Instant Fight Stoppers
7. Act like an idiot
For Nancy Roman, 35, of Linden, NJ, arguments often end in laughter. "At
the beginning of our marriage, whenever we argued, my husband left the house to
cool off and I sat and stewed," she says. "In recent years he has
started making these silly faces in the middle of an argument and sticking his
tongue out at me. I totally lose it and start laughing — thus the argument
ends!" Likewise, 27-year-old Angela Barr of Beaufort, SC, raises her fists
in a mock sparring gesture and says, "Wanna fight? Come on, let's
fight" when she and her husband start quarreling. Then they laugh and the
moment passes. "Lately we both break the tension by 'begging' to fight with
each other," she says. "Sometimes our teasing will turn into a
wrestling/tickling match that ends with both of us in giggles."
One caveat: Don't overdo it, says New York psychotherapist Gilda Carle.
Humor is "relationship glue," but being snide or shooting barbs at your
husband won't help. And never poke fun about sensitive issues, such as weight
or sex problems. "You can't laugh about what's really bothering your
partner, or he'll feel he's not being taken seriously," says Carle.
8. Phone it in
Many men respond better to a voice over the telephone than to a steaming
woman in front of them, says Carle. She once settled a long argument with her
husband simply by calling him on the second line — the two were in the same
house but in separate rooms — and hashed it out over the phone. You can do the
same thing with a cell phone; neither of you sees any rolling eyes or other
physical signals that can add fuel to the fire.
9. Take turns having fun
When Denise Mussman, 35, of St. Louis, headed out to a Cardinals game with
her husband and her 3-year-old daughter, she says "My husband was crabby,
he didn't want to go, and my first impulse was to say, 'Why did you agree to
come?'" When Mussman realized that her husband was going to the game to
please her, she backed off. "I told him that afterward we would do whatever
he wanted to do. He was like a little kid — his mood changed immediately. We
had a good time at the game, then came home and had a barbecue."