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How To Fight Fair In A Relationship - Using The 3-Minute-Rule

Do you often find you and your partner end up yelling at each other?
And want to know how to fight in a more fair and productive manner?
And stop needless arguments escalating out of control?

The ironic thing about yelling at your partner (whether its you that's doing the yelling or your partner doing it) is that even though the act of yelling is the loudest way to communicate something, it’s usually the LEAST effective way of getting the meaning of a message across.

By that I mean, is that when you end up in a shouting match together, it becomes more about power and control over the other persons and “winning”. Because of this barriers are thrown up ...and you don’t really get to the meaning of the problems themselves. 

So in this article, I want to go through a technique that will allow you to "fight" in a fairer manner ...where you can both get to the meaning, thoughts and feelings behind what you’re actually fighting about. Because it’s these things we need to unearth if progress is going to be made in your relationship problems as a couple and in saving your relationship.

The 3-Minute-Rule Technique

When a couple is having problems, the main reason that conversations can end in shouting matches is because one or the other of you BUTTS in to challenge what the other person has just said. This stops the other person from fully getting to the point of what they are saying and expressing what they really want to express about the issue.

A shouting match then ensues.

What I want you to do is sit down as a couple and agree to give the other 3 minutes of expression time to let their feelings and grievances out without interruption by the other partner. This might sound straight forward but if you’ve developed a habit over time of not being able to let something be said without one of you having to butt in, the chances are that the same will happen here.

However, by setting a definite RULE beforehand that one of of you is going to talk for 3 minutes without interruption, it will block this natural habit (that may have developed over-time) from interfering with what both of you want to say. Without this rule, the temptation would be there to interject on something the other person has just said (even if it was to interject briefly). 

I call this rule - the 3-minute-rule. 

Fighting Fair Also Encourages More Opening Up

The 3-minute-rule technique forces one person to keep quiet (rather than yelling at their partner) which in turn can cause the person talking to open up more than they otherwise would do …because they know they are free to do so without the other butting in and undermining what they are saying.

This is how to fight fair in a relationship. And its FAR more productive than trying to yell your point across. 

Use a stop watch to enforce the rule, and when one partners 3 minutes are up, let the other begin talking then without interruption. Limit your first instance of this technique to 30 minutes in total ...and then go your separate ways to cool down and contemplate on what you both said to one-another. You can agree to do another 30 minutes the following evening.

Doing this forces you to see the others perspective because you can't shout over them. It will seem frustrating at first ...but it will allow you to see further and further into your problems and seeing where they really stem from. Only when you know where a problem STEMS FROM, can you actually begin work on tackling it.

But This Is NOT A One Stop Solution

This technique is designed to allow you communicate your true feelings to the other person. If, for example, a person constantly gives out about their partners spending habits, allowing the person to expand on this for 3 minutes at a time is more likely to get the person to open up more about why this is bothering them.

At face value, it might seem like they’re annoyed at all the money their partner is spending. What might get lost however, is that their partners spending habits also bothers them because:

  • It’s making them wonder if their partner isn’t happy about their life and are using shopping as a coping mechanism of some sort.

  • It’s making them wonder if their partner doesn’t respect them anymore because they tell them to stop but they wont.

  • It’s making them wonder if their partner doesn’t love them anymore because they tell them to stop but they wont.

  • Will one or more of the children pick up on this habit if they see one of their partners doing it.

And basically any other number of variables. Here we’ve gone through a number of reasons WHY a problem might bother someone …not because of the problem in and of itself, but because of side issues surrounding the problem. These side problems can often be the real cause of someones conflict but if they are never brought out in the open, their partner may never become aware of them.

This is what the 3-minute-rule technique will help bring out in the open in your relationship. At least at this stage, you will be able to begin to understand one another better and allow for a thorough examination and a more healthy communication to take place on the issue or issues at hand.

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