Where people exist, a conflict exists. Children fight amongst each other; teenagers have their angst and can go from hot to cold in a second. Adults argue at work, at home, at the supermarket or even at the movies. Everyone fights. So what is the big deal? Marital differences are essentially the same – only exacerbated due to people knowing each other intimately and being locked into the bonds of matrimony for eternity! This binding agreement can complicate things and lead to situations where a simple argument over “who takes the garbage out” can become an all-out war. 

Now that you know this is a common problem – how does one deal with it? There are 5 simple solutions no matter where you are in the world, regardless of who you have been married to and for how long and irrespective of what the argument may be. ”Only 5?” you ask. Well, one can complicate matters and make it 500 solutions but, at the end of the day, it is just these 5 principles. Has that got your curiosity piqued? Then let’s get straight to it. 

  • Call a spade “a spade” – The first solution is simply labeling the problem as a difference of opinion. 90% of all arguments can be easily resolved if you understand it is one person having a different point of view from another. No need to hype it up into something bigger than it is. No need to label by using negative words. Maybe you wanted to go to that exclusive bar with the private access passes you got this Friday while your significant other wants to chill at home with beer, Netflix and takeout! Soon both of you are hurling abuses and the next thing you know – he lands up on the couch or you are packing your bags to move on as you made a horrible mistake. How did such a simple matter get so complicated? All you had to do was decide a Friday night yet you land up calling him a bum, he claims you party too much, suddenly your past gets pulled into the picture and before you know it you are screaming insults and throwing the furniture. 
  • Choose your battle – So you both think your Friday night plans are the best plans in the world. Neither of you wants to give in. This is your chance to let him win this one so you can pitch for that weekend in Cabo he is dead against. Either way, you win! Choose your playfield. Either he will get his act together for the night so both of you can get hammered at Club Privé or you can shop till you drop for those jaw-dropping bikinis you will be wearing in Cabo! Not only does this method work in resolving these daily differences, but it also gives your spouse the belief of being in charge to decide which hell they prefer! Both of you go from a no-win situation to a win-win situation. 

  • Treat them like your business colleague – and I mean this in the most professional way possible for resolving conflicts. Would you be hurling insults at your boss if they gave you a project to complete at 5 pm on a Friday night or would you give them a smile and say “I’ll see what I can do at this hour”? Then why won’t you treat your spouse with the same courtesy? Sound lame? It actually works better than any other advice you may have heard. This method forces you to quelch the inner demon that is just about to say something nasty, it makes you choose a better alternative of dealing with the problem and it gives you the advantage of treating your spouse in such a sweet way when in fact – they were expecting you to outright refuse. “Honey, I can’t make it to dinner tonight “ should merit the same response as “ The presentation that you slogged on for 5 hours won’t be needed anymore.” Yes it is frustrating, yes you put your blood, sweat, and tears but you won’t behave like a five-year-old in the midst of a tantrum. Walk away with your head held high and wait for the right moment to let them know that what they said or did was unacceptable. There will be another opportunity to let them know. A marriage is a contract and should be treated with the same sanctity of any other contract. 
  • Don’t turn back time– although this one is much harder than any of the other methods, it is absolutely crucial. When you are in the midst of these discussions, stay in the present. Don’t use the past or bring up instances of their failures and mishaps to win this argument. So they forgot to pick up the dry cleaning this time – how does that relate to the time they forgot to pay off an electricity bill or another time when they forgot to bring the kids home from a playdate? Do not bring back examples as it won’t end there. Soon they will pull out harsh memories of when you forgot your colored with their whites and ruined their favorite outfit or worse when you forgot to pick up their relatives from the airport!
  • Breathe – the simplest solution and a marriage saver. If only all of us could take a deep breath before saying anything which we know can destroy the fabric of our marriage, divorce lawyers would have a hard time generating revenue. A deep breath would have enabled you to hold back those stinging words, or better yet, say something sweeter or more funnier and turned the fight into a joke. That all-important deep breath prevents our ego from taking over and hurting them. That deep breath is what makes a marriage successful. That deep breath is what unlocks the sweet memories of why you are in this blissful situation for all eternity.