By now you've probably heard the phrase, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" In a fit of anger most of us foolishly choose to be right. I'll go on record and tell you that I don't fight fair. I do this adorable thing where I verbally hit below the belt whenever I feel like I'm losing an argument. I deflect, bring up old shit, and then find myself unhappy in my hollow victory. More often than not the root of the argument remains unresolved, gaining momentum just in time for the next argument. I know we've all fought ugly at some point, hurting the ones that we love for the sake of being right even when one person's "right" is the other person's wrong. Have no fear; there are better, more effective methods of conflict resolution in a relationship. Check out these 8 strategies for fighting fair!
Related: 6 fights you should have with your spouse
1. Be open and honest:
Your goal in any conflict should be your ability to communicate frustration or anger in a way that will be heard. Aggressive verbal and nonverbal communication such as, yelling, slamming doors, and mocking behaviors prevent inhibit honest dialog. If you're unable to approach the conflict in a calm and civilized manner, table the discussion for another time when you're both ready to listen and share.
2. Don't even think about it:
NEVER attempt to resolve conflict with violence or while under the influence of any substance that impairs your judgment or alters your mood. Avoid the use of name calling or hostile and aggressive tones.
3. Take a break:
If your argument escalates despite your best efforts, call a time-out. Go your separate ways to calm down, think about what's been said, and how best to approach the conflict at a later time.
Related: Take time for yourself...and 9 other marriage tips worth listening to
Effective listening is one of the hardest (and most important) things to do in an argument. Take turns communicating. Allow your partner to finish talking before you reply. Attempt to steer the conflict from an argument to a conversational exchange.
When tempers flare, our heart rate and blood pressure increase while our breathing becomes inconsistent and shallow. Remember to take slow, deliberate, calming breaths.
6. Check yourself:
In the event that your partner is struggling with something you're having a hard time understanding, validate the ways in which this conflict is affecting your partner and ask about possible solutions to help ease your partner's distress.
Related: 11 mistakes I made that nearly ended my marriage
7. Offer the benefit of the doubt:
You know you love your partner, even if they're bugging the crap out of you at the moment. Sometimes offering your partner the benefit of the doubt is the greatest gift you can offer your relationship.
8. Be willing to compromise:
Yeah, you knew this one was coming. The whole "my way or the highway" thing might work with kids but it doesn't work well in relationships. Find it in your heart to come to a suitable resolution; your relationship will thank you for it.
By Lori Garcia
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