Below are some fair fighting rules intended to help couples have difficult conversations while still maintaining emotional safety:

  • Before entering the conversation, identify what you are feeling and what caused you to have that feeling.

  • Taking responsibility for your feelings by using “I” statements (i.e. I feel nervous when you raise your voice at me).

  • Do not use degrading or offensive language.

  • Be specific and concise. Discuss one issue at a time.

  • Take turns talking without interruptions.

  • Do not stonewall or shut down.

  • If necessary, take timeouts. Timeouts are necessary… BUT there is a difference between walking away and taking a timeout.

  • Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal language (i.e. no yelling or posturing with yours hand across your chest).

  • Try to negotiate or come to a compromise where both partners feel heard and validated.