You’re in the Fight Club, so learn how to fight

Posted on August 18, 2010


Are  you in a healthy long-term relationship? Are you happily married? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then congratulations. You’re members of an exclusive club: The Fight Club.

Regardless of what society may insinuate or what your mother-in-law tells you, healthy relationships have conflict. (The couples who proclaim that they never fight are the ones who worry me.)  It’s a natural phenomena: the closer you are to someone, the more conflict that will ensue.

I mean, seriously. Do you really think you can wake up next to the same person every day, share a bathroom and a television remote with them (and perhaps even some offspring) and believe there won’t be any fighting? Exactly. That’s just not realistic.

There’s nothing wrong with fighting with the person you love.  That is, if you know how to use your membership in the fight club wisely.

What? you may be thinking. I’m part of a club and there’s no handbook? No rules? No secret handshake? I know. We haven’t been given a lot of information about the Fight Club so below I’ve outlined the guidelines to your membership:

1. As a member of the Fight Club, I understand that I have a right to fight with my significant other at times. I understand that this does not mean one or both of us is flawed but that conflict is a natural and healthy part of being in a relationship.

2. I accept responsibility for my words, my actions and my emotions. If I feel that I am getting angry in a fight beyond reason, it is up to me to separate myself from my partner until I’ve calmed down. If I do not practice enough self-awareness and say or do hurtful things during a fight, it is my responsibility to apologize and make amends despite what the other person may have done or said.

3. I understand that name-calling and bringing up issues from the past is counterproductive.

4. Even when upset, I will practice listening and speaking with empathy. I will first attempt to understand the other person before trying to make myself understood.

5.  I accept that my anger is my problem and no one else’s. It is up to me to resolve my own emotions and dysfunctional thinking; others are not responsible for the way I feel or for my negative thinking patterns.

6. I will honor myself and my boundaries in a fight and will state my opinions openly and honestly. I will not downplay or sugarcoat how I feel or what I would like to see happen.

7. I will try to find a win-win solution for both of us to end this fight. I will compromise for a win-win but I will not compromise my whole self or things that are very important to me.

8. If my fighting with my partner is constant or if we cannot find a compromise to an important issue,  I will seek help from an outside party.

9. When our fight is resolved, I commit to doing something that restores a sense of love and safety in my relationship.

Remember, if done well, fighting can be a healthy way to actually grow closer to your significant other. If you adhere to the guidelines mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to an even happier union and who knows what else? Perhaps VIP status in the Fight Club as well.