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Rules For A Fair Fight

Adapted from Is It You or Is It Me? by Scott Wetzler

These ground rules for fair fights will enhance trust and respect in relationships:

  1. Contain the fight. Don’t let it escalate; resolve it before bedtime.
  2. Control your temper.  Look within to find the source of your anger.
  3. Look for assumptions behind the beliefs that are expressed.
  4. Be constructive.  Don’t try to prove the other is wrong.
  5. Accept your differences.  Listen deeply, and ask lots of questions like:  “Can you help me understand why you feel that way?”
  6. No blaming. Use “I” statements like: “I feel hurt when you push me away.”
  7. Stay focused on the issue at hand.  Omit “always” and “never”.  Make specific recommendations.
  8. Do not psychoanalyze each other.  Save it for your therapist.
  9. Avoid ultimatums.  Work toward a compromised solution.
  10. Don’t demand an apology.  Measure results by looking at behavior rather than words.

Personal change is similar to adjusting the dial on a TV set.  A small adjustment can transform a blurry picture into a clear one. Similarly, slight changes in attitude or how we approach a disagreement can make a significant difference in how we resolve problems.  Working through our differences constructively requires deep listening and acceptance, without judgment.

Healthy relationships are characterized by mutual respect.  The primary indication of the presence of respect is our capacity to listen to each other.

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