Are you a team even when you are fighting? This is the ninth episode of a series on Getting Ready for Marriage. In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky discusses the importance of fighting fair in relationships.
IN THIS PODCAST
Why I am doing this series on Getting Ready for Marriage?
I had a wedding photographer reach out to me asking me to provide some tips for couples getting married. I created an entire checklist for her with the things I think are foundational for getting ready for marriage and starting off your marriage on the right foot. If you want the checklist, you can download it here!
An example of dirty fighting.
Hey, everyone welcome back to the communicate and connect podcast. This is Episode 29 on how to fight fair in relationships. So today is all about how to fight fair in relationships and I am thinking right now about a fight that I witnessed about a year ago. There was a couple where it was a guy who was bringing up a concern that he had. I can't remember what their fight was about, but I remember the female partner responded and just said, "well if you don't like it then you can leave". And I was thinking to myself, "okay, I don't really like how their fight is going".
It doesn't feel like a very fair fight to say "whatever you don't like, if you don't like it, you can just leave". There's no room for negotiation in that. In the above example, the woman didn't even hear what his concerns were.
And so today I figured let's talk about how to fight fair in relationships. This is probably something that's pretty important as you're starting out your marriage because you want to build up a habit of trying to fight fair. This way you don't build up these like really negative fighting habits that then later on have to then try to fix and repair. Let's just try to get it down from the beginning. So we'll talk a little bit about like some qualities that are related to fighting poorly, and what are some things that are qualities of fighting well and fighting fairly, and then I'll give you some of my tips for how you could do this.
Qualities of dirty fighting.
Qualities of a bad fight, or fighting in an unfair way include:
Qualities of fair fighting.
Make a claim about what you want instead of blaming your partner, it's a claim not to blame"
Tips to fight fair in relationships.
Action Items for Communicate & Connect Episode 29: How to Fight Fair in Relationships
So my action item for everyone today is to practice DEAR in at least one conversation. I would practice an easy one. You know when I teach this to people in therapy, I often tell them to start by asking for salt because that's really easy. "I noticed the salt is over there (Describe). I would really like the salt (Express). Could you pass it? (Assert) That would make me really happy. (reinforce)" That's such an easy way. You just wanna start practicing the template/ format of using DEAR and then that'll make it easier and easier to use in more difficult conversations. So find one thing (not the biggest, most painful topic in your relationship!) that you could use to make a request of your partner. Use DEAR as the format for that conversation and then let me know how it goes.
Liz's Useful Links:
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Thanks for listening!
Elizabeth Polinsky is a marriage and couple therapist specializing in working with military members, veterans, and their families. Liz is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and provides online counseling services throughout Virginia, Nevada, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
My podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are general information for educational purposes only; they are not psychotherapy and not a replacement for therapy. The information provided does not constitute the formation of a therapist-patient relationship. You should consult your doctor or mental health provider regarding advice and support for your health and well being. I cannot answer questions regarding your specific situation. If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, you should call 911, report to your local ER, or call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Nothing I post should be considered professional advice. The information in my podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not intended to be therapy or psychological advice. The podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from clients regarding counseling. If you are a current or former client/ patient, please remember that your comments may jeopardize your confidentiality. I will not “friend” or “follow” current or past clients to honor ethical boundaries and privacy; nor will I respond to comments or messages through social media or other platforms from current or past clients. Current and past client’s should only contact me through the professional contact information provided on the website. Lastly, accounts may be managed by multiple people. Therefore, comments and messages are monitored by staff and are not confidential.
The Communicate & Connect Podcast
In Communicate & Connect For Military Relationships, I provide educational tips for relationships, communication, and navigating military family life.
Hey, I'm Elizabeth "Liz" Polinsky and I am a marriage counselor in Virginia Beach. I provide online counseling across the states of VA, SC, AR, and NV.