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Please note that the words “fight” and “fighting fair” are used below to mean expressing one’s disagreement or anger to another constructively. At no time should physical harm be considered “fighting fair.”
1. Know your own feelings. Seek to grow in self-awareness. Being in touch with your own true feelings is essential before you can constructively handle anger or conflict.
2. Anger is an emotion – neither right nor wrong in itself. There is no morality to feelings. Try to understand what prompted the feeling. Morality comes into play when you take a destructive action as a result of a feeling.
3. Negotiation and compromise are essential in any marriage. During a calm, clear moment agree that neither partner should “win” a fight. If one wins, the other loses and builds resentment. In effect, both have then lost because the relationship is damaged. Even when one spouse is wrong, permit him or her salvage self-respect.
4. Cooling-off periods. Establish ground rules that permit either partner to “cool off” before trying to resolve anger. It may be necessary to walk or engage in some other physical activity in order to allow anger to dissipate. Such a period can allow a spouse to identify the issue more clearly and organize his or her thoughts, thus keeping the fight more on focus.
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