How to Prevent Arguments With Your Husband or Wife (Tips To Avoid Marriage-Killing Conflicts)

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What’s up ladies and gentlemen, Brad Browning here…. I’m a marriage coach and author

of the best-selling Mend the Marriage program. In this video, I’m going to share with you

several tips that will help you prevent and defuse arguments with your spouse.

For more tips on repairing and improving your marriage beyond what I’m about to talk about,

please watch the full video on my website, MarriageGuy.com… remember that a marriage

crisis doesn’t just go away on its own, so if your relationship is in jeopardy of

collapsing, please visit MarriageGuy.com and watch the video before things go downhill

any further.

OK, so I’m going to begin by talking about a few ways to prevent arguments with your

spouse. Later in the video, I’ll talk about what to do if you find yourself in a heated

dispute with your partner, but these first few tips are designed to help you avoid getting

into arguments in the first place.

Tip #1 - Pick Your Battles

Humans are imperfect creatures, and your spouse is no exception. It’s inevitable that your

partner is going to do or say certain t=hings that are going to irritate you… so it’s

important to take a step back and really evaluate what’s worth fighting for. Is it really

a huge issue if your husband forgets to water the plants? Do you really need to get into

a screaming match every time your wife leaves a few dirty dishes in the kitchen? At the

end of the day, you need to decide what you can live with, and what’s worth battling


Tip #2 - Apply My “30-minute Rule”

One of the most effective methods that I teach to my coaching clients is what I call the

“30 minute rule”. It’s a pretty simple concept, really… any time you have a complaint

or an issue you want to raise with your spouse that may lead to an argument, wait at least

30 minutes before you broach the subject with your partner.

As simple and dumb as this may sound, you’d be amazed at how often it can prevent an argument

from happening. Taking 30 minutes to think things over before bringing up a complaint

or issue allows you to cool down, step back, and take a look at the bigger picture. Sometimes

you may realize that whatever it was you were upset about isn’t worth an argument, and

other times it may just give you time to think about how you can discuss the topic with your

partner in a civilized, non-confrontational manner. Which brings me to my next point…

Tip #3 - Work Out A Plan In Advance

If you use the “30 minute rule” that I just talked about -- and I strongly recommend

you do give it a try -- then you’ll always have at least half an hour to think about

what you’re going to say before you dive into a heated discussion with your spouse.

I always suggest deciding exactly what you’re going to say to your spouse in advance…

if you and your spouse have serious problems with frequent arguing, then it may even be

worthwhile to write down what you’re going to say. If you stick to the script, you’ll

help to avoid saying something that can turn a civilized discussion into a major argument.

In addition to deciding in advance what you’re going to say, also think about what your ideal

outcome would look like… what are you trying to achieve? How are you going to achieve it?

You should enter any potential argument knowing the answers to each of these questions.

Tip #4 - Use The “3 Sentence Rule”

When you’ve got something on your mind and you want to vent those frustrations to your

spouse, limit yourself to a maximum of three sentences total. This will ensure you don’t

go on a rant that escalates the discussion as soon as it begins, and keeps you focused

on the specific topic at hand.

Let’s say, for example, that your spouse constantly makes excuses to avoid social gatherings

with your family. Understandably, this might upset you, and you may want to bring the subject

up with your partner. Using the 3-sentence rule, you might say something like:

“Look, I know you don’t really enjoy hanging out with my family, but they’re important

to me. I’d really like it if you would please try to come to our family get-togethers more

often. Even just two or three times per year would really mean a lot to me.”

That’s all you need to say to get your point across, really… and by keeping it brief

and using a polite, non-confrontational tone, you can keep emotions in check and usually

avoid a more serious argument.

Tip #5 - Begin With “I” Instead of “You”

A Harvard professor who specializes in marital conflict suggests using the word “I” whenever

you’re making a complaint to your spouse.

This one is especially useful when you’re saying something that your partner might call

“nagging”... if you have a complaint about something your spouse is doing -- leaving

dirty dishes in the kitchen, for instance -- then start your sentence with “I” when

you broach the subject.

As an example, you could say something like: “I know you’re busy in the mornings, but

I’d really appreciate it if you could put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher before

you leave for work.”

This may not seem like a particularly important strategy, but it has been proven to reduce

the likelihood of a discussion turning into a full-blown argument.

Ok, that’s five tips to prevent conflict in the first place… but what if you already

find yourself in an argument with your spouse? Maybe you’re in a fight because you didn’t

follow the tips I mentioned above, or maybe your spouse was the one who began yelling

and initiated the argument. Either way, let’s talk about some ways to defuse the conflict

and prevent it from really getting out of hand…

These are some of the things that make up what I call my “Dispute Defusing System”...

it’s a set of techniques I’ve developed based on both academic research and my own

experience working with coaching clients facing a marriage crisis. I am going to share a few

of these techniques in a second, but I encourage you to watch the full video on my website,

www.MarriageGuy.com, for more info on building a healthy, conflict-free marriage. That’s


OK, here are 3 things you can do to prevent an argument from getting out of hand...

#1 - Go To Bed Angry

Honestly, if I could bust open a single commonly-accepted myth about relationships, it would be the

idea that couples should never go to bed angry at one another. Quite frankly, that’s downright

terrible advice.

Sure, no-one wants to go to bed mad at their spouse, but the simple fact of the matter

is that this can actually be a very effective means of defusing an argument.

If things are getting head during a discussion with your partner, and it looks like you’re

not going to reach a happy ending anytime soon, then it’s best to shut it down and

revisit the topic tomorrow. Sometimes, this can be enough to allow cooler heads to prevail,

making the topic go away altogether. Other times, it’s a much-needed break that can

calm tempers down so that you can revisit the discussion again the following day.

All you need to do to put this ‘overnight break’ into practice is to simply say something

like, “look, clearly we’re both getting emotional over this, so let’s both sleep

on it and re-visit the discussion tomorrow when you get home from work”.

This is actually a tactic that my wife and I use fairly often when we find ourselves

in a more serious disagreement, and more often than not it works like magic. So, let go of

the belief that you should ‘never go to bed angry’, because it’s actually a really

effective strategy to prevent arguments from getting out of hand.

#2 - Propose Potential Solutions

One of the biggest mistakes that I see my clients make when they’re arguing with their

spouses is that they offer lots of criticism and complaints, but no real solutions or suggestions

to make the problem go away.

Let’s go back to the example I mentioned earlier… say your spouse always avoids attending

social gatherings with your family, and you want him or her to join for the occasional

family dinner. Instead of simply saying, “I hate how you never come to my parent’s or

visit with my family” -- which is basically just whining -- try pairing every complaint

or criticism with a potential solution.

In this case, you might say something like: “I know you don’t really enjoy visiting

with my family, but it would be really great if you could try to come for dinner at my

parent’s every so often. How about we agree that you’ll come to dinner with my family

on special holidays, like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving?”

By suggesting a specific solution that would make you happy without forcing your spouse

to completely “cave” to your demands and do what he or she may not want to do, you’re

no longer simply nagging or complaining… now you’re outlining a potential solution

to the problem, making it clear that you’ve considered your partner’s feelings and thought

about ways to resolve things that don’t involve drastic changes for your spouse.

I always recommend pairing any complaint or criticism with an idea or even a partial idea

for how to come to a mutually agreeable solution. This often works very well, but even if your

partner doesn’t accept your suggestions, at least you’ve put in the effort and attempted

to work towards a positive outcome.

#3 - Bust Out Your Comedy Skills

This particular tip isn’t really appropriate for the most serious discussions, but if you’re

in an argument over something silly -- dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, for example

-- humour can be an incredibly effective way to defuse things and bring perspective to

the argument.

All you have to do is make an appropriately-timed joke or amusing comment when things are getting

out of hand. Honestly, it doesn’t even have to be that funny… a bad pun or silly joke

is usually fine, because it lightens the mood and helps both your and your partner see the

bigger picture.

Let’s say you’re arguing with your spouse about whose job it is to do the dishes. When

things begin to spiral into a yelling match, you could make a joke about how you tried

to get the cat to help load the dishwasher but ‘things got pretty hair’... something

dumb like that. I know that’s not actually funny at all, really... but it’ll do the

job and hopefully get your partner to crack a smile.

Studies have proven that humour in general can dramatically calm tensions and allow both

parties in a conflict to back down, so give it a try next time you find yourself in an

escalating argument.

This video is getting pretty long, so I’ll stop here for today… if you have questions

about how to prevent arguments in your marriage, feel free to leave them in the comments section

below this video and I’ll try to give you some advice. I also offer 1-on-1 marriage

coaching to a select number of clients… if you’re interested in learning more about

my personal coaching program, please visit MarriageGuy.com/Coaching.

Thanks very much for watching, and thanks for your likes and subscribes as well… the

support is very much appreciated.

OK, that’s it for now, see you next time!