First, steer clear of criticism, confrontation and hostility. They’re like gas on a fire. University of California researchers who followed 79 couples for more than a decade found that early divorcers fought long and loud and were always on the attack—or the defensive. Happy couples, on the other hand, avoid verbalizing critical thoughts, keep discussions from escalating, and don’t use absolutes like “never” and “always.”
If a fight does start, try to change the subject, inject gentle humor, empathize or show your spouse extra appreciation. Too late? Call a truce, walk away and cool off for a while.
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