How To Get Better At Fighting With Your Partner

Fighting is one of those things that is inevitable in every relationship. What sets you apart, is not only how you engage with the fight but what happens before and after. After years of being with my high school boyfriend-turned-husband, these are a few of the things that I’ve learned when it comes to #fightclub.

When You Feel A Fight Coming On…

Like a cold, you have to take care of it before it becomes full-fledged. When things are bothering one of you, you need to tackle it head on – no matter how much you dread having that conversation. One thing that used to drive me crazy about Sahir is that when he knew I was upset about something, sometimes he would just try to ignore it and hope it goes away (more on that later)… Uh, no way buddy. It just made me angrier! Now, I try to share how I’m feeling as it happens. One of my best friends told me that when her and her husband feel a fight coming on one of them will grab the other’s hand and say something to the extent of “look, I know this feels important right now but please remember that I’m madly in love with you and you’re madly in love with me and in a few hours we’ll be cracking up together again.” Most of the time, that’s enough to just eliminate the argument altogether and sometimes they still have to talk things out, but it always helps us remember that this fight is temporary and they’ll be best friends later.

One thing I’ve learned is to try to avoid using the word “mad”. It sounds silly, but by eliminating that word from your vocabulary it forces you to describe how you feel in other ways. It made me _____ when you did/said/ate _______. Insert: sad, disappointed, stressed, uncomfortable, etc. We swear by this method, so give it a shot the next time you feel something bubbling below the surface. You can read more about this strategy in this post!

When You’re In The Heat Of A Fight…

Get out of the kitchen! Actually, don’t do that. That advice sucks. It’s true that some people just need to remove themselves from the situation temporarily, but going hours or days (yes, some people go days) without talking or dealing with your issues is bad news. I remember watching an episode of HIMYM where Marshall and Lily have a system where they can pause their fights at any point and go eat dinner, talk about other things, hook up, etc and then unpause at will. This is so not happening with me. When we’re in the heat of it, we usually try not to yell at each other and just separate for a few minutes to get our thoughts together. Sahir and I are extremely lucky that we fight maybe 3-4x a year (if that) so if it comes down to it, it’s on. I will say that one of the things that prevent us from making a bad situation worse is having a set of “off the table rules” as in, certain things that we will not say under any circumstances. For Sahir and I, this means no cursing at the other person, definitely no name-calling, and no matter what – no using the “D” word. We never, ever, throw around the word ‘Divorce’ it’s not on the table and not something to throw out in the heat of a fight. Every couple fights, but you need to set ground rules to make sure you don’t go past a point of no return.

Moving On From A Fight…

One of the hardest things for me is to move on from a fight. It’s amazing how resilient my husband is though. You would think nothing happened between us two minutes ago. Figuring out how to move on from a fight is challenging no matter who is involved. It’s taken Sahir and I years to develop our dynamic and it’s always changing. I will say that the way we handle fights is pretty reflective of what we saw growing up. As a child of divorce, I thought that a fight-to-the-death mentality was normal and a completely appropriate reaction to any and all fights. Sahir on the other hand, never saw his parents argue — no really, never. While this sounded great in theory, it led to him completely avoiding fights and pretending like nothing happened. Not cool bruh. Try to learn something from every time you fight, if you are in it for the long run, trust me… you’ll need the experience.