Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mom Talk #15: Fight Fair

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for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{

Dearest Children of Mine,

Yesterday, we talked about being generous in your relationships.  Even in the best and most generous relationships, though, there is the occasional fight.  Today I'd like to talk about how to fight fair.  Have you ever wondered what's the goal of a fight?  The goal of a fight is to win the fight, right?  Or maybe to school the other person and teach them a lesson?  Actually, there's a better answer. The goal of every argument should be greater intimacy.  If done fairly and well, your conflict should help you understand each other better, deepen your relationship and bring you closer together.  Here are some rules for having a fair fight.

Time it right

Timing is everything, isn't it?  It applies to arguments, too.  If the outcome matters - and it should, if you're going to the trouble to argue - it's worth it to make sure your timing is right.  Wait until you have complete privacy.  And if possible, choose a time to talk when everyone is rested, no one is hungry, and you can give your full attention to the subject at hand as long as you need to.

Seek First to Understand

You may recognize this wisdom from Steven Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  Your first task in an argument is to understand the other person's perspective.  Empathize - do your best to understand what the other person is feeling and what they're saying.  Look for where you are wrong.  No one is completely right in an argument ... there is always something you can learn.

Watch your language

Be mindful of the fact that your language will either inflame or calm the argument.  Keep yourself from raising your voice.  Don't use profanity, and don't use provocative words like "always" and "never".  These words put the other person on the defensive and can pull the argument down unproductive rabbit trails.

Stay on topic.  And only one topic.

You may be tempted to bring up old offenses, but don't.  When you pull in past issues, the argument breaks down rapidly into a negative rehearsal of past hurts.  Keep your focus on the present issue.

Don't attack character or name call

Calling names and attacking character damages the relationship.  Keep in mind that your goal is to work toward resolution of an issue.  Name calling and character attacks don't help.

Honor & affirm the other person, even though you're angry

Give the other person the gift of your confidence and trust.  Operating with confidence of unconditional love provides a safe place to be honest, and that brings deeper intimacy.

Never threaten to leave

Never insinuate you'll leave, and don't bring up divorce in an argument with your spouse.  Comments about leaving create insecurity, undermine your relationship, and weaken trust, and the necessity to rebuild that trust once the argument is resolved is a difficult task you don't want.

The best thing you can do in an argument is to make sure the fight itself doesn't do more damage to the relationship than the original offense.  Follow these rules and you'll not only get through the fight,  your relationship will be better on the other side of it.  Next, we'll talk about making a good apology.

for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{
thanks for reading!

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