Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to Fight Fair - Guest Post by Seye Oke

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You come home on a Saturday evening from a night out with your girl friends and you meet your husband seated on the couch. The TV is blaring so loud he can barely hear you come in. You come over and he welcomes you with a peck on the side of your face. You didn’t mind the brevity, he is usually this way when the game is on.

Tonight his favorite team is playing and it is a few minutes to half time. They are a goal short so you know better than to disturb him. You walked into the kitchen and was met by an unfriendly sight. Your kitchen sink is filled up with dirty plates, empty canned drinks littering the worktop. The dustbin is filled to the brim with papers and wrappers from junk food. No one needs to say a word, you already know what happened. Which was why you left the house for some much needed time out in the first place. The ‘boys’ were over to watch a match earlier and in their typical style they emptied your kitchen of all the goodies and left the mess for you to clean up.

You can feel the anger rise in you as you try not to count how many times you have voiced your disapproval to your husband. Not like you have anything against his friends coming over, you only wish they would tidy up to a reasonable extent before they leave. You husband calls out to you from the living room, “honey I know we made a mess in there but I’ll clean up when the game is over”.

You would have been content with his offer but you remember how many times he has made this declaration without cleaning up eventually. This somehow always landed on you lap and you always cleaned up the mess. But not this night, you’ve just about had it, if they could eat up a storm they should clean out the mess. You storm into the living room and just as you were about to start your tirade your brain overtakes your emotions and you pause to reason.

What is the best approach to this? Lash out at him while he is trying to watch the last few minutes to half time? Or hold your peace till half time and ask him to join you clean up until the games starts again? The last option sounds fair and would guarantee little resistance. But what about you? You’ve spent a great deal of energy outside the house and you need to rest right? Why clean up for them? Is it because it’s your ‘role’ as the wife or is it because you would rather just do it and let peace reign? What should you do tonight to register your displeasure so it doesn’t happen again and at the same time solve the problem in the most civil way?

Relationships are hard work and it takes a lot of sacrifice and giving. It’s all about giving, giving and giving from both parties. The best relationships happen between two individuals who have mastered the act of fighting fair, fighting with the aim of solving problems in a loving manner. This has nothing to do with being the doormat in the relationship and allowing your partner walk all over you. No, it is about being heard and hearing the other person without being condescening or breaking trust. There will always be misunderstanding in a relationship and that’s guaranteed.

The only way around this is to ensure you and your partner come up with your rules of arguement that ensures everyone fights fair. My husband and I have a few we try to follow, not always successful but we try. One of our rules of argument is simple – never raise your voice at each other no matter how heated the argument gets.

What about you, what works for you and your partner?


About the author

Seye Oke is a published author and resident blogger on Her latest book, A Time to Heal was honored as a finalist at the International Book Awards. Seye enjoys reading and loves to spend her time quietly with her family. Follow her on twitter @seyeoke. You can find out more about Seye and her books from her Facebook page.


  1. This is just what i need....been alot of fights lately where no one's willing to lay their guard down,and it just keeps growing...pls could we get more rules....def applying the no shouting one...thanks!

  2. Agreeing on rules of argument can be useful. However, isn't there the chance that a couple could end up having waaaaay too many rules to even remember?
    I hope when I'm in that situation, mutual respect guides us to fight fair.

  3. Relationships are hard work and it takes a lot of sacrifice and giving.
    There is nothing like perfect marriage that is why your so right in the term fighting fair.
    What works for me and my husband is approching the given situation in a more calmed atmosphere.
    it give us time to gather thought and opinion address the issue with the proper word without causing more injury.

  4. I completely agree with fighting fair. keeping rules simple and short is very important. The question to ask is what do we do (or not do),say(or not say) during those heated moments that leaves us upset and totally unyielding and un-understanding? If one is able to identify them, then you could set rules along those lines. For instance, my wife doesnt like it when we raise our voices during arguments(i can be very loud!), and i do not like to be interrupted while i am expressing my displeasure. So as a rule, I try(very hard)not to raise my voice when we argue over a matter, and she(my wife)tries not to interrupt me when I am expressing my displeasure.

  5. What works for us, one person has to keep quiet and wait patienty for the other to finish expressing his or her sef before u talk back, that way while your listening u can also have time to think carefully bafore u ans back

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    1. Hello Lynne, I do accept guest posts. Please contact me via the contact me link at the side. Cheers.

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