The Happy Wanderers

3 Simple Tips to Stop Fights With Your Partner

Episode Summary

Fights are inevitable in every relationship, but we can also use them to create more trust with our partners. Matt and Sunaina explain how to do that with three of their favorite tips to stop fights with your partner.

Episode Notes

Fights are inevitable in every relationship, but we can also use them to create more trust with our partners. Matt and Sunaina explain how to do that with three of their favorite tips to stop fights with your partner.

Read the transcript.

Watch on YouTube!

Sign up for Matt and Sunaina’s mailing list for new episodes and 5 word-for-word scripts to instantly defuse any fight.

Visit for more helpful resources. 

Thank you and happy journeys!

Episode Transcription

Matt: [00:00:00] I did feel like that might be the end of our relationship.

Sunaina: I could have very easily said, you think you don't have enough time? What about me?

Matt: Regardless of where you are in your relationship, you can continue to build more trust and security over time from wherever your starting [00:00:15] point is.

Sunaina: Fights can be scary and unfortunately when you're in a relationship, they're inevitable.

Today we're going to be sharing with you three things you can say to stop a fight from blowing up. We are Matt and Sunaina and welcome to the Happy Wanderers Podcast.

Matt: The first tip is [00:00:30] to ask yourself, what if I'm wrong?

A lot of times when you're fighting, you have all these big emotions like anger, even like sadness, and anxiety.

And what happens is it can kind of put blinders on you so that you think you know what's [00:00:45] happening. When you ask yourself, what if I'm wrong? It raises the possibility of, you know, what, if there's an alternative explanation and it shifts your thinking, right, from being furious to curious about your partner.

Sunaina: That is really cheesy.

Matt: That is, it is. [00:01:00] Okay. It is cheesy, but it's, it works.

Sunaina: Furious to curious.

Matt: From furious to curious. I, I think of that I'm gonna coin that. That term right. Patent pending, but it really makes a difference. I mean, we use that, we, we use this idea, right? [00:01:15] And maybe you can tell us a little bit more about it.

Sunaina: I remember, um, once we were getting our daughter ready to go to school, and I went to the restroom real quick and I came back and everybody was gone. Um, Matt had left, um, with his mom to take Inara, um, [00:01:30] our daughter to school, and I instantly got angry. I called him up right away. I was just thinking, what do you think, I'm not important? Are you leaving because you think my daughter doesn't need to say bye to me before she goes to school? I was looking forward to seeing her, [00:01:45] um, and I was very angry and, and you know, in that moment I can pause and I can say, what if I'm wrong? What if my assumption that they think I'm not important, is wrong.

And indeed, when I called Matt it was with that, you know, [00:02:00] that spirit of like, what's going on here because I'm making, I'm making these assumptions in my head that you don't think that my connection with my daughter is important enough to, you know, to come into the bathroom and say, Hey, we're leaving. Let's say bye to mama.

And because I questioned, what if I'm wrong? I [00:02:15] was able to call Matt and he was just explaining to me, you know, it's actually, I was just trying to save you time. I know how hectic your morning has been, so I was trying to make it easier on you. So yeah, that, that, that inquiry of what, if I'm wrong, helps us pause and open up to this possibility that something else is going on [00:02:30] instead of what we're assuming because we're getting angry and feeling....

Matt: I remember that phone call, by the way, and I remember freaking out like, oh my God, she's gonna, she's gonna yell at me. And then you said, Hey, I just wanna know what's going on.

Sunaina: Yes.

Matt: Like clearly you had already been asking yourself that question. You'd already been [00:02:45] getting curious about me, and so I was a huge relief.

Sunaina: Yeah. All right, so tip number two, you can just ask your partner, how are you feeling?

And the reason this is effective is because, you know, oftentimes when we're fighting, we, [00:03:00] we feel like we're attacking each other. And when we can ask, how are you feeling? Our partners get this sense that we care about them.

We do this all the time, um, not only when we're fighting, but also when, you know, the day has been [00:03:15] difficult or somebody's experiencing some difficult situations. Um, we check in and say, how are you feeling? So the partner knows, Hey, this person is curious about my experience. They care about what I'm going through right now, and not just about what they want and what they [00:03:30] think.

Matt: Kind of as an alternative to asking this, you can also say or ask, how is your heart? And it sounds a little bit precious maybe, but it can be useful because I know when, when we talk about it and you ask me, how are you doing? Or how are you feeling? How are you [00:03:45] doing? I tend to answer literally, and so I'll, I'll say, oh, I am, I'm doing this.

I'm eating this. I'm sleepy. You know, I'm hungry. I'm not talking about my feelings. And so when Santa asks, how is your heart? Then I know she's asking me to go [00:04:00] deeper. And so if we are kind of on the verge of conflict, if we are about to fight, That's also a way of, you know, just kind of starting to connect with each other, right?

Sunaina: Yeah. Yeah. I'm curious if anybody's listening to this to try this next time that a fight's about to blow up is, how are you feeling? And, and [00:04:15] see what the response is and, and if it comes from this place of genuine curiosity and care, I, I guarantee it'll help diffuse, like even when you, when we were practicing or talking about this podcast, He was saying the words, how are you feeling?

It just instantly like, calmed me down and, and is like, wow, he cares. [00:04:30] So curious about, what you guys trying that. We have one more tip for you.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Sunaina: Um, but we're gonna take a quick break before we share that.

Matt: Hey, Sunaina?

Sunaina: What?

Matt: You wanna fight?

Sunaina: No.

Matt: Well, maybe you should get our free guide on how to instantly defuse [00:04:45] any fight.

Sunaina: Okay. Matt.

Matt: You wanna know how to do it?

Sunaina: Okay.

Matt: Yeah, go to and sign up and you'll instantly get that, that free guide. What do you think?

Sunaina: Sounds great.

Matt: Welcome [00:05:00] back. And now we're gonna talk about the third tip on how to stop a fight. And that third tip is to say, I really wanna figure this out with you.

And this is something that's really important. It reframes the purpose of a fight. From winning to working together.

So often when [00:05:15] we're fighting, we think we have to win with our logic or our emotion. We have to overwhelm and get the other person to see our side of it. And, uh, it's really hard to reach a resolution, a connection and understanding when you're doing that. We've talked about anger in [00:05:30] the past, and that's something that I think when it gets locked into fight mode, it gets really easy to think this is the only way to solve this fight, to fix this fight, to win this fight.

Uh, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Sunaina: Right. So, an example that we wanted to share was [00:05:45] just recently with Matt, you know, bringing, uh, working on this new podcast and new, some new business things that we have going on in the background. He was feeling a little overwhelmed and, and pulled thin, especially the fact that we've got our toddler and we've got other things going on in [00:06:00] life.

So he comes expressing to me, you know, I just don't feel like I have enough time. And I could have very easily said, you think you don't have enough time? What about me? And it could have escalated into a fight. But instead what I said and what I've been saying as we're talking about this, is [00:06:15] I really wanna figure this out together.

Let's work together and figure out how to get both of our needs met. And, and as Matt said, it really shifts the perspective to like, let me show you how wrong you are and how right I am to, how do we work together so both of our [00:06:30] needs get met? How do we figure this out together?

Okay, so we just covered three tips of things you can do or say to help stop fights from blowing up.

First you can ask yourself, what if I'm wrong? Second, you can ask your partner, how are [00:06:45] you feeling? And third, you can say, I really wanna figure this out with you together.

And the reason these three tips work is they do two things. First, they shift us to a place of curiosity. [00:07:00] Instead of thinking that we need to fight and win and be logical and show them that we make sense and they don't make sense, we're moving from that place to a place of curiosity about what's happening for me and what's happening for my partner.

Matt: Excuse me. I think you [00:07:15] mean from furious to curious.

Sunaina: Okay.

Matt: Yeah?

Sunaina: I mean, I don't know if I like that.

Matt: Did I just, did I just make you furious?

Sunaina: Yes. Okay. It makes, it takes you from a place of feeling furious to feeling curious if you like that, and it helps you remember it. [00:07:30] Um, and the second reason why these three tips work is it shifts our perspective of what the goal of fights are.

Instead of thinking, the goal of a fight is to win, it shifts you to thinking the goal of the fight is working [00:07:45] together. So shifting from winning to working together.

And these tips can, these, these tips that we've shared can work on their own. Like you can take your favorite one and put it in your back pocket to pull out every time a fight's about to blow up.

Or you can use all of them and [00:08:00] particularly use them in order that we presented them today. And the reason the order is powerful is because if you start with, wait, what if I'm wrong? You're starting with curiosity about your own experience.

And then if you go to how are you feeling telling your partner, how are you feeling? [00:08:15] You are entering a space of curiosity and care for your partner.

And then if you end with, I really wanna figure this out, together with you, you're starting this place of collaborative problem solving where you can work together to figure out how to get both of your needs met.

Matt: One thing [00:08:30] that's really, really helpful about all this is when you're getting into this space of collaboration and teamwork, you're also building trust in your relationship, and over time, that means you're strengthening your relationship.

I've really noticed that a lot in our relationship because I remember earlier. You know, we've been [00:08:45] together, we've been married almost six years. We've been, uh, together almost eight years. And I remember early on in our relationship we would get into fights and it kind of felt like, you know, every fight would be like at the edge of a precipice.

You know, if I said the wrong thing, if [00:09:00] I didn't say answer correctly, you know, in the way that I thought I had to.

Sunaina: I'm sorry.

Matt: Does that sound, sorry.

Sunaina: It's okay. Go ahead.

Matt: I did feel like that might be the end of our relationship. And so the stakes just felt so high because I didn't have the same trust [00:09:15] that we wanted to be together, that we wanted to work together, that we could work together.

And as I think the evidence grew as we. Chose to work together over time...

Sunaina: As we used a curiosity and collaborative problem solving.

Matt: Exactly, as we continued to do this, [00:09:30] you know, I just felt more trust in our relationship and trust in our abilities to get to that place of being on the same team. And it's just made such a big difference in how I feel about our relationship.

I feel so much more secure. And of course we're married now, so that...

Sunaina: That [00:09:45] helps.

Matt: There's that too. Uh, but regardless of where you are in your relationship, You can continue to build more trust and security over time from wherever your starting point is.

Sunaina: Absolutely. Um, so if you want more tips, we've created a guide of things that you can [00:10:00] say to keep fights from blowing up.

Sign up for our newsletter at or look for the link in the summary or the show notes and we'll send you that guide once you sign up.

Matt: Yeah. And please, when you sign up, reply to that email, let us know what are [00:10:15] your strategies that you use when you're going, uh, through fights.

Uh, how does that usually end up for you? We'd really like to know, we'd really like to know how we can support you in the future.

Sunaina: And if you're tuning in through YouTube, please put those, that information in the comments we'd love to hear from you. Thanks.[00:10:30]