First of all, don’t fight if it means you fight dirty. Instead, argue or disagree. But don’t fight if you have to pull out all the stops to defeat your partner. Remember, you’re with this person because you love him. Because you believe in him. You may not always see eye to eye, but fundamentally, you trust his judgment. So maybe, when he disagrees with you, he might have a point. You owe it to him and to your relationship to exercise some empathy and listen to his point of view.

How To Fight Fair Nancy'S Counseling Corner

When you do disagree, and everyone does, here are some tips:

Choose the time and place. Be cognizant of when and where you’re having your discussion. Try to stay out of emotionally charged places like the bedroom. Instead, find a neutral spot, like the living room. And choose the time, too. Avoid late at night when you’re both tired. Or when you’ve had too much to drink. Or when you’re hungry. When you are deliberate about when and where you have your discussion, you reduce the chances of heated exchanges that you later wish you didn’t have.

Structure your debate. Schedule about a half hour, or enough time to cover the issues but not too much time to allow you to stray off-topic. Divide the time fairly—a third for your partner, during which time you are not allowed to speak. Only listen. Then a third for you to talk and your partner must listen. Then a third for mutual dialogue when you both have an exchange about how you might solve your problem. Or you may decide to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Listen. Listen. Listen. Be completely present. Do not mentally write your grocery list while he’s talking. Do not be thinking how you’re going to respond when you get a chance to talk next. Just listen. Open your mind and heart and absorb what he’s saying. When he’s finished, repeat what you heard and ask him if that’s a fair assessment of the ideas he was trying to get across.

Be brave and true. Sometimes it takes courage to dig down and find the truth. And it takes even more courage to speak that truth to your mate. But it’s important to tell your partner how you really feel because you value yourself and you value your relationship. If you feel you have to hide something it will no doubt fester and become detrimental to your relationship. Better to get the truth out. If you try to placate your partner with what you think he wants to hear, you will be perpetuating a dishonest relationship and that will not be good for either of you in the long run.

Remember you love your partner. He’s not perfect, but then, neither are you. Accept that he has his foibles. Accept that no two people can think alike on all subjects at all times. Accept him and love him for who he is, and vice versa. Do not posture or pose but be your authentic self. And remind yourself of how much you value your partner and your relationship.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: