They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village.

- Diane Sollee,

Fair Fighting Rules

Avoid Communication Stoppers

Only 1 issue can be fought over: “Well, yeah, but last week you….”
No hitting below the belt: “You’re just like your mother!”

No name calling, labeling, or insulting: “Selfish jerk!”

No mind reading: “You don’t love me. If you did, you’d…. or What you really mean is…..”

No generalizing: “You never listen to me!” “You never do any chores!”

No digging up past history or fighting old fights: “You did the same thing two years ago…”

No gunny sacking: “I’ll blow it off for now” (and then bring it up in a fight)

No colluding: “If I don’t do it, he might think I don’t love him” or “If I say something, it might hurt his feelings” – instead, be honest NOW!

Threatening or overkill: “If you don’t start cleaning up I’ll leave you!”

Disguised as Jokes (sarcasm): “What can you expect from a woman.” Or “Sure it’s normal to wash dishes once a month!”

Relationship Crushers

Withholding: “You wouldn’t be interested.”

Countering: “You don’t know what you’re talking about”

Discounting: “You’re too sensitive”

Blocking and Diverting: “Stop your complaining”

Accusing: “You’re trying to pick a fight”

Judging & Criticizing: “You just can’t leave well enough alone”

Trivializing: “You’re getting upset about nothing”

Undermining: “Nobody asked your opinion”

Forgetting: “I don’t know what you’re talking about”

Ordering: “Get in here and clean this up”

Denying: “I never said that”

Abusive Anger: “Get out of my ****** way!”

The Assertive Message

“When you __________ (leave dishes in the sink) I feel _______ (irritated, unappreciated, frustrated, mad, etc.) Because ___________ (I just cleaned up the kitchen, etc.) I want/would like you to _________ (clean up after you eat).”

Judith L. Sloan-Price, LCSW, Austin marriage counselor and psychotherapist. Email or call (512) 922-2256.

June 2008, Austin, TX.

Judith Sloan-Price, LCSW

Judith Sloan-Price, Austin LCSW
For appointments, email for fastest response times:
Phone: (512) 922-2256
Fax: (512) 336-9351
Office Address:
6904 Fireoak Drive
Austin, Texas 78759