This episode is about more than your typical list of do’s and don’ts when fighting with your partner. This is about doing what it takes to have a better relationship with someone you love and care about, and creating emotional maturity that will serve you in ALL your relationships! Enjoy!
Hey, everybody. Thanks for joining me. I’m so glad that you’re here.
Today, we are going to talk about fighting fair. And this is a topic that’s been on my mind for a while. And I, keep getting a little bit of uh, I keep coming up with different ideas about it, like, oh, should I focus on this angle of fighting? Should I focus on that angle of fighting? And honestly, there’s a lot of things I could cover. There’s a lot of things. First. You have your normal list of dos and don’ts.
Like, do respect your partner. Don’t call names. Don’t go to bed, angry. Things like that, right? Like, that traditional list that everyone puts out. And that’s all good, right? Things that you, you want to not feed the argument and make it worse, and then start arguing about things that you weren’t really arguing about in the first place.
But what I discover with uh, arguments is that once the emotions kick in, it starts to feed itself. And it’s not so much that we don’t know how to fight fair and we don’t know how to treat our partner with respect and love, it’s that when our feelings are hurt, when we get emotional, we kind of chuck all the rules. All’s fair and love and war, especially when you’re at war with the one that you love, it seems.
So I figure what I would do here is just talk about a little bit about what is going on when you argue, like, what is happening. And just let you know that nothing has gone wrong. That what’s happening is just a reaction to you seeing things that aren’t the way you want them to be, or you’re afraid things that are the way you want them to be are going to change. And they’re going to change. Excuse me, they’re going to change for the worse.
It’s the reason BEHIND the reason for the arguments.
And then we start beating ourselves up and tearing ourselves down and getting into shame that we shouldn’t be arguing. We shouldn’t be feeling like this. And I think that feeds into the argument as well. So I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t argue, you shouldn’t fight, you should never disagree. I’m not gonna tell you that.
And honestly, if you’re a couple who… you never fight, you never disagree. I have to question does that mean that one of you is being inauthentic or maybe both of you at one time or another and, and that’s fine. You don’t have to always be completely honest with each other. But is that working for you and do you feel calm about it? Do you feel good about it? And if you do, and that’s how you want it and you love it, great! Don’t change. I’m not here to tell anybody that they need to change.
What I am here is to tell you that if you’re reacting, if you’re getting upset and you’re arguing, it’s okay. And I have a little bit of a thing with my mouth. So some words are hard for me to pronounce… arguing is one of ’em.
Uh, Ok, I lost my track here.
Okay. So you are allowed to get angry. You are allowed to have emotions and to get upset. Honestly, there’s no rules. Ha… That’s probably gonna be an unpopular thing to say. There’s no rules when you’re arguing.
What rules there are, are the ones that you have for yourself and for your partner and the rules that they have for themselves and for you.
For instance, if my partner argues with everything that I say, and I can never get a word in, and there’s a problem, even stating my opinion about anything. Then I have to take a look at, is that working for me? And do I need to make a change in my relationship? You know, whether I decide to stay with this person or not.
That being said, I am now talking to those of you who you want to stay with your partner. You want things to work out. But what you’re finding is that you don’t like how you are being in an argument. You don’t like that you react suddenly and you get super angry and you’re judgemental and critical, and you’re just throwing your opinion around like it’s fact. And you don’t listen to your partner and the argument gets worse and worse, and then they’re upset, you’re upset and you don’t talk to each other for weeks.
But you don’t like it being that way and you want to be able to fight fair and settle the argument. You wanna come to some kind of an agreement. You want to get past the hurt feelings and create a better home life for both of you. Okay? That’s who I’m talking to right now.
All right. So what’s going on with you when you react to something that’s, like I said earlier, that you’re committed to it being either different than what it is, or you’re committed to it staying as good as it is and not having something bad happen to it. So Just notice that that’s what’s happening.
I realized. Yesterday. In fact, I had a different story planned for recording this, but something happened yesterday where I had made a menu and I had planned out what we were gonna have this week for meals. I knew that what I had bought for groceries so far was gonna last for a certain day. And then on that day I would go get more groceries. I had it all planned out.
And then I’m sitting in my office and I smell… it didn’t quite smell like smoke… but you know, it had kind of that smokey smell to it. I thought, what’s going on? So I hopped up, I went downstairs and my husband was home and he was barbecuing.
And I thought, what the heck? What’s he doing? I’m making dinner pretty soon. And he said, oh, I thought I would help you and get dinner started early. And of course he wasn’t cooking what I had planned to cook, and I instantly got upset. And I felt this reaction in my body of no, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. That’s not how this is supposed to work.
And I just felt angry towards him. So I just stopped and took a little breath. like, what exactly am I upset about? The man is fixing dinner. And I want to acknowledge that it’s not bad that I got upset. That was just a reaction from my body. I don’t ever want people to tell themselves “I shouldn’t react this way. I shouldn’t get upset.” because reactions happen.
Where we wanna get to with our emotional maturity is to be able to manage or modulate those emotions when they come up and to understand where they’re coming from and why they’re happening. And in this case, I wasn’t mad that Joe was cooking dinner.
Basically it was just my thoughts telling me “this is a problem”.
My brain was saying, “oh no, everything’s gone wrong. It’s all gone sideways. The plan isn’t working like I wanted it to. Time to get mad.”
And as soon as I realized, I was just upset because my plan wasn’t being followed and I have a commitment to things being planned out… to our food working a certain way… to not eating out as often, and realized that’s where my anger was coming from .
I was like, “oh, okay”.
So what’s left to do then? You don’t want to just roll over and be like, “oh, it’s fine. It’s totally fine. Yeah. I’ll just change the menu. No big deal.” Then we start getting into the world of not being authentic… of people-pleasing… of not sharing things that impact us.
If I spend time on a menu and he does something differently. Sure, I’m grateful that he cooked dinner, but there’s a request to be made because I did spend the time doing it. And I would like to have my plans honored or at the very least check in with me and see if it’s a problem for him to change and cook something different.
So the request that I have for him was “if you’re gonna not follow the plan, can you at least check in with me and see what the alternative is or what we could do differently?”
He’s sweet… and he’s busy. And he is… the difference between Joe and I is. He’s the big picture guy. Dinner needs made. Boom. “I’m grabbing this food. I’m cooking it.”
And me, I’m the detail person. “Oh, well, I can’t cook this today because if I cook this today, then I’m not gonna have this tomorrow. And if I don’t have that tomorrow, then I’m gonna have to go to the store an extra day. And, oh my gosh. We’re so I’m not sure what to cook for dinner.”
Meanwhile, Joe is grabbing something outta the fridge, like, all right, dinner’s ready. And he’s got it done. And normally we work together and he reminds me of the big picture, what the big goal is. And I help him see the details. I love try to lovingly point out the details. Maybe not always so lovingly, but that’s often where our disagreements come from.
He has an idea of how things are supposed to be. I have an idea of how things are supposed to be, and they collide. so then it’s just a matter of me taking a look at myself. Why am I reacting the way that I’m reacting? What is it that I think should be a certain way? And it’s not, and vice versa. What’s he reacting to? Am I understanding why he’s upset?
Sometimes he’s upset because I get so upset with him and I don’t manage myself and I don’t check in to see what’s actually going on with me and I just get mad at him and he feels like. “Wow. I was trying to do something nice here and now she’s mad at me.” So then he feels upset.
Fighting fair to me means you’re authentic with each other.
You tell the other person the impact on you without expecting them to change or be a different person. That that’s not the point of this, but it is about noticing what it is you actually want. What it is you are actually committed to. What do I want to have happen or not happen? And am I communicating that clearly?
Because if we go around pretending we’re upset that Joe made dinner, it’s just not being authentic. I’m not sharing my real feelings. We’re missing out on true connection. But if I share with him that I’m upset that I wasn’t in control and tell him that, then he can understand, “oh, that’s why you got upset. You weren’t in control of what was happening.”
And that was the authentic thing.
Okay. I hope you got something from this. I hope that you see that you don’t have to make yourself wrong for arguing. You don’t have to make yourself wrong for getting upset. Just check in, see what’s going on with yourself and determine why you are actually upset.
And a lot of times it’s because you don’t have control of the situation or because things aren’t happening the way that you want them to, or vice versa, they’re happening in a way that you don’t want.
Okay. Everybody have an awesome week and I will talk to you next week.