Wow, this thread is full of great ideas!
We rarely *fight*, we more just say things that hurt each other, and then once we gradually start talking (get past the point of just being mad and trying to figure out our personal feelings,) then we are fine b/c we just apologize and say we love each other and cry a little. 🙂
Anyhow, in our marriage prep class, we learned about this thing called the “speaker-listener technique.” (We’ve never really had to use it, b/c like I said above, we rarely have *arguments* that are like “i’m right and you’re wrong.”)
But it goes like this: They gave us this magnet to put on our fridge, and it’s called “The Floor.” The technique is big into not interrupting, and trying to *understand* what the other person is saying.
So what the magnet says is:
Rules for the speaker:
-speak for yourself, don’t mind read
-keep statements brief. Don’t go on and on.-stop to let the listener paraphrase.
Rules for the listener:
-paraphrase what you hear
-focus on the speaker’s message. don’t rebut.
Rules for both:
-the speaker has the floor.
-speaker keeps the floor while the listener paraphrases
-share the floor.
So basically the way it works, is one person (the speaker) gets to have “the floor,” and they say what they want/how they feel. The other person can’t interrupt. Then, when they’re done, the listener says something like, “so what I heard you saying is, <this> is what you want/feel. Am I right?” Then they go back and forth until the speaker believes that the listener understands his/her side. Then, they switch sides, and the listener becomes the speaker and gets to say how he/she feels/wants.
The idea is, in the heat of the argument (assuming you have already discussed “the floor” as a possible method that you agree on, 😉 ) then in the heat of an arguement, someone can run into the kitchen and grab it off the fridge and say, “I have the floor! You have to listen to me say my side!” 🙂