Here's What Happens To Your Relationship When You Learn To Fight Fair

According to a Stanford study, 70% of relationships between unmarried partners fail within the first year. Why this is the case, of course, is up for interpretation. One likely component is the way conflicts are managed. There is no relationship devoid of disagreements. How these differences are handled is of the utmost importance to the relationship's outlook. Many partners struggle to find a balance between sacrificing their own needs to keep the peace and standing up for their beliefs in a way that could offend their partner.

Many people grew up in homes in which healthy interpersonal conflict resolution skills weren't properly displayed. Maybe you witnessed one parent overpowering or mocking the other or practicing stonewalling, which is considered one of the "four horsemen of the apocalypse," according to John Gottman of the Gottman Institute. Stonewalling involves shutting down, withdrawing, and refusing to interact with your partner. It is sometimes referred to as the silent treatment.

These less-than-ideal examples during childhood result in adults entering into relationships with no idea how to tackle conflict in a healthy, respectful, productive manner. If your relationship is struggling because of the way you and your partner react to disagreements, it's time to learn how to fight fair. Here's how it can help protect your relationship and how to get started.

The benefits of fighting fair

Conflict, when handled appropriately, is an opportunity for both personal growth and growth within your relationship. When a disagreement occurs, the goal should always be to resolve the issue at hand, not to win the argument. Once you can adopt this mindset, you will see a huge change in the way you view fighting, your relationship, and conflict in general. Making this switch and arguing together for a common cause leads to open, assertive communication and effective arguing, which makes your relationship ten times more likely to be classified as a happy one, as reported by The Guardian.

Couples who engage in solution-based — rather than blame-based — arguing are nurturing their relationship whether or not they come to a solution, according to Psychology Today. The act of hearing each other out and connecting respectfully in a highly emotional moment will have a positive impact on your bond, regardless of the outcome of the argument.

How to fight fair

In the heat of the moment during a fight, it can feel very challenging to stay focused on the issue being discussed and let go of the feeling of winning or losing. According to Long Island Psychology, it can help to ask yourself just what winning a fight with your partner will get you. Most of the time, the answer is a fleeting sense of superiority that costs you your dignity and your partner's trust.

The next time you feel a discussion turning into an argument, immediately define the issue out loud to your partner. Approach the issue that is coming between you as a team. It's the two of you against the disruptor and your mission is to find a solution that will serve as a fair compromise (via Hey Sigmund). The more often you work together — instead of attacking each other — to solve problems, the easier it will become to associate conflict with a resolution instead of with the negativity of fighting against one another.