How To Have One Less Fight


You know your partner. You know what it is that you do that ticks him off before you do it. For example:

Bob knows that Serena hates loud music. Every time he puts in a heavy metal CD, he can count how many seconds it will take for her to come into the room yelling, “Turn that down. Does it have to be so loud?” Bob loves loud metal and most of the time he listens to it when he is in the car going to and from work. But, every once and while…

Serena’s cousin Cindy calls from her new apartment in Vegas, and Serena knows she will be on the phone for an hour. She also knows Bob hates it when she talks to Cindy so long. Maybe he feels a little abandoned. Maybe he’s jealous. Maybe it is the fact that Serena has so much to say to her cousin and not enough to say to Bob. Thus, most of the time Serena calls Cindy on the nights Bob exercises at the gym. But, every once in a while….

For days like these, here’s how you can do some of you want to do some of the time without it devolving into that old familiar argument:

Repair the fight before it happens Like this:

Every once in a while Bob likes to play his heavy metal CD indoors, on his fabulous system that cost him an arm and a leg and took him hours to adjust perfectly. When that happens, he tells Serena an hour or so in advance, “I know you hate my music loud, but I want to listen to a Led Zeppelin remix a little later today. Is 2pm good or would 4 better?”

Every once and a while when Bob is home, Serena has something she just can’t wait to talk to Cindy about. Thirty minutes or so, before the phone call, she says to Bob, “I know you hate it when I stay on the phone with Cindy, but I want to speak with her about something. I think it will take an hour. Is there anything you’d like to talk with me about before I get on the phone?”

Both of these scenarios rely on central marital truths that happy couples know.

  1. They show respect for their partner by addressing their partner’s feelings in advance rather than waiting for the fallout.
  2. They show recognition of how these same issues have created bad feelings in the past.
  3. They prepare their partner by offering a chance to say what they need to say first, thus softening tensions.

Some fights are going to happen between you no matter what, but this is what is meant by the expression “choose your battles.”

NOTE: When you say the phone call is going to take an hour, rest assured your partner will know when 61 minutes have gone by.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please address questions or comments to

Posted: Feb 21, 04:25 PM in Arguments

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