What I have said is that people need to learn how to fight fair, because there is a big difference between healthy and unhealthy combat in marriage. In an unstable marriage, hostility is aimed at the partner's soft underbelly with comments like "You never do anything right!" and "Why did I marry you in the first place?" and "You're getting more like your mother every day!" These offensive remarks strike at the very heart of the mate's self-worth.
Healthy conflict, by contrast, is focused on the issues that cause disagreement. For example: "It upsets me when you don't tell me you're going to be late for dinner." Or: "I was embarrassed when you made me look foolish at the party last night." Can you hear the difference in these two approaches? The first assaults the dignity of the partner while the second is addressed to the source of conflict. When couples learn this important distinction, they can work through their disagreements without wounding and insulting each other.