Tell me about your last "dumb fight."

You have got to know, first, that you are not alone. Most couples that have loving relationships get bogged down with repeated, energy draining, “dumb fights.”

Usually the conflict is over silly things like rinsing out coffee cups and closing kitchen cabinets. Sometimes these fights can get ugly and hurtful things are said. Many couples stop talking for days.

Why do these dumb fights get so out of control? How do we stop them?

In order to understand these dumb fights, you need to understand your "emotional mind." These seemingly insignificant situations resonate on a deeper level, triggering insecurities like "Does he/she really love me" or "I'm not good enough."

For example, the "coffee cup" issue could really trigger a feeling of being "DESERTED," a feeling of being alone and overwhelmed with household responsibilities. Or this coffee cup scenario could conjure up feelings of being DOMINATED (controlled) by one another. Or maybe one or both of you are feeling DEVALUED, a feeling of being ignored or unappreciated.

The solution to these "dumb" fights is to learn how to be wiser, more emotionally smart with your own feelings and the feelings of your partner. Emotional smarts is about awareness and about management.

Next time you are in conflict, slow down, turn inside and see if you can recognize you vulnerable feelings (hurt, sadness, anxiety). Once you are conscious of these deeper feelings, ask yourself, "Who is in charge - my "emotional mind" or my "wise mind?" Your wise mind knows how to balance reason with emotion. Your wise mind knows that your conflict is not just about the lousy dishes!

I have put together a list of my top ten favorite tips to stop “dumb fights.” Hope this helps!

1. Choose the words that will pull your partner closer, not push your partner further away.
2. Your relationship can be big enough for both of you to be right!
3. You can't change your partner, but you CAN change your response to your partner.
4. When in conflict, slow down.....breath...ask yourself how your feel vulnerable or scared?
5. Listen to your partner with curiosity, NOT judgment.
6. Anger is always a cover for vulnerability.
7. Most communication is beyond words... your body language is 55%, verbal is 7%, tone is 38%.
8. Remember, conflict usually stems from a lack of understanding, NOT a lack of caring.
9. There are only two ways to communicate - you are either talking to reveal or talking to control.
10. Happy couples fight just as much as unhappy couples. Happy couples have superior REPAIR skills.

Author's Bio: 

Rhonda Audia, LISW, is a clinical social worker with over 25 years experience offering relationship advice and counseling. She founded The Guru For Two Counseling Center to provide relationship education and treatment that is affordable and accessible. She believes that "Conflict is unavoidable, but emotional disconnection is optional!"