Fair Fighting Rules for Couples - Rule #8


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 providing a 10 part blog series, addressing some common Rules for Fair Fighting.

During the first week I shared Rule #1 - Before your begin, ask yourself why you feel upset.
To read that post, click here:

During the second week, I shared Rule #2 - 

Express your feelings with words and take responsibility for them; own and express your feelings, respectfully.

To read that post, click here:


During the third week, I shared Rule #3 - Take Turns Talking, which goes hand in hand with Reflective Listening.

To read that post, click here:


During the fourth week, I shared about Rule #4 - Take a Time Out if things get too heated.

To read that post, click here:


In week five, I shared about Rule #5 - No Stonewalling

To read that post, click here:


In week six, I shared about Rule #6 - Attempt to come to a compromise or an understanding
To read that post, click here:

Last week, I shared about Rule #7 - Discuss one issue at a time.

To read that post, click here:


This week, I'm discussing Rule #8 - Take turns talking.

I know this can be hard. You probably have a lot to say and you probably want to get it out before you forget your point. But if you're practicing Reflective Listening, hopefully you're improving in this area.

If you each know you're going to get a "turn" to talk, then you can focus on being more attentive to what your spouse is saying. You won't feel like you have to respond now, or you won't get the chance. And you might find that, if you actually listen to what they have to say, the two of you may not be as far off from each other as you thought. Or if you know you have a turn to talk, then you don't have to be immediately defensive toward everything your partner says, because you will have a chance to respond, during your turn.

If this rule is difficult to follow, try setting a timer allowing 1-2 minutes for each person to speak without interruption.  But don’t spend your partner’s minute thinking about what you want to say.  Spend their minute genuinely listening to them. Just like you want them to actually listen to you.

Taking turns talking is the precursor to Reflective Listening, which we will discuss in a later blog post. To truly take turns talking, you have to step outside of yourself and be interested in what your spouse has to say. Try to listen to what they have to say from their point of view or even from an outsider's point of view.

Taking turns talking also goes back to what we learned in childhood...to take turns and to share. And you know what they say, "Sharing is caring!" But it's true. If you share the conversation time with your spouse, then it shows that you love, respect, and care about them, by giving your undivided attention. Imagine how this approach could change the dynamics of your interactions if done on a regular basis. You would each feel loved and respected. And when you feel loved and respected, you behave differently. You give more grace to your spouse and others.

Sharing means giving each person equal opportunity. Sharing time means giving each person equal opportunity to express their point and their feelings.

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 - www.brittaniedmillslmft.com.

I provide online couples counseling throughout California.

Website - www.brittaniedmilslmft.com

Email - bdmills@brittaniedmillslmft.com

Phone - (925) 335-6122


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