Fair Fighting Rules for Couples - Rule #9


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:


During the fifth week, I shared about Rule #5 - No Stonewalling

To read that post, click here:


During the sixth week, I shared about Rule #6 - Attempt to come to a compromise or an understanding

During the seventh week, I shred about Rule #7 - Discuss one issue at a time.


Last week, I shared about Rule #8 - Take turns talking.


This week, I'm discussing #Rule #9 - No degrading language.

Discuss the issues, not the person.  No put-downs, swearing, or name-calling.  Degrading language is an attempt to express negative feelings while making sure your partner feels just as bad.  This will just lead to more character attacks while the original issue is forgotten.  This only serves to hurt the other person, not create resolution.

By hurting your spouse, you're doing the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish - you're pushing them away. No one willingly wants to be around someone who hurts them. If you truly want to improve your relationship, you need to say things that build your spouse up. Degrading language breaks down trust between you and your spouse.

Also, when you use hurtful degrading language to or about your spouse, you really need to think about or question what your thoughts about them really are. Because if that's what automatically comes out of your mouth when you think about them or when you're upset with them, then it may be a reflection of your true feelings, in which case, there's more to address. Also, what is your intention when you use degrading language? Are you wanting to hurt your spouse, or is is more of a defense or coping mechanism for yourself?

Degrading language also begins to chip away at your spouse's self-esteem, as they begin to believe the negative things you say to be true. And once that begins to happen, they will begin to act out what they've begun to believe. They will slowly become the person you've called them to be, even though that is not truly what you want.

Instead of using degrading language, try considering all the aspects of your spouse that you admire or appreciate and focus on and speak of those things. The more you focus on the positive, the more you will begin to feel them and notice them. And the same holds true for your spouse - they will begin to feel and embody those same positive emotions. And in doing that, the relationship will grow and strengthen. Give it a try!

And next week I'll wrap up this series with Rule #10 - Focus on the Problem, Not the Person.

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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