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The 5 Things All Happy Couples Know About Fighting

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Relationship Advice For Communication Skills Couples Need When Fighting Or Arguing
Love

If you're going to fight, at least fight fair.

Fighting with your partner is normal and can even lead to a healthy relationship if done correctly and properly.

The best and healthiest relationships have good and effective communication skills, which includes listening to your partner. 

In fact, we can learn a lot about communicating with our partners from communicating with children, who don't usually hold out on expressing their emotions. 

The other day, my 9-year-old got in the car when I picked him up from his dad’s house and he was in a foul mood. He’ll argue he wasn’t in any kind of mood but I’m telling you, he was in a mood.

When I asked him if he had gotten the surprise I put in his backpack the night before, he copped an attitude with me, "I don’t know what you’re talking about mom. There’s nothing in here," he said ruffling through his bag.

Then, he proceeded to scream at his sister for making the grave mistake of trying to help him find it.

When I huffed at him and asked, "Why are you yelling at everyone and being so snarky today?!", he went ballistic.

RELATED: The 10 'Golden Rules' Of Fair Relationship Fights

"I don’t know what you’re talking about mom! I’m not being snarky! And I’m not yelling at you!” he yelled at me. Then, the tears started, "You’re a liar! There's nothing in this backpack and you’re mean and I want another mom!!!”

I stayed totally calm. I didn't yell back. I didn't raise my voice. I spoke to him in a voice that sounded more like one of those cheesy deejays on the soft rock radio station my parents listen to instead of the sassy Jersey girl I am.

I was working that conversation like a Zen Buddha and I hadn’t even had my Starbucks double espresso that morning. Sometimes, I surprise myself.

As my son continued to scream, cry, and carry on, I continued to drive and not engage. I waited until we got to my daughter’s gymnastics lesson, asked her to wait for us outside, and then I got into the backseat of the car with him.

I looked him in the eyes and said, "Listen, I get you’re upset and I’m sorry. But I love you no matter what. So even though you’re mad at me and even though we haven’t talked it out yet, I want you to know that everything is going to be OK. We’ll work through this."

Well, his whole demeanor changed. His body relaxed. He stopped crying and his breathing became softer. Then all on his own he hugged me and said, "OK mom."

When we got home later that day we talked it out. He was in a space where he could hear me and understand why his tone of voice and attitude upset me earlier. What he needed was time to calm down and know he was going to be heard before any of that could happen.

I share this story because what works with a 9-year-old also works miracles with grown adults. Staying calm and not engaging with your partner when they’re blood-boiling mad will almost always diffuse the situation until they're in a place where they can really hear you.

People can’t hear you when they’re angry.  

They’re usually so caught up in their own emotions and why they’re right that their ability to listen and really hear us is impaired. Meeting them with your own anger and charged emotions will only create a whole lot more anger and emotions.

You're fully aware of the importance of communication in relationships. Now, how do you get someone you love to hear you when they're angry at you?

You can disarm them with a bullet-proof method that leads to healthy and productive fights with your partner.

Here are the 5 steps to fighting in healthy relationships that will lead to better communication.

1. Try not to raise your voice

I know this is like telling you to try not to eat that last bite of ice cream at the bottom of the carton but when you raise your voice to be heard over someone screaming at you, the only thing that happens is them escalating their voice even louder to be heard over you. 

You can be firm and strong in your response but try not to raise your voice.

2. Suggest talking once they’ve calmed down

People underestimate the power of having a conversation once they’ve had some time to process and cool off. 

Say something like, "I get you’re really angry right now so why don’t we talk about this once we’ve both calmed down." This gives both of you time to put things into perspective so you can have an actual conversation instead of a screaming match.

3. Reassure them you want to work it out

People need to know that everything is going to be OK, especially when they’re upset.

Saying something to your partner along the lines of, "We clearly don’t agree on this right now but I want you to know that I love you and I want to work through this with you" can help in making them feel that you're willing to listen to them once they calm down.

RELATED: The 6 Types Of (Healthy) Fights Every Long-Lasting Relationship Must Have To Survive

4. Tell them how much you value your relationship

Even in the middle of an argument, telling someone you love how important the relationship is to you can go a long way in diffusing a fight.

You’re disarming them by letting them know you want to work through things rather them launching an immediate counter-attack. 

5. When none of the above works, don't be afraid to walk away

Remember when your mom would get mad at you when you were little and then chase you around the house like a lunatic even though you weren’t hearing any of it because you were too busy high-tailing it up to your bedroom and finally she'd just give up the screaming because she had exhausted herself chasing you around so much?

The same tactic can work with adults. Even if they follow you into every room, keep walking. Eventually, they start to feel silly chasing you around and will leave you alone once they realize you’re not going to engage with them at that moment.

Confrontations and fights with our partners are all part of being in a relationship.

What's important is having healthy ways to communicate with each other when emotions are high and feelings are hurt so that it doesn't ruin your relationship.

If you can keep these tips in your back pocket next time your partner has a full-on meltdown over something you didn't see coming, you have a greater chance of working through things faster, improve your communication skills, and even grow closer in the process.

RELATED: The 3 Words That Change A Major Fight Into The Deepest Love

Dina Strada is an author, Life and Relationship Coach who has written hundreds of articles on dating, relationships and healing from heartbreak.  Her jam is helping people communicate better with their partner, ex, or that guy you can't quite figure out. Get on her exclusive email list to receive hot, relevant relationship tips at www.dinastrada.com or download her FREE GUIDE to Breaking Unhealthy Relationship Patterns.