8 Ways to Fight With Your Husband So You Both Win

Adriana Velez | Aug 10, 2015 Love & Sex

It's inevitable. No matter how loving and understanding and maybe also conflict-averse you are as a couple, at some point or another you're going to have an argument. Is there a way to fight a good fight, though?

We asked relationship expert Alan C. Fox, author of People Tools for Love and Relationships, for his tips on arguing with your spouse so you both win. 

how to fight fair marriage

Image via wavebreakmedia/shutterstock; Alan Poulson Photography/shutterstock

  • Fight to Learn, Not to Defend


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    Fox says it's important to start with the intention of learning, not defending. So if one of you starts off with an accusation "You always ... ", don't come back with "No, I don't!" "That just perpetuates the argument," Fox says. Instead, he recommends you say, "Okay, tell me more." Just being heard can diffuse some of the tension right from the start and stop things from escalating. 

  • Talk Over One Issue at a Time


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    Deal with one person's issue at a time. If your husband brings up something he's unhappy with, don't counter with something that's bothering you. "If you air out all of your grievances, nothing gets solved," Fox says. "If you want a turn with your issue, bring it up later in the day or better yet the next day." Don't try to solve everything in this one argument.

  • Get Some Perspective


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    When you're caught up in the hot emotions of the moment, it can be easy to see your entire relationship in that light. But try to keep the long view in your mind. "Remember that a relationship is like a movie," Fox says. "It goes on for a long period of time. It's not a snapshot." Meaning, how you both feel right now isn't necessarily how you'll feel two hours from now or tomorrow. "Don't think the whole sky is falling when you're having an argument over something. Try and confine your feelings to the moment, and remember you'll probably feel better later."

  • Say 'I'm Sorry' & Mean It


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    Fox says he thinks of an argument like a forest fire. "It starts with a spark and can burn a whole forest down." But one way you can stop a fire in its tracks is to say "I'm sorry." In his book, People Tools, he talks about the five different kinds of "I'm sorrys." "Some are not sorrys at all. Like, 'I'm sorry you reacted that way to what I did.' That's actually criticizing someone for their feelings." Instead, when you say "I'm sorry," just leave it at that. Anything else is going to undo all the good your apology has just done.

    More from The Stir: What Your Couples Fighting Style Says About You 

  • Don't Keep Going Around in Circles


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    Another common problem in arguments is when you go around in circles, both of you saying the same thing over and over again. Fox says there's one thing you can say to get you both off that not-so-merry-go-round. "'You're really upset. What can I do right now to help you let go of being angry?'" The other person has to answer. Otherwise, you say, "Okay, I want to help you out. So you think about it and tell me when you're ready." 

  • Stop Repeating the Same Argument


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    A lot of couples have the same recurring arguments. Fox says, "You have to realize that patterns persist. It's going to be the same thing forever." So what can you do? Quit trying. When you find yourself having that same argument again, then "disconnect," Fox says. "Say, 'We've had this argument multiple times, so I'm not engaging it because we're not going to get anywhere.'"

  • Go to Bed Angry


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    It's important to choose a good time for an argument. Sometimes we get upset right before bed, or you've been stewing over something all day and want to bring it up the moment your spouse walks in the door. But don't! You should be connecting with each other at that moment, and you'll have a more effective argument if you can wait for the right time.

    But don't postpone indefinitely. Fox recommends setting up a specific time to have your discussion to make sure you actually do get to it.

  • End an Argument the Right Way


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    Once you two finally reach some understanding and resolve your issues, it's important to end on a positive note. "That's why we have dessert at the end of a meal," Fox says. "So end with something pleasant and sweet and supportive." He recommends thanking each other for the opportunity to learn from each other. 

    More from The Stir: 7 Sneaky Ways to Win an Argument With Your Husband


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