Stop Fighting in 30 Days

Week 1: Eliminate Open Warfare

He piles his dirty underwear in a heap that's taller than Mt. Rushmore ...

He complains when you buy new shoes, but has no qualms about buying a new golf club for himself ...

You've been telling him for ages that you've seen rabbits with better foreplay skills ...

Millions of couples throughout the world are ringing their hands and each other's throats over issues like these. Conflict and the angry feelings that go with it are inevitable in marriage. It's how a couple handles angry feelings that determines whether or not their relationship will endure. The sad fact is that the majority of couples who wind up divorced report that they loved each other dearly at one time. So what went wrong? The answer is simple: Bitter arguing and unresolved conflict erodes love. When conflict arises, most couples resort to faulty fighting tactics -- what I call "Fight Traps." Fight Traps are divided into two categories: Open and Secret Warfare. This week, I focus on Open Warfare Fight Traps, which throw oil on the fire, and cause tempers to flare and discussions to cycle out of control.

Identifying your Fight Traps is the first step toward eliminating them.

When a "discussion" blows up in your face, the natural tendency is to head for opposite corners with your dukes up. In this adversarial atmosphere, no productive discussion occurs and your issue remains unresolved. When your hot topic resurfaces, you are angrier than the last time, which means that you pull out even stronger guns -- more dirty Open Warfare Fight Traps. While you may feel "released" in the moment that you are shooting your ammunition, you are driving yourselves farther and farther from any hope of resolving your issues. When you dump raw fury on your mate, you are shooting yourself in the foot for two reasons: first, your mate won't be receptive to you, which means that your needs are going to remain unheard, and second, the "dumpee" feels enraged and gets even.

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