Recent research has shown that our bodies are intertwined with all our emotional states. We are emotional bodies: Our hearts, lungs, stomach and all our internal organs respond to the stress level we experience. Our bodies are faster than the mind to recognize emotional threats in a way that we are not so much aware of, and this “alert mechanism” if permanently activated, can have devastating effects in our health.

We marry with the hope that our most intimate relationship will be our refuge against all the stress of the external world. By selecting a person who would accept us and love us for ever we believe to be in the path of building a future love-secure nest. This will be the cocoon protecting us from the ravages of life outside the relationship.

What happens when we look for peace and love at home, and sadly find too many squabbles? Wouldn’t it be healthier to be able to go home and find smiling faces and loving companionship? This kind of home will give your health a boost, and make your heart sing with joy. The truth is that you are searching for refuge and find instead constant quarreling with the person supposedly to be your support and admirer: your spouse.

We need to say that couple fights are inevitable given that both parties, male and female need to start a fight sometimes when in need of refreshing the connection and renewing the conditions for companionship, and to keep the relationship growing. But fighting without skills can do a lot of damage to your health and your relationship.

According to a couple of recent studies, problematic marital communication, conflict, and strain are associated with adverse health outcomes. Research has demonstrated that the main factor that matters in preventing unhealthy consequences is the quality of the fight, and this means basically looking at which conflict style do the partners use. A conflict style devoid of reciprocal respect and of the expectation of cooperation tends to escalate into bare competition for power, a fight for the last word or conversation control. This is the antithesis of a healthy relationship.

There is the special case of marital conflict when one partner shows passive aggressive behaviors, when a supposedly mature person behaves in a way that pushes their own share of responsibilities to their partner’s side.

And if the partner tries to redress this issue, the response they get is not a good conversation about “what do we need to do now to improve”, but blaming, accusations, bad temper and either sulking or complete withdrawal.

Up until now, we knew that this was the making of a very unhappy relationship, like in this case:

“I find him sometimes lying about the littlest things, blaming everyone but himself for any kind of problems, and picking arguments when unnecessary. I know he loves me and I love him dearly but I need to find a way I can deal with this behavior that is putting such a severe strain on our relationship. What are some ways that I can converse and tackle this behavior in a constructive way rather than accepting either the constant fights and blaming myself for everything or finally silencing myself just to keep the peace?”

If you are like this person, you have two choices: either challenge and protest, and be considered “too aggressive” or shut up. Is this response, the silenced choice that seems to be the easy way out, to stop the aggression and endless recrimination, the one you would use?

When women make the decision to be silent, they are choosing the short way to protect themselves from a sad situation, and it also signals that they have given up the hope to be treated with respect. Giving up your right to be respected is so stressful that affects women making them more vulnerable to heart attacks.

Now we know more about the price women pay for “keeping the peace by self-silencing”: studies led by Dana Crowley Jack , a professor of interdisciplinary studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., have linked the self-silencing trait to numerous psychological and physical health risks, including depression, eating disorders and heart disease.

The way the couple interacted was as important a heart risk factor as whether they smoked or had high cholesterol. And the main factor observed in the interactions was the degree in which the wife would silence herself to keep the peace. How often couples fight or what they fight about usually doesn’t matter!

Instead, it’s the quality of the interactions between male and female, and how they react to and resolve conflict that appear to make a meaningful difference in the health of the marriage and the health of the couple. The main difference in the quality of a marital fight is if it is done with respect for the other’s opinions or not. The quality of the interaction hinges on the mutual respect they can show for each other, even in the heat of an argument.

Knowing this, there has to be a way to learn how to create a safe environment where both spouses can equally communicate with respect, and this is the area of fair fighting skills.

These are a set of skills that help partners to clarify the situation, allow both sides to recognize their needs and provide a way to find a solution without violence.

Fighting and having a strong discussion with a passive aggressive partner will not give them the recognition they needed in the first moment, before beginning the domestic squabble. But, due to their ignorance of methods to fight fair, they find themselves being more attacked, hurt and put down.
Arguing is, of course, an inevitable part of married life. But behaviors that control, diminish and humiliate one’s partner take a heavy toll on health.

Women who didn’t speak their minds in those fights were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period as women who always told their husbands how they felt, according to the July report in Psychosomatic Medicine.

That is the reason women need fair fighting training!
Knowing the terrible toll on their own hearts’ health, how women can learn the necessary skills to be more assertive, without putting them in risk of more violence? They need training in fair fighting techniques, to deal with passive aggressive partners in a non violent way.

Now, there is one new and more powerful reason to learn to speak up, express your needs and find shared solutions with the people you love.

Assertion skills are a strong need at any moment, when we need to express our needs and request their satisfaction, regardless of traditions, social habits and spousal pressures that promote the silent acceptance of others’ will on our self-determination. We need to learn fight fighting skills and learn how to apply them, because NOW, the reason is survival and quality of life. So, get moving now, and ask for your FREE Coaching session with Coach Nora, at

Author's Bio: 

Life Coach Nora Femenia, Ph.D. is the author of an e-book providing a whole set of self-defensive strategies for managing an abusive situation, and also teaching couples how to do fair fighting at Coach Nora is offering a FREE initial coaching session at