10 Relationship Rules of Engagement to help your relationship to survive a disagreement
Why Do We Need Rules?
The military, the police, professional boxers, and martial artists, all must adhere to rules of engagement in their respective zones of conflict. These rules define what the acceptable use of force is.
If the military used nuclear weapons every time they wanted to achieve success, ultimately no one would survive. Similarly, you can’t “go nuclear” on your partner during a fight if you want the relationship to survive.
Rules of engagement are important in your relationship to create a sense of safety. When you know that no matter how heated your argument gets, your partner will not throw the meanest words or nearest object at you, you can engage with trust.
What Are the Rules?
In my book, Fix Your Partner in 10 Easy Steps or Less, I explain why we fight, how it happens and what to do about it. Right here and now my objective is to give you a specific set of rules that you and your partner can agree on, as a goal for your relationship.
It is true that how you and your partner treat and respond to each other will dictate much of how it feels to be in the relationship. It is equally true that how you treat and respond to each other during an argument will have a lot to do with your relationship’s long term success.
The following rules will help create the trust that is the foundation of a safe environment in which to disagree. They are written as promises you can make to each other.
The 10 Relationship Rules of Engagement
1. I will not raise my voice
2. I will not interrupt or talk over you
3. I will not criticize or call you a mean name
4. I will not issue an ultimatum in the heat of a fight
5. I will not blame you for my own behavior or reactions
6. I will not walk away before agreeing on when I will talk again
7. I will not threaten to leave, separate or divorce when I am upset
8. I will take ownership for the hurt I contribute to and apologize
9. I will work to avoid being defensive or justify my actions
10. I agree to keep the discussion focused on the topic issue