7 Steps to Turn a Fight into a Good Night

turning a fight into a good night for couples

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a heated argument and a moment of clarity comes in, perhaps a thought that says: “Wait a minute, I actually really like this person, I wish we weren’t fighting” but then you remember how right you are and how wrong they are and how justified you feel… and then back to the fight you go. Well you’re not alone.

This article is for anyone who is genuinely looking for something else to do in that moment when you recognize you would like to make up, but you’re not sure How. Here are 7 tips to help you turn it around, and turn a fight into a good night.

Step 1. Take a Break

Taking a break, even for a few moments will allow your heart rate to slow down and give your brain an opportunity to calm itself. The best way to take a break is to make an agreement about it with your partner.

You could say something kind like: “I love you, I don’t want to fight and I think we may have been going in circles and just getting more mad at each other. I’d like to take a break from the argument, just to pause, calm down and see if I can bring something new or more loving to the table. I know this thing we’re talking about is important and I promise I will be back in 15 min. (or a half hour or an hour) and we can try again”.

See if you can get your partner to agree and then when you return try step 2.

Step 2. Be Kind

You might be thinking, “How can I be kind, when my partner is being so wrong?” First be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you are okay and that you are going to take good care of yourself. Sometimes feeling angry is a good reminder that there’s an area in our life where we haven’t been taking good care of ourselves.

So take a moment in your mind to be kind to You. Then see if you can extend that same kindness to your partner. You could say: “Honey, I realize we are both feeling hurt and angry. I’m not sure how to fix this right now, but I do want to be close with you. Could we agree to put the fight down just for the night and try to be close anyway? Maybe we could be friends now and look it again tomorrow with fresh eyes.”

No matter how your partner responds, You kindness will improve the situations. Showing kindness leads to caring and understanding.

Step 3. Lighten Up

This step isn’t always easy – especially in the middle of an argument where we are defending our point at all costs – but we can remind ourselves that we are in the middle of taking ourselves or something else Very Seriously. Taking things seriously is what leads to that grid-lock feeling we sometimes experience during a conflict with our partner. The problem appears to be stuck.

Nothing is permanently stuck, as long as we can lighten up. How? By relaxing intentionally and allowing ourselves to see the silliness in something, in anything. Find a way to share a laugh with your partner. It will remind you of what’s really important (and hopefully what isn’t’)

Step 4. Be Close Anyway

This is one of my favorites. It almost makes no sense, but I’ve seen it work many times. How? Remind yourself that you love this person and that you don’t really want to be fighting anyway. Even if it feels like a stretch in the moment, do something together without talking. Something that allows you both to feel good and calm.

Sit close on the couch while you stare at the cat or watch a movie. See if you can hold hands or lie down close to each other while you listen to the quiet, or to music you both like. Allow yourselves to be quiet together. Not stewing over things in silence together, but genuinely quieting the mind and allowing yourselves to feel close with each other.

Sharing a quiet moment with your partner can produce a very peaceful feeling.

Step 5. Pick One Simple Thing you Like About Your Partner

Hold it in your mind. Appreciate that you have someone to love that loves you. Humor and Appreciation help to dissolve stuck places. Practice 5 minutes of gratitude for the relationship you have.

Step 6. Play The “It Could be Worse Game” in Your Mind and then Listen

Asking yourself “What could be worse than this?” is something you can do with your mind instead of building your case against your partner. This is opportunity to gain some real perspective. Play this in your mind until you can relax. Once you can relax or even smile – good job! You have just lightened the intensity. The lighter the intensity, the more possibility for closeness there is.

If you can see that the intensity is unnecessary, then you can respond with kindness. Look for common ground so that you can re-connect and get a good night’s sleep. Remember to say “Thank You” and “I Love You” before bed.

Step 7. Get Help

There are times when the conflict in a relationship could simply use a caring, helping professional and experienced couples therapist is one of the best supports you can get.

If you find that you and your partner are disagreeing more than you would like or if there is a conflict that keeps repeating itself. You don’t have to figure it out alone. Couples counseling is like having a great coach tune-up your game.

If you feel that you and your partner could benefit from some couples coaching please don’t wait another day. Call a couples therapist. You deserve to have a happy, loving relationship. Your relationship is important and so are You.

Please feel free to share you thoughts about this article with me by adding your comments below.

Contact me for more information on this topic or to inquire about couples counseling, couples coaching, couples therapy or relationship help please call and reach out today. I want to hear your story and help you have the relationship you really want. Rachel Madorsky, LCSW is a Couples Therapist in Austin, Texas and can be reached at (512) 415-2896.

* Note, if you or someone you know is an abusive relationship, you should skip these steps and call a hotline for support and create a safety plan. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

photo credit: intheozone


  1. I like your idea of keeping things light, Rachel. I think it’s true that when we are in the midst of an argument that we can get very serious. If one or both partners can lighten up, or even find a way to laugh about the situation, this can make a big difference to the outcome of the argument. The challenge is remembering when you’re IN it!

    • Rachel Madorsky says

      You’re so right Clinton, the big challenge of helpful tips is being able to remember to use them when we’re IN the moment that we need it the most. Thanks so much for posting and for all the good relationship work you do!

Speak Your Mind