“Frequent, smaller disagreements are much better than less-frequent big blow-ups. If you wait until frustrations have built up, you’re much more likely to react explosively. It’s like a volcano erupting.” – Jill Whitney, marriage and family therapist who blogs about relationships at KeepTheTalkGoing.com.
When people try to stuff down their annoyances for a long time, the eventual arguments can become a laundry list of attacks: “And another thing…!” The other person feels blindsided, overwhelmed and defensive. Little gets resolved.
Instead, express concerns more often, at the time they come up or soon after.
If you raise issues as soon as you’re calm, but while the subject is still fresh, the other person is more likely to remember the situation.
Focus on the specific problem and request a solution: “It’d be really helpful if next time you would ___.”
That gives the other person something to work with. More important, you’re both less likely to be flooded with emotion, so you’re better able to problem-solve together.
For small, silly fights? The key is to keep them from becoming real fights.
Rather than taking that sort of complaint personally, be playful about it. Just smile at your sweetie and agree: “Yeah, it’s so weird that we don’t have pudding in the house. It’s a mystery to me. But you can buy some pudding if you like.” Keep it light and save your emotional energy for things that actually matter.
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If love and marriage puzzle you, Tracy McMillan’s talk might offer some relief.