It’s no secret that married couples fight. Regardless of how long you and your spouse have been together, you will disagree with one another from time to time. But did you know that it’s possible for couples to fight a “good fight?”
Couples often come to us to ask how to have a good fight. It seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t couples aim to avoid fighting instead? Not necessarily. The truth is, working through conflict can actually make your relationship stronger.
4 Essential Components of a Healthy Fight
There are several essential ingredients that couples must have to navigate disagreements in a healthy way. We call them the CORE of a good fight. Let’s get into what that means.
C = Cooperation
If cooperation doesn’t exist in a relationship, you’re in for some difficult times. But when you and your spouse can cooperate as a team, you are more likely to fight well, too. You’re on the same team, and it’s important to remember that. Navigating conflict isn’t about who “wins;” it’s largely about how well you cooperate even when times are hard.
O = Ownership
Ownership is all about each of you owning responsibility for your part in the conflict. There’s no place for finger-pointing in a good fight. Instead, you’ll both need to be willing to look objectively at your own role in the problem, and take the necessary steps toward positive change.
R = Respect
Treating one another with respect will go a long way, especially during a fight! When emotions are high, it’s easy to lash out at one another or behave with contempt. But those behaviors further wound the relationship, making it harder to recover from the initial conflict. Instead, maintain a respectful attitude and that will pay dividends toward healthier conflict resolution.
E = Empathy
Finally, the fourth essential component to a good fight is empathy. This is our ability to walk in each other’s shoes and see one another’s point of view. It’s tempting to jump to conclusions and turn inward, only thinking about our own perspectives during a fight. But opening your understanding beyond yourself will help you consider where your spouse is coming from.
Healthy Disagreements Can Strengthen Your Bond
It takes practice and intentionality to fight a good fight. Conflict can sneak up on us, creating high stress and reactive responses before we realize what has happened. We’re human, so this will come up from time to time. The important thing is to work toward a healthier dynamic with each disagreement.
Once a couple has learned to fight well, they’re automatically at an advantage. Why? Because their relationship is now more resilient to life’s inevitable obstacles. As you go through life together, you’ll find that healthy fights can build confidence. Conflict is challenging, but when you can envision yourselves stronger on the other side, you’re that much more likely to fight well.
Whether you fight seldom or often, the CORE principles apply. If you need a helping hand to guide you toward healthier conflict, we’ve created a guide for you. It’s called The Good Fight, and it’s packed with tips for resolving conflict in a healthier way. You can pick up a copy here.
Do you and your spouse fight well? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
thanks for sharing. excellent insights.
These four items; cooperation, ownership, respect and empathy really are the CORE necessity to a healthy constructive fight. When used together you are building new skills for resolving conflicts. New skills help you to be objective, see your spouse as a team member, not the enemy, see where you need to change. Then make it safe to talk the vulnerable feelings that can lead to conflict resolution. It must be safe to use vulnerable feeling words, or couple will not resolve conflict. If conflict is not resolved couples will not thrive.
There conference was so amazing on this subject.