The Art of Marital Fighting

How to improve your relationship by fighting

In the Art of Marital Fighting, there are rules you need to follow.  As a couple, you both get to play and be referee at the same time.  Speaker becomes Player, and Listener becomes Referee - you take turns playing.  Each player is limited to a maximum of one minute.

The referee is responsible for calling fouls whenever a rule is broken.  The player then has the opportunity to correct his/her foul and try again.  The referee does not interfere (butt-in) except to point out rule infraction(s).  All the disputed fouls are written down and saved for the next counseling session.  Each session is limited to a maximum of ten minutes unless rule number twelve (12) is used.

Listed below are the eleven rules in this game.

  1. No Assumptions. This means no speaking for the other person.
  2. No Misinterpretations. This means you cannot play mind reader for the person speaking - ask and listen.
  3. No Yelling or Name-Calling. This means don't raise your voice or be a poor loser.
  4. No Negative Physical Contact.  This means no slapping, throwing, or hitting.
  5. Don't Change the Subject. Stick to the topic at hand.
  6. Do Not Bring Up the Past. This means you cannot be a Gravedigger or an Archaeologist.
  7. No Generalizations - Be Specific. In this rule you cannot and must not use words like; you always..., you never...
  8. No Tears or Silence. This means that tears and silence cannot be used as tools of cop-outs.
  9. No Retreating or Quitting. This means you don't give in and accept the blame about something prior to talking about it.  Also, it means there is no running away from the situation, but facing it.
  10. Take Turns - Don't Butt-In. This just means keep your mouth closed and your mind open while the other one is speaking.
  11. Do Not Play at the Wrong Time or in the Wrong Place.
    • No-No Times
      • In the morning before work
      • One hour after work
      • One hour before dinner
      • One hour after dinner
      • One hour before bedtime
    • No-No Place
      • When relatives/kids are present
      • When you are with friends
      • In public
      • In bed
      • Anytime you are eating
  12. Do Not Be Afraid to Call a Truce or Postpone the Game. This one is mutually agreed upon.

Have a rule to suggest?  Testimonies always welcome :)

Written by Dr. Christian Pope