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Dr. Romance Happiness Tip: How Not to Fight

Posted Sep 30 2010 12:00am
Dr. Romance  writes:

Myths and Expectations about Fighting:

There are many myths and expectations about fighting in marriage. Couples come into my office frequently believing that fighting is a necessary part of being a couple; that all married couples fight; and it’s a normal part of marriage. But the fact is that fighting accomplishes nothing, and it isn’t necessary for couples to argue, to yell, or to have heated discussions to get problems solved. Hanging on to these ideas makes it difficult to let go of fighting.

Some of the most prevalent myths about fighting are:

*Myth #1: Fighting clears the air, and brings out the truth.

Fighting is not necessary to "clear the air." Getting heated up does not make you tell truths you wouldn’t tell otherwise. What happens when couples fight and get emotional is that both parties say things they don’t mean, or say them in much nastier ways than is really true. It is possible to discuss anything that is or is not happening between you in a calm and logical manner that will lead to more truth telling and air clearing than fighting and arguing will ever accomplish.

*Myth #2: Within your family, it’s OK to "let it all hang out" – to be as emotional as you want, and say things you’d never say to a friend or a boss.

Whether you’re fighting or not, (or drunk, or upset) you’re still responsible for everything you say and do. The hurtful or mean or outrageous things you say will be remembered by your spouse or the other family members who hear them.

*Myth #3: Fighting just happens, you can’t control it.

You always have a choice about your behavior and how you express yourself. If you’ve developed a fighting habit, or never learned to control your temper, you may need to do some work, but you can learn to behave differently.

*Myth #4: My wife (or husband) makes me do it. He (she) yells first.

No one else is responsible for your behavior. You are not responsible for anyone else’s words or actions. You can always choose not to yell back, to speak calmly, or to leave the room. Your partner cannot fight alone.

*Myth #5: Any time we get angry, it’s natural to argue and yell.

Arguing and shouting is not the only way to express your anger. It’s just the most dramatic way. As a matter of fact, it’s the least effective way to reach a solution for whatever is making you angry. 

Squabbles often occur because you’re following automatic habit patterns that lead to a problem before you know it. Using these guidelines will help you overcome negative habit patterns you may have built that lead to arguments or bickering. © Tina B.Tessina, 2010 adapted from:  Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage

 MoneySexKids galley cover


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