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Fair Fighting Rules for Couples - Rule #1

As a Couple's Counselor, I've been asked to help couples learn to fight fairly.  Because, hey, all couples disagree and fight, to some extent or another.  So, I wanted to share some tips on how to have fair and productive fights with your husband or wife.  Wouldn't you rather have a productive fight, instead of one where you both end up hurting each other?

So I'm going to provide a 10 part blog series, addressing some common Rules for Fair Fighting.

Rule #1 - Before your begin, ask yourself why you feel upset.

Are you truly angry because your partner left their dishes on the kitchen counter, dirty socks on the bedroom floor, or trash overflowing...again?  Those probably aren't the real reason you're upset, frustrated or angry. Those are just the icing on the cake. Those are just signs of a deeper problem.

Or are you really upset because you feel like you’re doing an uneven share of the housework, and this is just one more piece of evidence? 

Before you lash out at your spouse, take time to think about your own feelings. I think it's always helpful to take a pause before acting or reacting to anything whether it's related to your spouse or not. But take time to think about what really bothering you. What's really underneath your anger when you see the dirty dishes?

Let's face it, you're not specifically upset about the dishes...big deal, it takes two minutes to wash them! You're upset because the dishes are part of a pattern of behavior you see. It's the pattern that frustrates you. It's the fact that these behaviors are becoming a habit. And that habit tells you "they don't even care about me or how much I do around here", "they don't respect me enough to wash their own dishes", and fill in the blank for how you're feeling.

See, it's not about the's about the pattern of behavior being established and what those behaviors mean to you. So before you start an arguement about dirty dishes on the counter, dirty clothes on the floor, or overflowing trash, think about what's really bothering you, and address that issue. It's not worth it to fight about dishes on the sink. It is worth it to discuss how those habits make you feel.

In the next blog post, we'll talk about expressing your feelings with words, and taking responsibility for them; owning and expressing your feelings, respectfully.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post.

If you'd like more direct and personal help with your marriage relationship, please check out my website and schedule a free 15 minute consultation -

I provide online couples counseling throughout California.

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Phone - (925) 335-6122


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