Learn to Argue Productively

All couples fight. The key is to do it productively. That’s not easy, but it can be done, and it’s vital to a lasting union. So, courtesy of the website DiscoveryHealth, here’s how to disagree and make your marriage better at the same time:

• Send “I” messages. Marriage expert John Gottman swears by this advice, because “I” messages don’t put your partner on the defensive. So, if you want a little more help around the house, saying, “I think we need to talk about chores” sends an entirely different message than, “You’re such a slacker.”

• Be empathetic. The important thing here is to make sure your partner knows you’re listening. So, say something like, “I understand that you feel like you do most of the work. What can I do to help?” Once your spouse knows you see the problem through their eyes, how you split up the chores will be less important.

• Talk through a compromise. This means more than coming up with a solution you both can accept. You also need to discuss what could prevent the compromise from working. For instance, suppose you agree to cook dinner three nights a week, but have to work late on one of your nights. If you talk about it beforehand and have a plan, your spouse won’t be tapping their foot and looking at the clock when you come through the door.

• Say “Thanks.” According to a study done by The Pew Research Center, feeling appreciated means more to people than feeling like they’re being treated fairly.