I’m not really a relationship expert. Hey, I didn’t get into my first serious relationship until I was 19 about to turn 20. So, believe me when I say I am still learning along the way. I’m currently dating my boyfriend who has dealt with and stuck with me for a year and four months. We are what you call polar opposites. He is seven years older, I'm a homebody he is not. He travels for a living, I barely travel. He is motivated and needs to get things done, I’m a procrastinator. He is kind of OCD and I’m more laidback. But one thing is for sure, we complement each other well.
The first months of our relationship they were as great as they could be. My sister called it the “honeymoon phase”. We rarely ever had any arguments and we both seemed to love everything we did. Our honeymoon phase lasted longer than usual but it didn’t last forever. Just when we were ready to turn one year together that’s when the troubling waters rushed in. We argued constantly and I had very little patience for him or what he did, especially because he was gone for days due to his job. Thankfully my boyfriend was extremely patient and never minimized my feelings. One day my friend showed me a meme with an arguing couple and said that was us. I realized that’s not what I wanted my relationship to be. There was so much more to us than us arguing. We did have difficult times but there were also happy times. I knew I had to change things for the better. Believe me, it’s still a work in progress just like any relationship but I’m grateful he makes it easy to love him. Here are 10 rules I’ve applied in my relationship that have allowed us to fight fair.
Don’t fight in public
Growing up I always saw my parents apply this in their marriage. They both knew that when it came to an argument it had to be between both of them and about a mutual respect. The moment you fight in public you are placing your relationship into the public eye where people will have their own judgments. Not only that but out of respect for your partner it is recommended to speak with them in a neutral and calm environment where you can express your feelings calmly. I’m not saying to pretend all is well in public but when your partner does something that you don’t like out of respect for him/her don’t call them out in public instead wait for the right time where both of you can talk calmly.
Don’t go to bed angry and sleep in the same bed if you live together
The other day I was not in the best mood and decided to not answer my boyfriend’s goodnight call before bed. However, he knew the importance of this rule and reminded me that we needed to amend things before we went to sleep. We spoke about it and cleared the situation. It was a relief to know this was as equally important to him as to me. This rule has helped us both to talk about things that are bothering us and amend things before bed so we don’t go to sleep angry at each other. Our philosophy is you never know what the next day may bring so why go to bed angry.
Have a cooling-off time
My boyfriend and I have different ways we blow off steam. I like to speak out my emotions and be verbal. My boyfriend on the other hand will stay quiet. However, we both need our cooling off time. Mutual respect for the different ways we express ourselves when we are angry is important as well as respecting our cooling off time. Implementing this rule has helped us to think before we say something that may be hurtful or will escalate the situation.
Eliminate “always” and “never”
Before implementing this rule I really struggled using the words “always” and “never”. I often used these words by saying things like “you are never home” or “you’re always busy”. What I discovered was that I really didn’t mean it. Although he works out of the state he always makes sure to come back early before the weekend so we can spend the rest of the week together. I would just say those words because I knew it hurt him. He does many things for our relationship so when I would say things like that out of anger I would just hurt him by not appreciating all the things he does for us. Now I try to appreciate what he does and avoid using these words when we have an argument.
Seek a resolution over a compromise
Instead of compromise, strive to seek resolutions. It’s easy to try and compromise when there is an issue but when you try to resolve your issues once and for all that door won’t have to be opened anymore. This rule will help you to avoid any future arguments or even feel like in order to find common ground you have to give up something.
Hold hands and remind each other you’re on the same team
Applying this rule has allowed me to understand that we are in this together. It serves as a reminder that you aren’t against each other instead you guys are on the same team. So next time that you argue with your significant other take a breather and although you might feel like screaming the heck out of your s/o this may help you calm down and remember why you guys love each other in the first place.
Don’t vent to your mom, best friend, or social media (keep it private)
I learned this one the hard way. It’s normal to vent your problems or about your relationship with people you love, friends, and maybe social media but it might not always be the healthiest. It’s important for you to know your boundaries and not make your issues be the focus of your relationship. If you do, there is the possibility that you can have an impact on how others view your significant other or your relationship in a negative way.
Pray about it more than you talk about it
On a personal level, this has been of much help for my relationship. It’s easy to focus on all the negatives of your relationship. Praying about it has been my outlet to release my emotions and seek peace and guidance for my relationship. If you’re not religious try looking for other alternatives that help you find peace in your relationship. The purpose is to surrender your problems in a positive way that will allow you to express yourself without complaining.
Don’t argue if it has nothing that will contribute to your relationship
I once was talking with my grandma and she told me the most valuable piece of relationship advice I’ve ever heard. Don’t argue if it has nothing to contribute to your relationship. I was taken aback by how amazingly easy and valuable this advice was. It's easy to find an excuse to argue but think, is it worth it? Will it help my relationship? The truth is there is nothing wrong with healthy arguing or having mild arguments. If there is something that is bothering you, that you don’t like, or it isn’t making you feel good about your relationship, the mature and important thing to do is talk about it with your significant other to find a resolution. If your significant other really loves you and respects you he/she will always consider your feelings big or small. Now if you feel a discussion about to start and it really isn’t worth it or has anything to contribute then the truth is you can just drop it and avoid that argument in the first place. It takes practice but it can be done!
Establish your own rules to fighting fair
Last but not least you establish your own rules for fighting fair. Every relationship is different but what matters in a relationship is mutual love and respect. Arguments happen all the time and there is nothing to be ashamed about. But the way you deal with them is what counts. Don’t ever let anyone mistreat you or hurt you either physically, verbally, or sexually. You matter! But if that’s not your case consider these rules to help you fight fair.