Psychologist Burt Grodnitzky's Rules for Fair Fighting:

Fight about one thing at a time. Do not change the subject until the problem is solved.

Never refuse a fight, but reschedule if necessary. If one person is too angry to discuss the problem, choose a time convenient to both.

Get accurate information. Instead of saying, "You always make a mess," say "I get angry when you leave your dirty socks in the living room." Find out "who, what, where, when and how many or how much" before arguing.

Respond to the other person's point before making your own. Listen, and then respond: "So you're saying . . . right?" When the other person answers "yes," you can go ahead with your point.

Don't filibuster. Use the fewest words possible to get your point across. Set a time limit if necessary.

Stick to the present. Do not bring in past events.

Don't play psychologist. Never "mind-read" or say "I know what you're thinking."

When fighting about opinions, recognize it. For example, "This is the best way to do it," can be an opinion. Each side should state their opinions, to separate them from facts.

Accept responsibility for your actions. Once a problem is agreed on, come up with a plan and carry it out.

Stick to problem solving. Remember that fighting can be used constructively to work out a conflict. It's possible for everyone involved to "win."