Skip to main content

Fair Fighting Rules for Couples - Wrap Up


We've spent the last 10 weeks discussing the Fair Fighting Rules for Couples.  Let's summarize.

Rule #1 - Before your begin, ask yourself why you feel upset.
Don't go into an arguement or discussion without knowing why you're upset, otherwise the discussion won't be productive. You need to be able to explain your feelings and how the situation has hurt you. And you need to stay focused on the issue at hand.

If you'd like to read the full post for Rule #1, click here:

Rule #2 - Express your feelings with words and take responsibility for them; own and express your feelings, respectfully.
It's important to use words to share your feelings. You need to describe how the situation makes you feel and why. Use "I" statements instead of blaming your partner. For example, "It scares me when you don't call when you're coming home late, because I get worried that something bad has happenedd to you." This is owning your own feelings, yet being respectful and not blaming.

To read the full post for Rule #2, click here:

Rule #3 - Take Turns Talking, which goes hand in hand with Reflective Listening.

One of the most common issues amongst couples is that one person doesn't feel heard or doesn't feel they are able to express their feelings. So it's important to take turns talking, even it it means setting a timer until you both get used to the process. You could even use Reflective Listening, where you each listen to the other and then reflect back what they said. We'll discuss this more in a future blog post.

To read the full post for Rule #3, click here:

Rule #4 - Take a Time Out if things get too heated.

This is an important strategy, because it can be a reset in a difficult situation. It gives both people a chance to cool off, think about the situation and what's been said, and return later to have a productive conversation. This small period of time to cool off can really help improve discussions.

To read the full post for Rule #4, click here:

Rule #5 - No Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when one of the people gets to a point where they are refusing to communicate.  It often looks like the silent treatment.  Sometimes it happens because one person fees overwhelmed and unable to express themselves and other times it happens because we want to "punish" the other person.  Either way, stonewalling is not effective, because it stalls the entire conversation process.

To read the full post for Rule #5, click here:

Rule #6 - Attempt to come to a compromise or an understanding
The best way to resolve an arguement is find a way that both people win. That way, neither person feels that their voice isn't reflected in the decision. A compromise means taking pieces from each person's opinion and crafting them into a new solution.

To read the full post for Rule #6, click here:

Rule #7 - Discuss one issue at a time.

It's so easy for couples to get caught up during an arguement, bringing up every injustice, offense, and problem from the relationship. But this means that the actual problem at hand won't be addressed and nothing will be resolved. If you truly want to resolve issues with your partner, it's important to focus on one thing at a time.

To read the full post for Rule #7, click here:

Rule #8 - Take turns talking.

It's important for each person to get a chance to speak and voice their concerns. And each person should be able to listen to the other, without focusing on what they want to say next. By intentionally taking turns, it frees each person to really listen to the other.

To read the full post for Rule #8, click here:

Rule #9 - No degrading language.

They say that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. But we all know it's not true. Words mean things. And words hurt. So, don't resort to name calling and put downs. That the childish way of engaging in a discussion. Instead, focus on the problem, not the person.

To read the full post for Rule #9, click here:

Rule #10- Focus on the problem, not the person

In a heated argument, it's easy to focus on all the negative aspects of the

other person, but what does that solve? By doing that, the conversation is

not productive. Problems in relationships are rarely the fault of one person

alone. So, it's best to focus on the problem at hand.

To read the full post for Rule #10, click here:

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you've found these rules helpful and have taken the time to try them on in your relationship. I'd love to hear how they worked for you. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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

I provide online couples and individual counseling throughout California, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida.

If you'd like to see any of my other blog posts, please click here.

Website -

Email -

Phone - (925) 335-6122

Facebook -

Instagram - @brittanedmillslmft

Podcast -


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Down & Dirty of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a 2 hour DBT 101 training, free through my employer.  As a Child Protective Services social worker, I have seen the benefits of DBT with various clients over the years and knew it had some very valuable tools, but I had never taken the time to learn much about it.  So I thought this was my opportunity.  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) centers around the fact that two opposing facts can be true at the same time.  For example - "I am tough, but I'm also gentle." or my favorite, "I'm doing the best I can, and I can do better."  DBT is an evidence based practice that stems from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and was originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. I learned about the Bio-Social Theory around DBT.  Bio - there is a biological vulnerability to emotions and Social - an invalidating environment that communicates that what you're feeling, thinking or doing doesn't make sense. 

Behind the Couch: Understanding Why Therapists Opt Out of Insurance

  Behind the Couch:  Understanding Why Therapists Opt Out of Insurance As a therapist, I've noticed an increase in the number of people who want/need to use their insurance benefits to receive therapy.  And, to be honest, when I first sought out a therapist for myself, I felt the exact same way.   I understand.  Therapy can be a very costly investment.  But that's how you have to think about it - as an yourself and your mental and emotional well-being. But working as a therapist, I've learned that there are some definite reasons that you may not want to use your inusrance benefits. Let me take a few moments to explain. Insurance Requires a Diagnosis In order to use your insurance for therapy benefits, the insurance company requires that the providing therapist give a diagnosis.  That means that once you enter into therapy using your health insurance benefits, there is a documented record of a mental health diagnosis on file for you.  And that record may stay

Empty Nest

  Empty Nest - Now What? Your children are all grown and have moved out and are moving on with their own lives.  The constant influx of people in the house or at the dinner table has disappeared.  The hustle and bustle has died down.  And now you're left with just the two of you. Now it's time to rediscover yourselves as individuals, and maybe even more importantly, as a married couple.  The last several decades or more have been devoted to rearing your children and launching them into adulthood.  But now you find yourself with extra time and maybe extra energy on your hands. Leisure Time Maybe now that all the children's activities and obligations have gone, you find yourself with a lot of extra time.  Instead of dwelling on the absence of your children, focus on things you can now do with that time.  Take a nap.  Read a book.  Learn to cook or bake.  Sign up for some local classes or groups.  Or maybe you need something more practical.  You can do something productive lik