My nephew got married this weekend, hence my blogging vacation (48 lonely hours). With my ninth wedding anniversary just days away (a lonely ninth) I gotta hand it to everyone in today’s non-committal world who actually takes the plunge.

Friday night at the wedding dinner we went around offering advice and consolation. One of the givers chose not to offer any advice, because she said no one ever takes it anyway. She’s got a point. I know plenty of experienced spouses offered sage wisdom the night of our wedding, and I can’t remember a word of it. Stupid, stupid newlywed.

So here are a few Highly Suggested But Rarely Practiced fighting fair tips that can make the first year (or the ninth) rock. If you happen to be one of those couples who never fights (I hear you’re out there somewhere…probably floating around in the cosmos all lovey-dovey like) good luck with that. Otherwise, please take my random tidbits with a handful of sea salt.

1. DO go to bed angry. Whoever suggested couples should mend their fences before turning off the light did not have my (WONDERFUL) marriage. We logged so many all-nighter’s our first year because someone told us you’re not supposed to go to bed angry. We finally realized that sleep and sunrise are the two best cures for a stalemate. So if you hate him, sleep on it. He’s usually cuter in the morning.

2. Dr. Phil always says, “Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?” Seriously. Is it worth ramrodding your rightness down your spouse’s throat just for the personal satisfaction of waving the “I Told You So” flag around for an afternoon? Like that really makes things better? The best line I ever learned in our second year of marriage (to be delivered without sarcasm), is “Well honey, you might be right.” Smile. Kiss. Turn around and roll eyes. This brings much peace.

3. Sometimes it helps to throw things. I haven’t had to utilize this technique for a number of years, and there are those who belong to the school of thought that there is something evil in over-handing a pillow or screwdriver across the room, but I have found moments where this little trick calms me right down. And I don’t recommend throwing screwdrivers. Think soft, pliable, preferably made from plastic.

4. Kendra suggested giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt. In other words, he (or she) might say something that feels callous and unkind, but in reality they just communicate differently. Probably not best to jump to the conclusion that they’re out to slam you because of semantics.

5. Hold tight to your rose-colored glasses.

6. Don’t be afraid to take a time-out. If you’re about to hurl something unkind your spouse’s way (words or screwdrivers), pay attention to the panic button and evacuate asap. Large quantities of oxygen sucked in before responding tends to slow the Caddy Remark Steamroller down.

7. Don’t just take space, be willing to give space. Let the man sit in his cave and chill out, he’s usually much better afterwards.

8. If at all possible, take an I’m sorry and run with it. Our first year of marriage we spent way too much time ping-ponging “I’m sorry’s” across the board waiting for the other player to drop his paddle and accept. If you get an apology, take it. It might be another two days before they try again.

I would kill to have Jason around right now to practice fighting and making up with. If you have a spouse who’s present and accounted for, lucky you. So go kiss him already.


  1. I am wishing Will was here to fight with tonight myself. I love the “Do go to bed angry” because that totally works for us as well. We are not happy people when we are tired. In fact I am so the opposite of a night owl, if Will wants to “discuss” something past 10, he will be discussing it with himself, because I will be asleep. Kind of hard to argue with someone who is snoring!

  2. Hmm, that was so funny I was just thinking about that last night. By the end of the day I am more irritable and easily annoyed and if I jumped down Bryce’s throat for things that annoyed me in the evening/night-we’d fight and never get to bed.

    I find in the morning the sun and sleep have made me a much more sane person and my husband has avoided a totally unknown-to-him fight that almost errupted the night before. Oh his unknowing bliss!

  3. Or you could be me and have a husband who won’t fight. This is such a shame, because I am a GREAT fighter. Throwing things and yelling (I’ve been known to do both) cause him to shut his eyes in mock sleep, or leave.

    Instead I have to keep it calm, cool, and productive. Otherwise I lose all chance of making my point. It’s hard to argue with someone who just walked out the door.

  4. I love it! I had a “draft” of something similiar in my head a week or so ago. I have SO MANY friends going through divorces right now for little things. It makes you think.

  5. I have been happily (honest!) married for 23+ years. I agree with you advice list. Except for #3. I’ve never thrown anything at husband all these years. Not that I never wanted to. I just go straight to #6 when the temptation comes along 🙂

  6. Totally off topic, (sorry, Sean and I don’t fight) but I love love love your blurb about comments. It’s priceless!

  7. I completely agree, and it was nice to smile while nodding my head…proves I CAN do two things at once, contrary to (my husband’s) popular opinion.

    Anyway, number one is a certainty around our house, number three happens on occasion, number six is being improved upon, as are numbers seven and eight. After almost 10 years, we’re gettin’ there!

  8. Ooo, great advice. #1 is my favorite. Why not go to bed mad? I guess some people just hold a grudge for a long time. Even when we’re extremely mad, we usually end up with our feet on each other’s legs before we fall asleep. Maybe too much information? Whatever.

  9. Can a time-out be a spa trip? “I need a time-out, give me all the credit cards, I’ll see you in 3 days.” Good advice, sounds sort of like newspaper column.

  10. This is a great post…I am also a believer in going to bed angry, it usually wears off in the night 🙂
    Luckily we don’t have to do that much any more, we are getting better!
    By the way, I love the Princess Bride reference in the title!

  11. All good points. We spent the first couple years of our marriage learning #1 and I remember having the realization, “We SHOULD just go to bed angry.”