Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

How To Fight to Actually Make Your Relationship Better

I hate fights. Ever since I was a little girl I ran from confrontation. Especially with people I care about. Who does like to argue with the love of their life? It's scary and seems to go against all that we have been fed about how relationships "should" be fun, sexy and conflict-free. The reality is, fights are essential to working through problems. If you never voice your concerns, you run the risk of becoming resentful towards your mate for things you suppressed or told yourself "weren't a big deal." The truth is, some things are not that important. Being 10 minutes late, forgetting to take out the trash, or throwing clothes on the floor instead of the hamper- all forgivable things that do not warrant a huge argument. But repeated behavior that really bothers you is worth having a conversation with your partner. So how do you actually fight without it turning into a 3-hour long drama that ends with him on the couch and you stewing in the bedroom? See my easy to follow, simple tips below that will turn your arguments from repetitive wastes of time to helpful lessons that actually make your relationship stronger: (Yes, this is possible!)

1. Whomever has the complaint starts the argument by voicing their frustration. Avoid saying "always" or "never" in this aspect. It will instantly cause your partner to go on the defensive. And in reality, it's not true. People don't do things "all the time," they just do it enough to drive us crazy. State what is bothering you and start every sentence with I. I feel, I think, I want...you get the picture! Trust me, your spouse will feel much less attacked if you say "I feel hurt when you spend the weekend with your friends and we have little time together" instead of, "You make me so mad when you always pick your friends over us!"

2. After you have said your peace, really LISTEN to your mate speak. Do not interrupt. Try to understand where they are coming from and how they truly feel. Try to suspend your view as being right while you take in what they are communicating to you.

3. Repeat back what you have heard your partner say. Everyone wants to feel heard. When we feel seen and heard, we are much more likely to be reasonable and actively try to work towards a resolution with our partner. Example: "I hear you saying you feel sad when I work late."

4. Talk about what was said. Make sure you both understand where each person is coming from. Ask questions if you think you don't know what your partner is saying, and ask them to clarify what you've said if you feel misunderstood.

Remember that a fight is not the end of a relationship but rather a sign that you are actually talking about things instead of sweeping them under the rug. That shows both of you want this relationship to work. I hope these tips can help you work towards finding a better way to communicate so your relationship gets even better over time.