Couples are bound to get into arguments, disagreements, and if not resolved properly, it can easily escalate into fights. Albeit stressful, fights are normal, and it will always be part of healthy and strong relationships. But when it is allowed to go out of hand, it can definitely hurt your marriage. Since these disagreements and fights are inevitable, it’s best to know the rules of fighting fair. Because even if these fights do not bring out the best in both of you, there are ways on how you can turn fights into opportunities for strengthening your marriage. Here are some tips on how you can fight fair:

1.    Stay in control.
Your resolve to find a resolution can easily fly out the window if you let anger get the better of you. For conflicts to be resolved, avoid name calling, blaming, and other degrading words because it will only put your partner in the defensive. When your fights have reached this level, it is very easy to reach the “point of no return“, or what is simply the point when you will both begin to fight irrationally. Remember that you don’t need to shout or to act hostile to emphasize a point because it may only make things worse. Get the point across by stressing your views in a respectable manner because doing so will set the stage for meaningful discussions – one that can definitely help resolve conflict.

2.    Stick to the present issue.
Although this may sound easy, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Bear in mind that you will only complicate things if you keep on bringing back past issues.  Focus on the issue at hand and try to live with the fact that life should not be about rewinds.

3.    Forget about winning. Sometimes it’s easy to entirely forget about finding a solution if you are so bent on winning. Fights are not opportunities for both of you to become self-righteous or even vindictive because in the end, it’s all about making the partnership work.

4.    Call a time-out when necessary. Time outs do not only work for kids because it can be an effective tool for adults too. When tempers begin to flare, call a time-out.  This strategy is useful in keeping tempers down, and it can also give partners the opportunity to examine their thoughts and feelings. Clear heads are required to resolve a fight, so never attempt to fix the problem when your minds are too clouded with anger.

5.    Never fight in front of the kids.
Kids can easily get traumatized if they get to witness their parents fight all the time. Spare them from the emotional trauma by choosing the right time and place for fighting. Although you may need somebody to share your frustrations with, your kids aren’t emotionally ready to grasp adult concerns yet. So when you feel the urge to let the kids choose sides, bite your tongue and deal with these feelings appropriately.

6.    Apologize when the need arises and learn to forgive and forget.
Mustering the strength to ask forgiveness and mastering the ability to forgive and forget are perhaps the best kept secrets in many successful marriages. When your partner has shown signs of regret, and he is being apologetic, do not react by playing hard to get. Allow him to get out of the fight with dignity, as you would also prefer if the situation were reversed.

There is no easy way in resolving conflict because both parties will have to sift through different emotions before a win-win solution is reached. Learn the lessons from the past, but let go of the pain that it may have brought. Marriage does not guarantee happy ever afters, so be humble enough to admit mistakes, compromise, communicate, and work together like real partners do.