THE BLOG

Relationship Advice: Fight Fair!

09/05/2013 04:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 05, 2013

Everyone fights. If a person claims he or she never argues in their relationship they are either lying or they are lying. Disagreeing and arguing and fighting in your relationship is inevitable. But here's some relationship advice: the difference between happy and unhappy couples is the way the couple handles their spats.

What starts out as bickering can turn into shouting, insults, name calling, and cruel remarks, which can turn into pouting, days on end of not speaking to each other, and ultimately, the choice to permanently split up. Or, the two of you can handle it in one of these 10 ways that will keep your relationship the best it can be!

1. Listen to each other: So often, when a couple is arguing, each one is so intent on getting his or her point across that they refuse to listen to the other person's side. It's very difficult, but give your spouse the courtesy of letting him or her speak.

2. Keep your voice low and controlled: I'll be the first one to admit that when I have an argument, my voice rises by several decibels. Shouting is not only a waste of energy, but it sets the tone and the argument just gets worse. Plus, it scares kids.

3. Take a little breather: If the two of you have been trying to work out an issue for awhile and it's just not going anywhere, there's nothing wrong with a little breather. When I say breather, I don't mean break up and start dating other people. Simply going to a movie by yourself, or going out with friends is a great way to take a deep breath and think more clearly. Chances are, once the person is "out of your face" your memory will recall some of the things you love about him or her and you can go back home (or get together) and settle your disagreement more easily.

4. Always remember who you are talking to: Fighting can bring out real feelings of disgust, anger, frustration, and even hatred. Remember that if you are with the right person, he or she is also your best friend, no matter what. You are supposed to be nicer to that person than anyone else on earth. No matter how much anger you are feeling, try to remember that.

5. Hug him or her if he or she says something you agree with: I once had an argument with my boyfriend that lasted for a few days. Every time we'd try to talk about it, things seemed to get worse, and our views seemed to be getting wider and wider apart. Finally, I said something that resonated and he just grabbed me and hugged me, and said "You finally said something that makes sense to me!" From that moment on, our guards were down and we were able to communicate so much more effectively. That was the turning point that helped us work it out.

6. If you owe an apology, say "I'm sorry!" Why are people so afraid to say those two words? People have so much respect for others who are willing to own up to things they've done that weren't nice or that were wrong. It will get you very far. Trust me.

7. Agree to disagree: Not every argument is solvable. At some point, you can agree to disagree. There's nothing wrong with accepting something if you feel okay with it. In other words, you don't always have to convince your spouse to agree that you are right. Who cares??

8. Have a no bad language or name calling rule: Using four letter words and derogatory language is just setting you up for years of resentment. Both men and women do not forget those things so quickly.

9. Have sex: Physical contact really helps regain closeness and intimacy. It renews the bonds of love. Sex won't solve all your issues, but it really does help people feel a sense of love and closeness.

10. Laugh! This is my favorite tip. If you can find humor in your fight, that's the best. Think about how insignificant so many fights are! Lots of times, if you start laughing, or make a joke, and then say, "Why are we fighting? I love you and I'm sorry, let's just have fun tonight," your spouse will take your lead and follow, and you'll end up making up at that moment.

There are exceptions and there are deal breakers, of course. If someone just told you he or she cheated, or if they physically abuse you, I don't think a laugh or having sex or agreeing to disagree is an effective method for ending the fight. But for so many fights, these tips really do work!

Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE about life after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously.)