Fair Fighting Rules

Remain respectful of each other to strengthen the relationship.

  1. Remain respectful of each other to strengthen the relationship.
  2. Be mindful of the time and place for discussion.
  3. Define the problem – Be specific and List the ways you each contribute to the problem
  4. If you don’tdo well with the first 3 steps take a “TIME OUT!” Relax / Calm down if fight or flight is triggered and you are being defensive.
  5. Use “I”statements and identify what you were thinking, feeling and what your needs / desires are: (i.e. I was thinking…and feeling… when …happened. What I needed was …)
  6. Listen with an open mind and do not commit “Fouls” such as name calling, blaming and excuse making;
  7. Use active listening skills by paying attention to non-verbal(s), give eye contact, turn the TV off and attend to what your partner is saying;
  8. Avoid criticism; if you must criticize, balance it with at least one positive comment (i.e. “I appreciate how you… In the future can you remember to also …?”
  9. BONUS – IF YOU DON’T DO WELL AT ANY OF THESE STEPS AND YOU WANT TO TRY AGAIN…SEEK FORGIVENESS AND GRANT FORGIVENESS!

To pursue forgiveness

  • Say what you did wrong recognizing you injured or was hurtful to partner
  • Empathize with the pain he/she experienced and try to understand from his / her perspective
  • It’s ok to be responsible for your actions
  • State you will work on not doing the behavior again
  • Ask for forgiveness and apologize
  • Forgive yourself
  • To give forgiveness
  • Recognize your pain or injury
  • State your expectations and boundaries
  • Don’t entertain “getting even”
  • Release the anger you feel and any other negative feeling towards your partner
  • Express forgiveness and offer it to your partner

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