Couples have "dumb" fights when they don't have a clue about what they are really fighting about.

Fights about stuff like buying the wrong bagels, bedroom frustration, and clothes strewn on the floor are really about someone feeling neglected, ignored, or misunderstood.

When we feel devalued or deserted by our partner, we have an internal alarm that screams, "We got a problem here! Danger! Not good!" Your emotional mind can abruptly shift from "blissed" to "pissed."

It is not so much the topic of the fight that is "dumb." It is the way couples fight that is "unintelligent," emotionally speaking.

A fight that is emotionally "dumb" is by nature emotionally volatile, adversarial, and full of defensiveness and stonewalling. A "dumb fight" always feels like "me verses you."

When you learn to Fight Smart, you learn to regulate emotional upset, reveal your "soft" feelings, and listen with curiousity instead of judgment. Smart fighting should feel like "us against the problem."

Here are the Guru For Two's Top 10 "Smart Fight" Tips:

1) Recognize a "fake fight" when see one. Look for the real issues beneath the surface topics. The reasonable requests are usually about needs for support, understanding, protection, validation.

2) Learn a phrase, or two, to diffuse conflict. I like, "Honey, let's not have another dumb fight - can we calm down for a few minutes." Just remember that if you ask for a "time out" you have to also agree to check back in with your partner. Don't leave you partner dangling or the anxiety will not abate.

3) Practice mindfulness to regulate your emotions. Anyone can learn to do a simple "mindfulness of breath" exercise to shift out of your "thinking" (and blaming) mind and into your "observing" mind. Just 10 minutes of this can calm you down and clarify what you really want or need.

4) Learn to reveal rather than control your feelings. Anger is always a cover for a more vulnerable feeling. We have a tendency to control with blame and self protection when we feel vulnerable. The blaming and defensiveness, however, just pushes your partner away, just when you were really hoping to pull them in closer to understand you better.

5) Learn simple nonverbal moves to re-synch emotionally. Squeeze your partners hand, make eye contact, use a gentle tone of voice, stroke your partners leg. These gestures will be soothing.

6) Use the words "us" and "we" to press the reset button. These words re-establish a feeling of connection when you are in the midst of a "me verses you" conflict. Us verses the problem works much better than me verses you.

7) Learn to tolerate stress better. For example, try to locate the sensation of your emotion in your body. You may recognized a tightness in you belly, chest, maybe throat, or head. Once you locate the sensation of your feeling, you can observe - "is the feeling hot or cold, pulsing, wavelike, sharp or dull?" You can visualizing yourself making more space around the feeling.

8) Resist the urge to do harm. It is too easy to lash out at a partner when you are feeling wounded. However, this can have damaging consequences. Try to tell yourself you do not have to do anything for 24 hours - give your brain time to catch up with your emotions. Or if you normally attack, do the opposite. Back up and calm down. If you normally turn away from your partner when you are distress, try turning towards them, instead.

9) Learn to be sensitive with your partners hot "buttons." We all have our raw spots. Resist pushing your partner's buttons if you are trying to avoid a nasty, dumb fight.

10) Practice the art of apology. A good apology contains statements pertaining to past, present, and future. A past statement addresses "I see what I have done that caused pain." A present statement acknowledges, "I care about you. I am sorry about your pain. I want us to be "good." The future statement addresses, "Here is what I learned and here is how things will change."

When you learn how to Fight Smart, conflict becomes a path to deeper understanding, stronger emotional bonds, and better collaboration! Conflict in love is normal BUT "dumb fights" are optional!

Author's Bio: 

The road to relationship success is sometimes difficult to navigate and conflict is normal. Rhonda Audia, a.k.a. The Guru for Two, will enlighten your travels through The Four Stages of Love and Marriage with insight, wit, and practical advice.
Rhonda has over 20 years experience helping individuals, couples, and families find relationship success. She is a certified provider of Emotionally Focused Therapy, The Gottman Method for Couples, and Prepare/Enrich Relationship Inventories. Her physical practice is located in Tampa, Florida. She also provides counseling, education, and support via phone, email, or Skype.