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YourTango.com recently posted a great article by Dr. Margaret Paul called “Do You Have The Same Fight Over and Over?” about why couples can sometimes resolve conflict easily and why other times resolving conflict seems completely impossible. From the article:

As long as avoiding pain is more important to you than being loving to yourself and your partner, you will be closed and protected and the conflict cannot reach a mutually satisfying resolution.

Dr. Paul says, “If you are stuck in resolving conflicts, let go of the issues and look at your intent. I assure you that when both of you are open to learning about yourselves and each other, and want to support your own and your partner’s highest good, you will be able to easily resolve your conflicts.”

Read the article HERE.

Fight Better, Fight Fair

YourTango is a digital media company dedicated to love and relationships. They recently posted an article about fighting fair – something we at The Law Collaborative have been talking about for years.

“Many couples wish for no more arguments but what they really need is just better conflict resolution.”

After you check out their article, come back here and re-read our Rules for Fair Fighting. Fair fighting will change your relationship with your spouse for the positive, whether you’re in a divorce or happily married.

Rules for Fair Fighting

Everyone disagrees sometimes.  In fact, a relationship that avoids conflict may be unhealthy. A healthy relationship does not avoid conflict, but uses it to clear the air productively, without hurt feelings.

Here are fourteen rules for fighting fair:

1.  Take Responsibility. It may take two to argue, but it only takes one to end a conflict. Make a commitment to never intentionally harm your partner’s feelings.

2.  Don’t escalate. The most important commitment you will make to fair fighting is to overcome any desire to speak or act hurtfully.

3.  Use “I” speech. When we use “you” speech, it is often perceived as accusatory.  Instead, talk about your own feelings: “I feel hurt when I hear that.” This may prevent defensiveness, as it’s hard to argue with a self-report.

4.  Learn to use “time out”. Agree that if hurtful speech or actions continue, either party may call a time out.  The three elements to a successful time out are:  1.) Use “I” speech to take responsibility, such as, “I don’t want to get angry.”  2.) Say what you need: “I need to take a walk to clear my head.”  3.) Set a time limit: “I’ll be back in 15 minutes to finish our talk.”  These steps will keep either of you from feeling abandoned.

5.  Avoid and defend against hurtful speech. This includes name-calling, swearing, sarcasm, shouting, or any verbal hostility or intimidation.  Agree to a key phrase that indicates hurt feelings, such as “That’s below the belt.”

6.  Stay calm. Don’t overreact.  Behave with calm respect and your partner will be more likely to consider your viewpoint.

7.  Use words, not actions. When feelings run high, even innocent actions like hitting a tabletop may be misinterpreted.  Use “I” speech to explain your feelings instead.

8.  Be specific. Use concrete examples (who, what, when, where) for your objections.

9.  Discuss only one issue at a time. If you find yourself saying, “And another thing….,” stop.

10.  Avoid generalizations like “never” or “always”. Use specific examples.

11.  Don’t exaggerate. Exaggerating only prevents discussions about the real issue.  Stick with facts and honest feelings.

12.  Don’t wait. Try to deal with problems as they arise — before hurt feelings have a chance to grow.

13.  Don’t clam up. When one person becomes silent and stops responding, anger may build.  Positive results are attained with two-way communication.

14.  Agree to these ground rules.

Remember, when you both agree to common rules, resolving conflict is more likely.  Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to fight fair, we simply can’t resolve a conflict.  When this happens, talks with a trained professional may help.  We are always available to assist you when you are unable to reach a resolution you can both live with.

The family law lawyers at The Law Collaborative, Los Angeles, is dedicated to providing useful tools like these to assist couples in managing conflict, resolving issues, and preserving families.  Please visit our website for more tools and resources.

Fair Fighting

We are pleased to announce that we are celebrating our One Year Anniversary as “The Law Collaborative!” Although Ron and Robert have been practicing family law for a sum total of more than fifty years, we are excited to celebrate the First Anniversary of The Law Collaborative, LLP, formed by Ron and Robert with the stated aim of ‘Bringing Peace to the Legal Process.’

As a celebratory token, we offer you some insight on Fighting Fairly.  Is there a such thing?  There is.

The Seven Rules for Fair Fighting

1. No physical violence or verbal/emotional abuse while engaged.

2. No cursing, name calling, or vulgar language.

3. Agree to take turns.  Listen, take notes, and do not interrupt.

4. No lying or exaggeration, as in “You always…,” or “You never…,” or “I’m the only one who ever…”  Such statements are useless, untrue and frustrate problem solving.

5. Use the Time-Out, rather than walking out of an argument. If you need a break because you’re getting too emotional to think clearly and observe the Rules, ask for a break and agree on a time to resume. Maintain civility and decorum at all times.

6. No ultimatums or threats. For example: “This has to stop, or I’m calling your mother about this!” Don’t threaten as leverage to win the argument.

7. No bringing up the past; keep the conversation looking forward.

Remember, the point of Fair Fighting is not to win, but to respectfully discuss issues with your partner until you are able to reach some understanding and achieve a fair solution.

Also, we are very excited to be hosting our first Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for Women this Saturday, May 8th, 2010.  Ronald Supancic, Attorney at Law, will be discussing the options for divorce.  Renee Leff, LMFT, a featured speaker, will be addressing the emotional issues in divorce.  Irene Smith, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, will be discussing the financial issues within divorce.  The cost of the workshop is only $45.00 if you pre-register, and $50.00 at the door.  Call our toll-free number to register! (888) 852-9961 or email IG@TheLawCollaborative.com.