How to Stop Fighting With Your Spouse
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Kiss & Makeup1 of 10
By Jane Bianchi for Woman's Day
Did you catch the Saturday Night Live sketch with Paul Rudd and Vanessa Bayer sitting in a diner with their divorce lawyers? The two argue nonstop—that is, until the Fleetwood Mac song "I Don't Wanna Know" comes on. Then, they start singing and dancing, forgetting that they want a divorce. It turns out many couples have moments like this. Hearing a certain song, seeing a certain photo or even saying a certain word is all it takes to stop fighting. Check out the creative tricks real couples use to diffuse disputes in seconds.
Do Something Silly2 of 10
"My husband purposely falls to the floor to get me to laugh and end the argument. What can I say? I grew up watching America's Funniest Home Videos," says Griffin Sutton, of Hampstead, NC. Kac Young of Cambria, CA, uses a similar strategy with her hubby. "When we have a disagreement, one of us makes a fishy face. This is the signal that we've lost communication, and the giggles always bring us back to reality," she says.
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Use a Code Word3 of 10
"My husband of 20 years and I were in marriage counseling a few years ago, on the brink of divorce. The counselor suggested that we say a code word when an argument gets out of hand. Whenever one of us says 'cock-a-doodle-doo,' we bust out laughing and the argument's over," says Stacey Glaesmann, of Pearland, TX. Choose your own couple code word or phrase that's easy to remember and is likely to end the argument.
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Dance Together4 of 10
Whether you're into line dancing or break dancing, moving your bodies can release built-up tension in a more positive way than arguing. That's what Traci Bild's husband of 15 years does with her in Clearwater, FL. "He'll grab me and twirl me around. It completely changes my mood and makes it impossible to stay mad! It immediately takes me back to why I fell in love with him," she says. Why bellow when you can boogie?
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Eat Something5 of 10
Registered dietitian Jan Patenaude from Carbondale, CO, realized that low blood sugar can trigger a fight. "One time an ex hadn't eaten anything in about six hours. In the middle of a fight he had instigated, I poured him a glass of orange juice and within minutes, he was apologizing for being a jerk," she says. Chowing down on any sort of snack or caloric beverage might do the trick, but Patenaude likes fruit and fruit juice because they're fast-acting and contain natural ingredients and nutrients.
Give a Look6 of 10
If your partner's favorite activity happens between the sheets, use that to your advantage when you're attempting to end an aggressive confrontation. "My husband is my professional partner, so it's even more important that we're in sync. The best fail-proof argument-buster for us is sex! A 'come-hither' look instantly squashes any fussing and fighting," admits Selena Cuffe of Brooklyn, NY.
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Make Some Music7 of 10
Maybe a particular tune by Beyonce, Justin Timberlake or John Legend reminds you both of an epic date night and immediately puts you in a better mood. Or perhaps one of you can provide the entertainment. "Whenever my husband and I are in a fight, I step away and write a song about the situation. Something about my guitar and vocals calms him down, and he's able to listen to my side of the story. It's all about knowing how your guy listens. If you just keep yelling it will never go anywhere," says Leanna May Patterson, lead singer of The Whiskey Circle in San Diego, CA.
Play With Your Pet8 of 10
Believe it or not, Fido can make an excellent relationship counselor—without saying a single word. Keep your furry friend nearby during any heated debate at home, as Kelly Hadous of New York City does. "Any time my boyfriend and I are fighting, our adorable dog, Milo, comes next to one of us to cuddle. We both end up petting him and forgetting about the fight. He's the perfect mediator," she says.
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Mention Your Kids9 of 10
Where's your nearest photo album? Stephanie Adams-Nicolai of New York City says that going through family pictures can relieve tension during an argument "because looking at our son reminds us quickly of the love we have, the love we created and the love that continues to grow." Bringing up children also works for Angela Todd of West Mifflin, PA. "Our eldest was a micro preemie. When we're heading into an argument, my partner's likely to say, 'Our kids are healthy, we've been through a lot together and it's all going to be OK.'"
Imagine Life Without Him10 of 10
Warning: This is super-morbid, but it's bound to put things in perspective really fast. "I picture my partner in a coffin. That usually centers me and stops the fight. In that brief moment, I realize that, alive, he's a pain in the butt. But dead, he's a pain that can't take out the garbage. I recognize how much I'd miss him. When I remember that nobody will be here forever, I don't waste my precious time fighting," says Sylvana Joseph of Philadelphia.