Conflict is normal if you’re in a healthy relationship.
But fighting doesn’t have to be about slamming doors, cussing, and silent treatment. It’s possible to fight with respect and compassion for each other and grow happily together.
So if you want to have constructive arguments with your partner, take heed of this best relationship advice when fighting from a life coach.
Let’s dive right into it.
1. Understand Fights Are Inevitable but Healthy
We all have different backgrounds which cause varied perspectives in life. So when two people in a relationship experience incompatibilities in thinking, it leads to a misunderstanding. Before they get into an understanding, they might fight about the incompatibilities.
And that’s healthy.
So instead of deceiving yourself that you’ll grow out of fighting, start thinking of how you can fight better to grow with your partner.
We are all imperfect. We all need understanding. We all need forgiveness. Embrace the fight and come out stronger.
2. Show Love Through the Conflict
When we feel unloved, we react in destructive ways like lashing out, silent treatment, or any other behavior that creates enmity.
However, when you create a loving environment, it helps you and your partner communicate honestly and solve the conflict.
And here’s how you can show love through a conflict:
- Hold hands while explaining your feelings
- Ask your partner how you can love them during those moments of strife
- Apply the rest of the tips in this article
3. Don’t Expect Immediate Changes
Change is hard. You see that when you try to change yourself. So being hard on others to change immediately after they realize their wrong is unfair.
To avoid being hurt by behavioral change expectations for your partner, stay hopeful that they’ll change (and provide an environment enabling their change), just not in your exact timeline.
This way, they can continuously feel your love and support which would strengthen them to progress.
4. Express Your Feelings With Dignity
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Fighting right isn’t about suppressing your feelings since that would swell up and burst in bitterness. But it isn’t about merely saying “I feel abandoned” either since this doesn’t help them understand you.
Instead, process your feelings and express them constructively like, “I feel abandoned because I sense you’re emotionally distant lately”
This way, you can process your feelings and their cause so you can have a solution-oriented fight to build your love on.
5. Know Your Priorities in the Fight
When our ego gets in the way, we like to fight to win no matter the cost. But is that what you really want? For your partner to go away thinking you’re mean and manipulative instead of an honest lover wanting your relationship to work?
So instead of simply telling you to refrain from fighting to win arguments, I urge you to always remember your fighting priority? Is it to be right or to be happy?
If you’re still willing to be with a person, sometimes you can let them win the fight if you’re not going anywhere in helping them understand.
6. Call Out the Bad Thing Not a Bad Person
When you attack the character of your partner by calling them a bad person, they’ll be defensive and it can lead to toxic fighting.
There’s no bad nor good person, just good deeds and bad deeds. One who generally does good deeds can do a bad thing at times and another who mostly does bad deeds does good deeds sometimes. So telling anyone they’re inherently bad almost always leads to no change.
Instead of saying:
- “You’re so selfish,” say “You acted selfishly in this way”
- “You’re so unreliable” tell them, “You weren’t reliable in that situation”
- “You’re such a liar,” say “Hun, you lied to me”
You can also mention their goodness before telling their fault.
7. Stop Complaining and Start Requesting
“I’m always the one taking the trash out.” “You never ask about my day.” “I am like a slave in this house.”
When someone complains constantly, the people around start taking it as pettiness rather than a call for help. And that happens in romantic relationships as well. If you keep blaming your partner, you push their help away from you rather than to you.
Instead, ask them, “Would you please help take the trash out?” “I’d appreciate it if you ask me how my day was. Do you feel you can do that?” “I often feel burnt-out from house chores, how would you feel about helping me?”
Any need can be met through a request. So ask and you shall receive.
8. Respond to Unvalidated and Unmet Requests Wisely
So what if your partner doesn’t fulfill or even validate your requests? In that case, you have to carefully manage your response since this is where fights become ugly.
If you’re feeling overpowered by anger since your partner isn’t giving you what you want, you can respectfully ask for time to think about their response. That way you can calm down and decide whether you’re willing to pursue a favorable response from them further or let go of the request.
9. Accept Yourself and Your Partner
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Accepting and loving yourself helps you guard your heart and also accept and love your partner with all their flaws.
Therefore, to experience productive fights, you need to ask yourself, “Do I know myself? Do I accept myself? Do I know my partner? Do I accept them with all their imperfections?”
We all come from different backgrounds that condition some undesirable things in us so we have to be patient and kind to ourselves and those we choose as our partners.
10. Understand When It Becomes Okay to Sleep on It
You know the good old advice, “Don’t go to bed angry.” It’s good for avoiding piled-up fights that develop bitterness and greater ego.
But when it’s almost time to go to bed, it’s smarter to sleep on it. Why?
If you start fighting when tired, it’s easy to be unproductive because you can’t think clearly. So you can choose to let go of the anger by letting go of the thoughts causing it, until the next day when you’ll be sober enough to process emotions.
11. Choose Face to Face Communication Over Text
Text fighting is dangerous for any conflict. Not only does it fail to express feelings and intentions clearly but also makes it easy to misinterpret information negatively.
So if you’re far away from your partner, it’s best to communicate with them using a video call that you may fight right.
12. Choose to Be Receptive Instead of Defensive
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When someone is pointing out our mistake or weakness, a more negative mindset concludes that if we accept, they might use it against us to hurt us. For this reason, we become defensive.
Yet we can choose to accept the feedback and strive to change.
So how can you be receptive instead of defensive? Here’s how:
- Take responsibility for your behavior by choosing vulnerability even though it might lead to your partner using it against you.
- Develop a growth mindset by seeking to learn even when it makes you look bad.
- Understand some people are not good at delivering constructive criticism and assume they have good intentions.
- Use coping mechanisms like respectful timeouts, deep breaths, and speech refrains to avoid doing anything that threatens conflict resolution.
- Be kind to yourself since you’re a human like everyone else and it’s okay to make mistakes.
Learn further on how to not be defensive in the following video:
13. Address Any Issues That Bother You Immediately
When you feel anything about your relationship is bothering you, admit it to your partner before it becomes negativity that you ruminate on.
Doing this will help avoid any development of bitterness and bursting of pent-up feelings later. Also, too many unsolved conflicts lead to unsolvable, giant problems that you can either live unhappily with or part ways for a piece of mind.
Don’t let it come to that and tell your partner what you feel in the moment.
14. Decode Your Repetitive Fights
You both come home from work, but you feel you’re the one handling the chores more than the partner. You fight about that constantly. You start fighting about your constant fighting. You drift apart further.
Repetitive fights make you feel helpless and drastic thoughts like of leaving each other start crossing your minds.
That’s why it’s vital to scrutinize any repetitive fights you have and find time to unpack and deal with them once and for all. Speaking of finding time…
15. Schedule Time for Constructive Conflict Resolution
Some fights need time for the conflict to be resolved completely. They may include repetitive fights and long term conflicts buried under bitterness. To deal withsuch fights productively, schedule couple’s conflict resolution times say once a week or biweekly at least.
Even if you don’t have something to fight about, you can review the solutions for the previous fights and determine whether they worked.
16. Step Away to Think Clearly Whenever Necessary
When fighting, it’s easy to lose control and act out of anxiety in the heat of the moment. But whenever you sense you’re about to do anything that’ll escalate the fight, pause and step away.
You can step away respectively by telling your partner something like, “I don’t want to say or do something I’ll regret later so please give me some space to think hun.”
17. Listen Empathically and Seek Clarification
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One way to show love during an argument is by listening emphatically.
You can listen emphatically through emotional attunement practices like focusing on your partner when they’re talking, using receptive body language like nods, and talking less.
To make sure you’re on the same page and also make your partner feel heard, you can seek clarification using statements like these: “I think I know what you’re trying to say and how you feel. I made you feel unloved because I did X. Have I understood you correctly?”
18. Learn Your Partner’s Language of Apology
Does your partner feel you’re genuinely sorry when you bring the flowers and chocolate or are they okay with a genuine word apology?
Know what makes your partner feel heard and valued and do it to fully resolve the fight. If they haven’t known your language of love as well, you can explain it to them since they didn’t come across this article 🙂
19. Feel Understand and Then Choose the Action
When in a fight, pause and observe what you feel. Give it a name whether it’s anger, resentment, or any other emotion. Only then can you move to ask why you’re feeling so.
Take your time to understand why you feel a particular way and how it’s causing the conflict. After that, you can choose how to act.
This process of feeling, understanding, and then acting is the processing of conflict. If you do one before the other, you’ll likely end up with an unprocessed conflict which leads to piling up of misunderstood negative emotions and beliefs.
So if you try letting go of an issue that bothers you without processing why you’re letting go, the emotions would likely crop up and you’ll end up confusing yourself and your partner with your mixed reactions.
20. Keep Your Voice Low
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As psychotherapist Michael Formica confirms in Psychology Today, we raise our voices when we feel helpless about a confrontattion.
However, raising your voice agitates your partner even further and doesn’t help solve issues. So when you notice your voice rising during a fight, pause and lower it to create an environment that welcomes understanding and good intentions.
21. Stop Generalizing Actions With Words Like “Always” and “Never”
“You’re always on your phone!” “You never appreciate me!”
Of course, they leave their phones to focus on you from time to time. And they do appreciate you sometimes. So making your partner feel you never notice when they do good for you hurts them and invites more strife.
But instead, focus on their deed at that time. And if they do something hurtful a lot, admit they do it often and it hurts you. This gets us to the next point.
22. Fight About One Thing at a Time
When fighting, it’s easy to drift into a toxic habit of pointing out the many faults of your partner to prove a point. But this only escalates the fight and drifts you apart.
Therefore, only deal with one thing every time you fight. If any of you sways from the topic, steer them back for full processing of the issue at hand.
23. Take Responsibility
In disagreements, instead of expecting the other person to do the right thing and steer the fight in the right direction, do it yourself.
Follow the advice in this piece to the best of your ability so that if your partner didn’t know any better, they can learn from you.
24. Never Attack Your Partner’s Feelings
Respecting each other’s feelings is one of the ingredients of a healthy relationship. Just as you want to feel heard and understood, your partner wants the same.
Therefore, never tell your partner that they shouldn’t feel a certain way. Instead, show compassion for their feelings and seek to understand the root cause to lead to a solution.
25. Seek Help From a Counseling Professional
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Our individual physical, social, mental, and emotional processes can get so complicated that getting into a healthy relationship without professional guidance becomes almost impossible.
So if you follow the advice above but feel your fighting isn’t getting more cooperative, it’s best to seek coaching or therapy.
The Best Relationship Advice in Questions and Answers
Get to know answers to your burning questions about fighting in relationships.
How do you fix a relationship when all you do is fight?
You can get your partner to cooperate with you in conflict by listening and understanding their thoughts and feelings while expressing your needs respectfully and lovingly using the in-depth advice in this article.
How do you help a couple who is fighting?
You can help the couple by studying the advice on fighting in this article and explaining it to them or linking this piece for them to find relationship fixing strategies for themselves.
How do you stop fighting in a relationship?
You can stop toxic fighting in a relationship by applying the advice for arguing partners in this article. It includes everything from physically distancing yourself to emotional attunement and more.
How much fighting is normal in a relationship? How often do couples fight in a healthy relationship?
Dr. Carla Marly, a world-renown clinical psychologist confirms the popular survey claims that an average couple fights seven times a day. But relationship research reminds couples not to focus on how much they fight but how they deal with the fights. They recommend dealing with solvable fights first with a solution-oriented approach we discussed earlier to become a happy couple.
Fighting in the early stages of a relationship (Is it normal to fight in a relationship?)
It is normal to fight in a relationship. And if it’s new, it’s even more likely to fight since you and your partner are individuals from different backgrounds with varying perspectives. You’ll notice some incompatibilities in thinking that can lead you to a fight but as you deal with the fights wisely, you can grow as a couple.
Relationships need two unique individuals to work together and make it work. I believe you now know how to fight right and fix your relationship. Remember, we all need compassion to know our faults and grow from them.
Now that you have the best advice for fighting, how are you going to fight better? Let’s chat in the comments! Also, share this piece to help others fix their relationships.