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Instant Fight Stoppers

13. Know when to quit

Don't look for closure in the middle of the argument by hounding your mate to validate your point, says Weiner-Davis. If he gives in, even grudgingly, back off and let him save face. Sometimes an argument goes on simply because one person refuses to let it end. John Schofield, 40, of Chippewa, PA, uses this simple reminder: "I think of that old song 'The Gambler' by Kenny Rogers — the one that goes, 'You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em; know when to walk away, know when to run.'"

14. Think happy thoughts

Try to remind yourself of why the two of you are together in the first place, using a specific image. "When I'm mad at my husband, I take a deep breath and make myself recall that magic moment when we first met, or how caring he is when I'm sick, or what great sex we had last night," says Kate Scott, 28, of Houston, TX.

15. Call on a higher power

No matter what your religious faith, prayer can be a powerful force. Not long ago, 40-year-old Sue Lewis of Grand Rapid, was driving to a weekend marriage retreat with her husband. "I was suffering from PMS, I was cranky, and we started fighting about money," she says. In the middle of the argument, the same thought struck her and her husband: "We were on our way to a church retreat to improve our marriage, and here we were, bickering. So we talked about the fact that we had invited God into our marriage and that we should call on him during the tough times. We prayed as we drove; it was amazing how smoothly the rest of the weekend went."

16. Ask yourself: "Would I rather be right — or be happy?"

Quell the urge to prove yourself right every time, even if you are the most blameless woman on the planet. "You can be right and miserable for the rest of your life," says Weiner-Davis. "You need to move beyond that sticking point."

 

Originally published on October 15, 2007

 

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