Rules for constructive fighting

1. Don't try to avoid confrontation at all costs, try to approach it openly.
2. Don't start an argument just before you are supposed to go to bed or somewhere else.
3. Don't argue in front of other people, especially children.
4. Take the fight seriously and do not discount the importance of what is being discussed.
5. Avoid irony all together.
6. Do not hit below the belt and attack your partner's relatives, friends, work or hobbies.
7. Do not over-generalize (avoid "never" and "always" statements).
8. Do not threaten with breakup or divorce as a means of intimidation.
9. Try not to overreact and keep things in perspective.
10. Announce that you want to fight or discuss a touchy issue.
11. Define clearly what you are fighting about.
12. Examine if there are underlying issues.
13. Don't bring any up old conflicts or any new unrelated issues.
14. Stay focused, and learns when enough is enough.
15. Tell your partner clearly what is on your mind including your emotions.
16. When arguing, do not attack your partner's character, criticize specific behaviors.
17. Don't make assumptions and quick interpretations of your partner's motives.
18. Rephrase your partner's points in your own words.
19. Try to understand how your partner sees the situation.
20. Put yourself in her/his shoes.
21. Ask your partner for his version of the story and listen with an open mind.
22. Understand that your partner has the right to see things differently, and even if her/his view of
the situation seems skewed, his/her feelings are real.
23. Paying your partner a compliment or expressing your appreciation for something s/he does well
goes a long way.
24. Praise your partner - tell him/her what you like about her/him.
25. When you get too furious, or when the argument gets out of control, take a break.
26. When you take a break set a specific time (max couple of hours).
27. Admit your own mistakes.
28. Sleep together in the same bed and don’t split.
29. Take responsibility for your own actions. Your partner will become less defensive when s/he
sees that you are not blaming everything on him/her.
30. Be open to suggestions. Try to view the arguing as an opportunity to grow.
31. Do not withdraw prematurely by apologizing, pretending to agree with your partner's stance or
accepting blame and responsibility for something you haven't done.

32. Some issues just can't be solved in one fighting session. If you encounter such a
complex issue (such as infidelity or power struggle), make sure that you both
understand that the topic will have to be addressed again and again. Set a schedule
and declare a cease-fire in between.

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