The Right (and Wrong) Way to Fight with Your PartnerBy Zach Brittle
Whenever I do pre-marital counseling with couples, I ask them to tell me about their biggest fight. Usually I get a really great story. Occasionally, the couple will get into the fight again. Rarely, but often enough, a couple will tell me that they’ve never fought. Whenever I hear this, a red-flag immediately goes up. A couple that never fights? That’s like a unicorn or at least a black swan. A relationship without conflict simply doesn’t exist. It’s not mathematically possible for two independent willful people to benevolently agree 100% of the time.
Can we agree that conflict is inevitable? If we can’t, we may be due for an argument. (See what I did there?) If, however, we can acknowledge that relationships are fertile breeding ground for miscommunication, disappointment, and disconnect, then we can begin to devise strategies for dealing with the inevitable. In addition to being inevitable, Dr. John Gottman’s research revealed that ⅔ of relationship conflict is also unsolvable. This means couples have a responsibility and even a mandate to learn conflict management skills.
Here are Dos and Don’ts for how to manage relationship conflict.
Don’t Get Flooded:
Just as there is an optimal heart rate for physical exercise, there is also an optimal heart rate for relationship interac