Learning To Fight Fair

Since there's conflict in every romantic relationship, learning to fight fair just might be the most important lesson any couple can master.

I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

You know, there's a real difference between healthy and unhealthy combat in marriage.And everything depends on the way disagreements are handled. In an unstable marriage, hostility is usually meant to hurt and it's often directed at the soft underbelly of the partner's ego with comments like: "You never do anything right!" and "Why did I marry you in the first place?" and "I think you're getting more like your mother everyday!" These words strike at the very heart of a mates self-worth.

On the other hand, healthy conflict remains centered on the immediate problem at hand. For example: "It upsets me when you don't tell me you'll be late for dinner." Or: "I was embarrassed when you made me look foolish at the party last night." Can you hear the difference? Even though the subject matter might be equally emotionally intense, the focus is on the specific problem in the relationship and not on what you perceive as a basic personality defect of your mate. When couples learn this important distinction, they have the freedom to disagree and work through conflicts with their dignity still intact. I'm Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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