• Learn how to argue.

    Avoiding disagreements entirely usually carries unhealthy consequences. Both partners may simply repress certain angers, with neither one getting what they need out of the relationship. Learn to disagree without getting into an all-out argument.

    • When you disagree, avoid saying hurtful things.
    • If things are getting heated, take a break for a while and come back to the conversation when emotions aren't running as high.
    • Use phrases such as "I feel upset when you do this..." instead of lashing out with name calling or accusing your partner of never doing anything right.

    The presence of arguing in a relationship doesn't affect its success as much as how a couple argues. One psychologist claims a 95% success rate for predicting which relationships would fail just by listening to an argument for five minutes!

    • The four factors that make all the difference when you argue are: contemptdefensivenesscriticism, and withdrawing. Avoid these behaviors and your marriage is more likely to survive.

    Pick your battles.

    Sometimes fights are inevitable because you're two different human beings with two sets of opinions. Determine whether your feelings are truly worth fighting for and where you can reach a compromise. Perhaps you've gotten into a petty little fight about something unimportant. Learn from that mistake to avoid that unhappiness in the future.

    You can complain, but avoid criticizing.

    If your partner's behavior is bothering you, it's okay to point it out and ask them to stop. But, avoid attacking your partner. You can say, "It drives me crazy when you throw your dirty socks all over the floor." But avoid saying, "You're such a slob. What's your problem?"

    Most people can accept that they might be doing something bothersome. However, that's different from being personally attacked.