Learn to Fight Fair!

Trust is probably the most important ingredient in building an intimate relationship between husband and wife. The essence of building trust is summed up in one idea by Dov Heller, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles: Create a safe emotional space for your spouse.

Many people wrongly believe that in a good marriage, you can “relax” and do not have to monitor everything you say and do. Nothing could be farther from the truth!  In a good marriage, you must always watch what you say and how you react. This is the key to building a strong relationship and trust.

Part of building trust in your marriage is learning to fight fair! Remember that trust is something that takes a long time to build and a very short time to destroy.

Just in case you didn’t know, fighting is a part of any good marriage, Heller reminds us. Some people live with the naïve notion that in “good marriages” couples never argue or disagree. However, the real problem is not whether or not couples fight, but how they fight.

If you fight unfairly, then you destroy trust. If you fight fairly, you build trust. Here are a few important pointers to make sure that when you fight, you fight fair:

  1. Never resort to name calling or put-downs.
  2. Keep to the issue at hand. Never bring up old stuff that may be unresolved. The present fight is not a license to dump all your old garbage.
  3. Never use phrases that are absolutes such as, “you never” or “you always.”
  4. Never bring the other person’s family into the issue to support your case or to attack your spouse’s.
  5. Agree beforehand on a method how to take a time out if one of you feels that the fight is getting out of hand.
  6. Don’t start a fight later in the night, when you’re both tired and therefore more likely to have less control over your emotions.
  7. And again, do your best to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements, which feel like attacks.

If you found these tips helpful, please read the complete article, How To Build Trust in Marriage, or visit Dov Heller’s website, Clarity Talk.

feature image from winewriter