Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

November 2023

8 Traits of Constructive Fighting For A Happy Marriage

Familiarise yourself with these eight traits of constructive fighting to better your relationship.

Fighting is often associated with negativity, but it is essential to understand that conflicts are an inevitable part of any relationship, romantic or otherwise, and can be beneficial for a relationship when handled constructively.

While your first instinct might be to avoid any or all conflicts you encounter in your relationship, steering clear of a fight or sweeping any issues under the rug may be counter-productive for your and your partner. On the other hand, if you argue with the end goal of finding a solution that works for both partners while maintaining an open communication, constructive fighting can be an opportunity for growth and understanding.

From practicing active listening to keeping your criticisms beneficial, let’s explore the eight traits of constructive fighting for a happy marriage.

1. Carefully Worded Arguments

Tania and Ayron’s Dreamy Pre-Wedding Photoshoot in Picturesque Bali by Trevo Pictures

One of the fundamental traits of constructive fighting is respect. Regardless of how frustrated or riled up you are during the fight, you and your partner should always treat one another with respect. Don’t resort to name calling, swearing or making derogatory comments as these behaviours are disrespectful and hurtful to your relationship, and does nothing to resolve the issue at hand.

Instead, learn to carefully word your arguments and disagree with respect, even in the heat of the moment. Make an effort to steer clear of toxic behaviours and language, and focus on articulating in a clear and unbiased fashion what the problem is and work towards a resolution without playing the blame game. Avoid phrases like ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ in the argument, as it feels like an accusation rather than a discussion. By doing so, you are more likely to have productive arguments that will better your relationship.

2. Empathy for one another

Nissiel and Paolo’s Magical and Touching Wedding at CHIJMES by Rylz Photography

Exercising empathy is essential to the health and success of a relationship, especially during a fight. It is easy to be tunnelled vision when you are upset or hurt and ignore your partner’s perspective, putting all the blame on him. However, that would not result in any constructive fighting, as you are only focusing on your emotional needs while neglecting your partner’s.

Instead, constructive fighting requires both partners to put themselves in one another’s shoes and look at things from their point of view. By doing so, you are trying to understand where they are coming from and the motivations behind their feelings and behaviours. Once you are able to get a grasp of their world view, you are in a better position to empathise and find common ground.

3. Active Listening With An Open Mind

Sandra and Eugene’s Intimate Wedding in Keyaki Garden Pavilion Filled with Cherry Blossoms by Iki Company

Active listening is a big part of constructive fighting because you make an effort to listen, digest, clarify and understand what is being said before responding. When couples actively listen during an argument, they focus on what is being said in the moment of time, instead of thinking of what to say in defence. This helps them hear their partner without bias and understand where they are coming from as they work their way peacefully towards a mutually agreeable resolution.

Active listening can also help slow the escalation of emotions you and your partner may feel during a heated argument. As you remind yourself to focus on listening to your partner without judgement or taking offence, you are also giving yourself time to cool down and regulate your emotions so you can respond in a calm and objective manner. Through active listening, both you and your partner can enjoy healthier fights that result in resolutions that benefit your relationship in the long run.

Active listening alone is not sufficient for constructive fighting. It has to go hand in hand with listening with an open mind. Always make it a point to leave any judgement or bias at the door before you start an argument to help you better focus on hearing what your partner has to say as you work your way towards a happy resolution.

4. Letting The Other Person Finish Before You Speak

Pearlyn and Cody’s Romantic Blush Wedding at Ramada Wyndham Zhongshan Park by Supercolerolls

Interrupting your partner halfway while they are voicing out their grievances is a big no-no for constructive fighting. Not only are you not practicing active listening, you are also disrespecting your partner by not allowing him or her to finish what they have to say before it is your turn to express yourself.

When you allow your partner to finish what they have to say, not only will you be able to get the full picture of why they are unhappy with certain aspects of your relationship, you also give your emotions time to cool down so you don’t make the mistake of responding in a defensive and hurtful manner that prevents any positive resolution from happening.

5. Only Talk About Current Issues

Amelia and William’s Dreamy Destination Pre-Wedding Adventure in Indonesia by Fire, Wood & Earth

When couples fight, they typically fight over the same things, and if they fail to resolve the issue initially, the problem will continue to snowball until it becomes a grudge that gets dragged out each time an argument occurs. When that happens, resentment and bitterness will grow and hinder any chances of having constructive fighting or positive resolutions.

For constructive fighting to happen, you have to refer and stick to the current issue you are arguing over. Refrain from using past events or behaviours as ‘evidence’ to support the current grievance. If you keep bringing up old arguments, you won’t be able to resolve anything as one argument will lead to another with no end in sight. Instead, make it a point to focus on the current grievance on hand without letting past events influence your emotions or responses.

6. Always Keep Any Criticism Constructive

Jo Ting and Ben’s Vibrant and Playful Wedding at InterContinental Singapore by The Perfect Statement

Criticisms are bound to show up in any relationship, especially between married couples since they spend the most time with each other, but they need not be a bad thing for you and your partner. Criticisms can be a gateway to improvement and a happier marriage, but only if they are voiced in a constructive and respectful way.

Constructive criticisms focus on a person’s specific behaviour, not their character, and should not be an invitation to launch a harsh verbal attack against the individual. Couples who engage in healthy fights often exchange criticisms in a respectful and productive manner that tackles the problematic behaviour in the process of seeking a happy resolution for the issue at hand.

7. Fight face-to-face, not digitally

Eunice and Jeremy’s Lively Wedding at Monti at 1-Pavilion by Freddy Wong Photography

While text messaging may be convenient and quick, having a fight over it may not be a good idea. Unlike fighting in person where you are able to pick up and interpret any verbal cues in the other party’s speech, it is difficult to decipher the tone and intention of their words when it appears in written text. Misunderstanding or misinterpretation may escalate the fight and make it worse than it actually needs to be, which can hurt your relationship.

Instead, aim to fight face-to-face. When you fight in person, you are able to hear the words and tone used, as well as see the expression and body language used. These verbal and visual cues offer a more accurate representation of the severity of the fight, allowing you to respond in an appropriate manner that will help ease the fight.

8. Fighting For The Same Side

Alina and Sean’s Romantic Pre-Wedding Shoot Aboard A Yacht by Joelle Cecilia

At the end of the day, remember that you are both fighting for the same side, not for a different side. Conflicts are necessary for couples and their relationship to grow and improve, so go into arguments with the intention to gain a better understanding and improve your relationship. If you find yourself striving to win in an argument, pull yourself back or step away from the fight to compose yourself. Remind yourself that you’re fighting towards a mutually agreeable resolution that will improve your relationship, and not towards a resolution where there is a winner and a loser.

Credits: Feature image from Amelia and William’s Dreamy Destination Pre-Wedding Adventure in Indonesia by Fire, Wood & Earth

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8 Traits of Constructive Fighting For A Happy Marriage