Every couple argues, but just because it’s normal (and even expected) doesn’t make every spat A-OK. Heed these expert-approved tips on how to fight the right way.
Choose your battles.
Not every dirty diaper or dishwasher load is worth the damage it can wreak on your relationship.
Talk often, but listen more often.
Communication can nip annoyances in the bud. Remember that every opinion counts, so make sure both partners feel like they are being heard.
Wade (don’t dive) in.
When you bring up a contentious topic, try to do so calmly at an appropriate time—not when your spouse is late for a meeting.
Take a step back.
An argument is a small part of the big picture, so try to keep everything in perspective.Be team-minded, even if that means making a few compromises.
Call a timeout.
If you’re already in the thick of a debate, take a 15-minute break. Go to separate rooms, take a few deep breaths, and collect yourself. Once you tame your tempers, you can be more productive.
Leave baby out of it.
According Bridget Levy, LCPC, the first four months of a baby’s life are a critical attachment phase. “I truly believe—and the research shows —that a baby kind of senses and picks up on what’s going on in the marriage,” she says. “If you’re in a heated argument, do not have baby in the room with you.”