Being able to communicate openly is the key to any happy and successful relationship. How open are you? Let’s face it, there are bumpy roads in all relationships but fighting fair is the best way to keep the lines of communication open and prevent a molehill from becoming a mountain.
1) Don’t speak without first taking a moment when you are upset. If you must wait a day or two until you have cooled down then so be it. You don’t want to wind up saying something that you will regret and can’t take back.
2) Don’t harbor resentment for unaddressed or unacknowledged past feelings. Figure out exactly what the argument is about. Is the problem that the ice cube tray didn’t get filled or is it that last week your partner came home late and you were left feeling hurt and worried?
3) Don’t use “YOU ALWAYS” or “YOU NEVER”. Always and never bare negative connotations and automatically put your partner on the defense because they come across as accusatory. Be sure to say “I feel” such and such. Quite frankly your partner doesn’t feel that way, you do.
4) Don’t waste time you and your partner have together. There are things worth arguing about and things you should just let go. Reserve arguments for the things that are most important to you so issues of importance will hold more weight.
5) Don’t hold your partner accountable for the things your last partner did to you. This is not your previous partner.
6) Don’t fight if you or your partner has had a couple of cocktails. This is a sure way to have a full blown fight instead of being able to rationally negotiate.
7) Don’t make idol threats. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Should you blurt out “If you do it again I’m leaving you”, then you better be ready to pack otherwise when you speak your words will have NO value.
8) Don’t fight or argue in public, it’s not cool. Your friends and or family will become uncomfortable, stuck in the middle or worse yet not want to spend time with either of you.
9) Don’t be rude and disrespectful to your partner. If the two of you are best friends then treat each other as such.
10) Don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking. You are not a mind reader. If there is something truly bothering you speak up and be honest, your partner can’t read your mind either.
11) Don’t name call. This is not only childish it is completely unacceptable.
12) Don’t treat your partner in a manner that you yourself would not want to be treated. Hold yourself to the same standard of behavior you are expecting from your partner.
13) Don’t be afraid to be the first one to apologize. Saying you’re sorry for hurting someone is not a sign of weakness it is actually a sign of strength because you were unafraid to go first.
Bonus rule: Don’t be afraid to laugh, laughter is the best medicine even if you are laughing at yourself.