No Name Calling

Sometimes, we say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t even mean and later regret. You’ll be much happier if neither of you ever use curse words or offensive names to refer to the other. Such behavior is immature and just hurts your beloved’s feelings. Take a time out if you’re too fired up to go on. Set a time to reconvene and discuss the issue when you’ve both had a chance to cool off.

6. Mirror One Another

After you’ve listened to your spouse’s position on a certain topic, repeat what he or she said to make sure you understood correctly. This will help you at least understand what your spouse is saying and clarify any misunderstandings.

7. Agree to Disagree

Sometimes you’ll have opposing views on certain topics. You’re unique people, and you won’t always agree. That’s okay. In fact, it’s what makes your relationship interesting, and it’s probably at least part of what draws you to one another. But you have to be willing to accept your differences and tolerate them.

8. Touch. Kiss. Hug

Give each other space while you’re in the heat of a serious discussion, but continue to caress or kiss or hug your partner at appropriate moments during the conversation. This lets him or her know that you are still connected to one another – and that you still care about him or her.

9. Reaffirm Your Feelings

Say, “I love you” or “I care about you” or “I want to help you” at some point during the conversation. Say it and mean it. Your goal is to show your spouse that your love is unconditional. It makes them feel secure enough to share their differences and be open with you about anything and everything without fear of losing your love and affection.

10. Don't Bottle Up Your Feelings

Failing to reveal things that are upsetting you only builds resentment. Eventually, you’ll explode – and it will likely be at the wrong time and in an emotional way that will only make a rift grow between you and your spouse. You should choose your battles carefully but that does not mean you should let real problems you have fester. Calmly speak up when something is bothering you, so you can discuss the issue like the rational adults you are. If you lose your temper or say something you should or are in the wrong, then apologize. And be willing to forgive when you're on the other end of the apology. 
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