Do you fight fair? Tips 11-15

Are you starting to understand that conflict is normal? It is how you handle it that is important! Have you tried any of the tips so far? Here are 5 more to help: 11. Remember this isn't a competition. Having a win/lose mentality will only hurt your relationship and break down the connection and intimacy you have with your partner. This mind set actually creates two losers, not just one. There is no room for comments like, "I told you so" in fair fighting.

12. Focus on your feelings not the other person's actions. Use "I" statements as much as possible. When feelings can be the focus of the discussion, you are able to avoid the he said/she said cycle. No one can argue with your feelings. Also be open to your partner's feelings during the discussion. Never tell someone how they should feel or that the way they feel is wrong. You completely invalidate their perspective when you do this. Your partner's feelings are part of their reality. How someone feels should not be argued about. Be careful with this one though. Make sure you discuss actual feelings- not just thoughts or opinions. For example, saying "I feel like you are being critical of me" is not a feeling. Saying it like this often leads to your partner getting defensive. Instead, say something like "I feel attacked". Just because you use the words "I feel" doesn't mean it is an actual feeling.

13. Strive to be heard when you are communicating. Practicing active listening skills can lead to better understanding of what your partner is trying to communicate. It is good to repeat what you hear your partner saying once they are done to ensure the message has been heard correctly. Everyone wants to be heard and feel that what they have to say is important and valuable.

14. Never assume what your parner is thinking or feeling. It is good to ask them first before believeing your assumption as truth. It is also important to not predict what your partner will say or do in a situation before it happens. This could cause you to enter the discussion ready to fight and defend yourself, which may cause unnecessary reactivity in your partner.

15. Try to look at the issue from your partner's perspective. Doing so does not mean you give up your stance or agree with them, but just be open minded to other ways of thinking. Being stubborn and controlling could create a stand off or resentment which will get you no where.

Tomorrow Joleen will be sharing 5 more tips. We hope this is helpful and would love any comments or feedback from you.

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.