Ready, Set, Fight!

Having a healthy, loving relationship is not all about starry-eyes and sighs. Sometimes, you have to roll up your sleeves and gear up for a fight. After all, conflict can make your love even stronger. The key is to go about it the right way—without ever coming to blows.

Why fight?
Admit it: Couples that never disagree creep you out. And with good reason. “No conflict is just as bad as fighting from sunup to sundown,” says Crystal Hernandez, relationship coach and author of the free online course “Prosperity in Marriage.” Both are signs that you are not communicating. “We want to be somewhere in the middle. Conflict—over money, where to spend the holidays, a job offer or parents—is a normal part of a healthy relationship. It’s an opportunity to grow in understanding and love for each other,” she says.

Never fear
Yet a lot of women will avoid disagreements, instead sulking and silently holding a grudge. “There is the fear of disappointing and offending, of losing harmony,” Hernandez says. Get over it; that kind of behavior can lead to distrust. “If you have a concern, have courage. Think, ‘This is someone who loves me and I have a responsibility to share.’ ” Hernandez recommends setting some guidelines to get through it. Be respectful: No yelling, no cursing. Work through emotions by yourself first so you can think clearly when it’s time to have it out with him.

Fighting right
When you are ready to discuss your problem, be prepared to listen. “Not to get ammo, but to hear accurately and to show respect,” Hernandez says, and earn the same respect once it’s your turn to discuss your feelings and concerns. Don’t panic if you can’t find a solution right away—keep communicating. “Couples who have the best relationships are those who have had serious struggles and disagreements, who have walked through valleys together,” Hernandez says.

—Damarys Ocaña