Many marriage experts will tell you to ‘fight fair’ when arguing with your mate. But where’s the fun in that? How can you be the winner if you’re busy focusing on how your spouse is feeling or the long term effects? Here are 7 great strategies to help you be the winner of that marital spat – no matter what the topic!
1. Saint-self strategy: Start out all sentences with “I always” or “I never.” Immediately your mate will be on notice that you are the victim and, while you usually endure such martyrdom quietly, you have reached your limit. Examples: “I always am the one to empty the dishwasher” or “I never leave dishes sitting in the sink.” Your mate will be so busy trying to think of times when you did not empty the dishwasher or you did leave dishes in the sink, that you’ll have time to finish your tirade and exit before they get a word in.
2. Demon-you strategy: This is a variation of the saint-self strategy, but flipped upside down. Every sentence starts with “You always” or “You never” followed by the egregious act you want to focus on. Be quick with the attack. Be clear on how they never get it right and get out before they are able to come up with a contrary example.
3. Noisemaker strategy: This one’s fun. Once you have laid out your side of things, they may have the audacity to respond. If so, squelch their speech with dramatic noises such as smashing dishes, stomping loudly out of the room, and slamming the door behind you. Not only will you blot them out, you’ll have reminders of your dramatic rightness – broken dishes, a door hanging by one hinge – for weeks to come.
4. Toilet paper strategy: This strategy takes advance preparation. Keep track of any mistake your spouse makes by jotting it down on a roll of toilet paper. Nothing is too petty to make note of. Keep it rolled up and at the ready. Next time you’re in a tiff and your spouse is making good points, grab that toilet paper and start reading in a loud voice as you unroll. This clearly demonstrates to your mate that even though you might be in the wrong at this given moment, petty-scorekeeping indicates that overall they are ‘wronger.’
5. Tried and true strategy: This is the ever-popular silent treatment. You’re wrong? Make them regret pointing it out (which is the same as winning) by refusing to talk. Now don’t go amateur on me here – we’re not talking about keeping quiet for an hour or two. Unless taken to bed, you can’t be sure the rift will be deep. You hear snoring? Bounce around the bed until they wake up – how else will they be aware you are still not talking to them?
6. Comeback kid strategy: Are they starting to make sense? Distract them with name-calling. “Oh yah? Well you’re a . . . ” That should take the conversation in a different direction.
7. Blast the crass strategy: This is good if you’re just plain wrong. Spew out a string of angry expletives – something you couldn’t say in church or in front of your momma. It needs to be hurtful enough that it renders them speechless. Hey, a win’s a win, right?
Using these great strategies will help your mate understand that you live on a one-way street – your way. If you choose to act contrary to this advice, I will not be responsible for your boring-short-lived spat nor the fact that you won’t have an excuse to buy new dishes any time soon.
We can probably agree that the best marital spat is the one that doesn’t happen. Check back next week for tips on how to avoid fights before they start.
Do you have a fight-winning strategy? Tell us about it in the comment section below.