No matter the topic, no matter how right you might think you might be, no matter how angry you might be, always treat your partner with respect and dignity. Strive to exemplify honor towards your mate even if they are not doing so in return. You are not responsible for his or her actions or reactions – you are only responsible for your own. Set an example. Don't use language that would intimidate or demean. Never, ever hit or push – ever! Don't bring up past grievances. Focus on the moment, on the here and now, and respond to what is happening now. Don't say things you cannot take back. Don't let your emotions get the best of you.

OK, got it? Easy enough, right? Hardly. Unfortunately, a part of any relationship is misunderstanding and conflict. This is unavoidable because of the life experiences and expectations that each one brings to the relationship. Coupled with the dynamic nature of life that breeds bad days and bad moods from time-to-time, fights will occur even in the most positive and loving of relationships. However, having the right tools to fight with is what separates fair fighting from malicious and intentionally destructive fighting.

In addition to the common sense advice already presented, here are some very tangible tools to use in order to keep the fight, or conflict, from escalating to an event that neither would like to see:

Focus on using “I” statements instead of “You” statements. For example, compare “I feel hurt and vulnerable,” to “You make me feel hurt vulnerable.” By stating the latter will only put your partner on the defensive. “You” statements are often times considered insulting and perhaps threatening. Whereas “I” statements are just stating how you feel and convey your sense of responsibility with owning a particular thought or feeling.

To take this idea to the next step, use the expression “I experience you as…” instead of “You are a …” Here’s the difference: When you say you experience your partner as (blank), you are not passing judgement that he or she is that thing or in that particular state – it’s just expressing how you are experiencing him or her at that precise moment in time.

Finally, compare “I experience you as a very tight drum; all pent up with anger” to “You are so full of anger.” How do you think your partner would respond to the “You” statement? Probably by exclaiming “No, I’m not, how dare you say that” which will only exacerbate the fight. The “I” statement, on the other hand, may elicit the comment “Why do you feel that way.” Now, you have something to talk about.

There is no question fair fighting can be difficult, especially in the heat of battle. But, I would suggest you take a full step back when you on the verge of saying something very hurtful or spiteful. Except in some unfortunate circumstances, the person standing across from you who is poised to be the target of your self-righteous wrath is also the person you have selected to love and honor. Respect that person, and your relationship, by sharing how you feel. Take your share of the responsibility, if appropriate, and offer win-win solutions that will allow you both to move forward. At the end of the day, this is the person who you want to spend every day with - live this even when it’s hard to do so.

Author's Bio: 

Alex Blackwell is the author of The Next 45 Years - a website dedicated to sharing and creating happiness, life balance and success for the rest of our lives. To read all "10 Rules for a Great Relationship," please visit: