How to Defuse Arguments With Your New Spouse

An angry couple sits apart after an argument.

You’d be hard pressed to find a relationship that doesn’t have occasional arguments. When two people decide to cohabitate and build a life together, there are going to be some disagreements. Sometimes arguments can be about serious life subjects, but more often than not, they are about something silly. Maybe one partner forgets to take out the trash or constantly leaves jackets on the back of chairs instead of hanging them up in the closet (just a random example, not at all based on this writer’s personal experience).

Although it’s likely you’ll have arguments flare up periodically throughout your marriage, newlyweds often have a period of adjustment to married life. This can be the case whether you’ve lived together for years or have never even spent the night together. The important thing is to be patient and to learn strategies on how to defuse arguments with your new spouse.

Here are a few ideas on how to cool down when you and your spouse are in the middle of a heated argument.

A couple faces opposite directions in bed after an argument

Take a Breather

When people are angry and upset, they’re more likely to say things they don’t mean. Your instinct might be to sit in a room and hash it out until you reconcile. While this isn’t a bad strategy, and it’s good to be communicative, sometimes you just need a minute to take a breath.

Take a brief pause and suggest that you separate for a few minutes to take some deep breaths and gain some perspective. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of moments of silence and then you’re back to feeling like yourself, and you are less likely to insult your partner over something silly.

Make Them Laugh

They say that laughter is the best medicine, and maybe it’s also the best way to end a fight. When you and your spouse start to argue over something trivial and it just seems like it’s going nowhere, try humor as an anecdote. If you can get them to crack a smile, you know a reconciliation is going to happen pretty soon.

Be Honest—Without Sarcasm or Insults

Instead of cloaking how you really feel with sarcasm and insults (which frankly get you nowhere), try being honest with your partner about why you’re upset with him or her. If, for example, it drives you crazy that your partner doesn’t let you know when family is going to drop by, then say so directly: “I would love it if you told me when your family was going to drop by because I want to make sure I’m ready for their visit.”

Two women argue on a sofa

Communicating directly about how you’re feeling, instead of masking it behind anger and insults, will lead to more resolutions and less arguing. It will also improve the effectiveness of your communication together.

Ignore Their Crankiness

Sometimes people get cranky. Maybe your spouse just got up on the wrong side of the bed, or maybe he or she is going through a major transition at work. Whatever the reason, sometimes your spouse can get cranky and should get a pass. We’re all human, after all.

If you can sense that your partner is wanting to argue because of crankiness, just ignore it. Occasionally, people are just looking for a fight. When you don’t give in, they just back down.

A couple argues on a couch

Know When to Seek Professional Help

Every couple argues (and some professionals even say that it’s healthy to do so), but you should be able to tell the difference between a normal couple’s spat and a serious relationship issue. If you find that you’re having the same argument over and over again, or if one or both of you are seriously unhappy in the relationship, then it might be time to seek out counseling or other professional help.

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