Dr Ricky Arenson

Couples can fight because of a bad day, an irritable mood, or because of serious relationship issues. Here are ten simple strategies that will assist a more positive outcome in any dispute.

  1. Use the “Stop Rule”: 

Before you fire off an angry response, stop and define your desired outcome. Once you have decided what you want, then proceed calmly in the correct direction. In most cases, you’ll realize that a fight will be bad for both of you. Now you can work on a plan that helps you instead of ruining your relationship.

  1. Try to work with not against your partner.

Aim to always work with your partner – you need an ally, not an opponent. The best fight is one you never have. There is always room for a peaceful, compromising, and collaborative approach. This will yield better results than being combative and “right” all the time.

  1. Any fight or relationship challenge belongs to both partners equally

If one person is unhappy, the relationship will deteriorate for both. Blame is destructive and won’t solve problems but bringing your partner to the negotiating table can. Most conflicts result from bilateral issues. You can’t improve yourself, and your relationship, or restore loving relations unless you unite with a commitment to working together.

  1. Apologize when you are wrong. 

This enables you to end the conflict, learn from your mistakes and engage in a constructive process to improve yourself and your relationships. If you allow the conflict to fester, you will start to justify your position, egos will come into play, and now you will be stuck in a desperate fight for survival. “Sorry.” Isn’t that easier?

  1. Timing is everything. 

Don’t have contentious discussions and bring up criticism while your partner is irritable, hurting, or tired. The best time to solve disputes is at a time of maximum goodwill.

  1. “Constructive criticism is usually destructive.” 

It isn’t necessary to communicate negative thoughts and feelings. So, the chicken your spouse made was yucky. Will it help anything to tell them that now? More people come to harm by complaining than those who stay silent!

  1. Good communication.

Many fights happen from a misunderstanding, so maintaining open communication can prevent this. Sometimes, your partner might be tired, stressed, or suffering. Before you jump on them for being irritable, take the time to ask if they’re OK.

  1. Don’t punish others when you’ve had a bad day.

Conversely, don’t take out a bad mood on your loved ones. When you are feeling down, the last thing you need to do is alienate your allies and support.

  1. Women can solve some marital disputes by “taking advantage” of their husbands. 

It won’t solve underlying issues, but he’ll probably agree to sex rather than demanding an apology! Most importantly, it will put the angry bird to sleep and give a wife peace for a few minutes…priceless!

On the other hand, men should never offer sex as a peace offering to women. “I’m sure you’ll feel better after sex, Honey.” This is tantamount to encountering an angry bull and holding a red flag in front of your genitals. Neither solution will resolve a dispute or improve a waning sex life.

Maybe an apology, a resolution to do better, and an expensive bunch of flowers might give a better outcome.