how to be assertive

What kind of fighter are you? Do you bring up past hurts and grievances and hurl them at your partner, or do you simply walk away from fights, refusing to engage at all? Are you

how-to-fight-fair-in-marriage-thumbnail-2 What kind of fighter are you? Do you bring up past hurts and grievances and hurl them at your partner, or do you simply walk away from fights, refusing to engage at all? Are you a right-fighter, always having to “win” arguments with your spouse? Do arguments typically escalate into full blown, knock-down drag-out wars, or one where you end up giving in just to keep the peace? Do you know what you’re fighting about, or do arguments over money tend to drift into fighting about the in-laws too?

Common reasons why couples fight include money, in-laws, sex, children, housework, jobs and friends. Conflict and arguments are inevitable in all marriages, but how you fight and how you end an argument can determine the long-term success or failure of your marriage. If done correctly, dealing with conflicts in your marriage by understanding how to fight fair in marriage can actually help and strengthen your relationship.

The differences between men and women in personalities, and the differences in upbringing, is reason enough for conflicts and arguments to occur in marriage. Conflicts signal that something is wrong in the relationship and it needs to be addressed, adjusted or corrected, in a way that both the husband and wife leave the argument feeling heard, understood, accepted and respected.

A primary requirement for any fight is to maintain control. Having an argument with your spouse does not give you license to be childish, abusive or immature. Disagreements are going to occur, and you are entitled to give constructive and reasonable voice to legitimate feelings and concerns, but you don’t have the right to be self-righteous, vindictive, controlling or selfish in how you fight.

How to Fight Fair:

dont-fight-in-front-of-the-kids-thumbnail-2 Take it private and keep it private. Fighting in front of your children is nothing short of child abuse. Not keeping in control of your emotions will scar your children emotionally, and does not provide them the proper role model of how to fight fair as they mature. Resist the urge to discuss relationship problems with friends, family or in-laws, as this will be seen as a betrayal of trust and makes getting along with in-laws more difficult.

Venting your spouse’s negative behaviors to parents, family members or friends is not only immature, but it creates a building resentment toward your spouse since friends and family are not around when you’ve made up and resolved the issue, and it doesn’t make you look very good either.

Keep it relevant. Don’t bring up past hurts and grievances that happened months or even years ago. Put boundaries around the subject to be discussed so that the fight doesn’t deteriorate into a free-for-all. If you are angry about something, say so in an assertive and respectful manner using “I” statements to convey your feelings.

If the argument becomes heated, or if your spouse is unwilling to discuss the problem at that moment, schedule an agreed upon time within 24-hours to have your fair fight. Pick your battles; if you are angry about something but haven’t discussed it with your spouse within 48-hours, let it go and move on.

No name-calling. Fighting fair leaves no room for character assassination, using endearing terms and pet names with a sarcastic and demeaning tone only adds fuel to the fire and is very hurtful to your spouse. Don’t use words like “always” and “never” during arguments, as these sweeping statements to condemn your husband or wife will only aggravate the disagreement into a full-blown explosion.

Don’t threaten your spouse or condescend with statements like, “Just try it and see what happens!” or “You shouldn’t feel that way”, as using such deadly weapons in your marriage is a sure sign of immaturity and leaves your mate feeling ridiculed and insecure. Treat the problem as “our problem” rather than his or her problem, so that neither is left feeling attacked or blamed for every fight that occurs in the marriage.

Listen and learn. Discuss various options and ideas that both have contributed to the discussion, choosing and trying one or more ideas that both can accept. Don’t be a dirty fighter by sitting in wait for the idea your spouse recommended to fail, just so you can say “See, I told you so”.

Evaluate and adjust the options as needed by asking, “How are we doing in our effort to save money for vacation? How close are we to being able to buy the new car? Do you have any new ideas of how we can…?” Just as you want your spouse to see things from your point of view, be willing to see things from his or her perspective as well, thereby developing greater teamwork and accountability together.

Fighting about money. One way to avoid financial arguments is to agree on one joint household account for dealing with monthly bills, vacations and family-related expenditures. Both should also have separate bank and credit accounts, as women commonly have a love-hate relationship with money, but need to know how to achieve long-term financial security should the unthinkable occur and her husband dies or there is a divorce.

If one of you is better at paying the bills and saving money, then agree on that partner assuming the primary role. Regardless of who manages the bills, both husband and wife need to know and regularly discuss bank accounts and balances, bills and debts, investments and retirement plans, etc. (A friend of mine unexpectedly lost her husband last year, never knowing anything about their financial situation or having credit in her own name, and she is now dealing with the aftermath of enormous debt).

Make it a win-win fight. Even if you think you are right and your spouse is wrong, allow your partner to retreat from the fight with their dignity intact. How an argument ends is crucial to the health and longevity of the marriage, perhaps coming in the form of a sincere apology and hug. Give your spouse the reassurance that despite the fact that you will disagree from time to time, you are in this marriage for the long haul and you love him or her, and that you will not give up and leave the marriage before you’ve really tried to make it work.

What further ways would you recommend and suggest on how to fight fair in marriage?

Related Posts:

How to Get Along With the In-Laws: Dealing With In-Laws and Extended Family
Keeping the Fire Alive in Your Marriage
How to Spice Up Your Marriage: Fun and Easy Ways to Add Romance to Your Marriage
Understanding Assertiveness: Getting the Respect You Deserve
Inside the Minds of Angry, Controlling and Abusive Men
Why Are Women So Strange and Men So Weird?
Relationship Deal-Breakers: Non-Negotiable Boundaries
What Does it Mean to Leave and Cleave in Traditional Wedding Vows?

Categories: Abuse, Children, Divorce, Family, Friendship, Health, Marriage, Men, Parenting, Relationships, Women – Tags: differences between men and women, how to be assertive, How to Fight Fair in Marriage, managing conflict in relationships, reasons why couples fight

Have you ever felt as though you were a human doormat? Has your self-esteem and self-confidence ever been so low that you began to believe the negative things people would say to you or about you? Are you a People Pleaser? Does fear of hurting someone’s feelings keep you from communicating in a way that ensures your rights, needs and personal boundaries are respected?

Were you abused as a child in some way? Did fear of physical abuse cause you to grow up without the ability to express your true feelings and needs to those you come in contact with? Have you ever been in an abusive relationship or been married to an abuser?

If you answer Yes to any of the above questions, it’s time we have a chat about learning how to be assertive, how to change your negative self-talk, understanding assertiveness and developing the communication skills needed in order to be shown the respect you rightly deserve.

A Bit of Background First

Anyone who has followed this blog from its inception knows that I was brought up in a controlling and abusive home, where various forms of “punishment” often left me and my brothers battered and bruised, feeling as though no one in the world really cared about me, especially my own family. Ironically, I also grew up in a “religion” that added weight to the controlling and abusive tendencies I suffered as a child, with religious teachings being used as a weapon to keep me and other members of the church organization feeling threatened and afraid of leaving the religion or my marriage. But not anymore.

I got married for the first time at the ripe old age of seventeen, thinking and believing that Mr. Wonderful had come to rescue me into a life of marital bliss free of abuse, only to become a victim of domestic abuse after only six months of marriage. Children that are abused often grow up to marry an abuser no matter how hard they try to avoid it, unable to see the signs of abusive relationships until it is too late. Add to it the religious pressures to conform, and you have yourself a very serious situation on your hands, just as I did. But not anymore.

For me to say that I understand what it means to have low self-esteem, feeling as though your thoughts, feelings, wishes, dreams and desires don’t matter one little bit to anyone, is because I DO understand. I used to that person. But I’m not anymore. I’m here to explain to you how I changed my negative self-talk to become an assertive, self-confident (not aggressive) person, and how you too can and need to learn how to be assertive, and how being assertive greatly improves your personal and professional relationships.

Your Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence Matters

Regardless of how you developed such a low level of self-esteem, that you are often too afraid to speak up for yourself, you have the power within you to change it. I’m not going to suggest that it’s an easy thing to do, because it takes a lot of effort and determination to put aside the negative self-image, but it is doable. I’m living proof. If I can do it, so can you!

One of the most important, and possibly one of the most difficult things to do in changing your negative self-talk and developing assertive communication, is the need to let go of the past. Hanging onto the past, as opposed to letting go of built-up resentments and pain, staying in a victim state of mind, does nothing but keep you spinning in never-ending circles.

Assertive Communication Skills

After many years spent researching different forms of communication styles, it would be pretty easy for me to discuss the three basic forms of communication:

  • Assertive
  • Passive
  • Aggressive

However, I prefer to leave discussions about passive and aggressive communication styles to those with the college degree and experience in mental health to handle. It’s important to understand that assertiveness and aggressiveness are NOT the same thing but are often referred to as being one and the same.

Understanding Assertiveness and You

Assertive communication is the ability to speak and interact in a manner that considers and respects the rights and opinions of others while also standing up for your own rights, needs and personal boundaries.

To be assertive, you must learn to use “I” phrases to express your feelings and beliefs in a straight-forward and respectful manner with those you communicate with, while also respecting the right of others to have a different opinion or viewpoint.

  • “I” feel we need to… x,y,z.
  • “I” need you to… x,y,z.
  • “I” want to… x,y,z.
  • “I” feel hurt when you… x,y,z

Dealing with difficult people professionally or personally (or even with those we meet online), can often be challenging. Many people believe they have the right to be downright blunt and harsh in how they communicate with others, but by using assertive communication techniques when dealing with such people, we can maintain our personal boundaries in how we will or will not be treated by others, and at the same time show respect towards others (even if their behavior may not seem so deserving).

Do you have a personal experience with learning how to be assertive to share? Are you struggling to find your own voice in speaking up for yourself? Do you have suggestions for people still battling with self-esteem issues? Please consider sharing your thoughts by leaving a relevant comment below for our readers. With all due respect that is.

Further Reading-

How To Hide Money From An Abusive Husband

Categories: Abuse, Children, Dating, Family, Friendship, Health, Marriage, Men, Parenting, Relationships, Religion, Teenagers, Women – Tags: abusive relationships, aggressive, assertive communication tecniques, assertive communicaton styles, child abuse, domestic violence, how to be assertive, passive, self esteem