I know you find this hard to believe, but if you are in a relationship there will be a time that you will disagree with your spouse. Yes, I know we all think we have the perfect relationship but you will not always agree. My husband and I are no different. Picture a couple with one person that is more aggressive and the other person more passive. This is what my household is like. For years, we have tried various ways to handle our disagreements. After almost 5 years of marriage we have finally found the Rules of Engagement that work well for us, and maybe it will work for you too.
After attending a marriage seminar hosted by our church, we both realized we have been disagreeing totally wrong the entire time. For the past seven years, Jumanji and I have both been guilty of fighting dirty. No, we are not calling each other names but we are guilty of some dirty fighting tactics like manipulation, silent treatment, playing the victim, and exaggeration. Check out the word cloud below for other dirty fighting tactics.
Well, thanks to the marriage seminar hosted by our church we learned the art behind “Clean Fighting.” What is a clean fight? A Clean Fight is a negotiation between two people for the sake of the relationship. The person bringing up the issue cares enough to take responsibility for something important to them, rather than projecting blame. The person listening cares enough to consider what is important to the other person and is willing to negotiate.
This all sounds good, but how do you do it? The first step is to ask permission to have a clean fight. Why should you ask permission? You or spouse may not honestly be in a headspace to have a clean fight. Respect that. You want to ensure you give your spouse your undivided attention and they, in return, want that attention from you as well. After all, you do love this person, right? Next, the person initiating the clean fight must decide on a specific concrete behavior they have a complaint about. Remember you are not attacking the person, you are taking issue with a behavior. Finally, you proceed to go through steps one through four. Download Clean Fight PDF! While doing this, the listening spouse repeats what the speaker says verbatim. Seems stupid but it works! After doing this you and your spouse will come to some agreement on the issue or behavior at hand.
Try going through these steps and I promise disagreements won’t seem so bad. Let me know how it goes!