The pastor who married us, the Reverend Doctor Mark Dalbey, gave us a valuable piece of advice during out premarital counseling: “Fight well.” He did not mean we should keep our center of gravity low and unleash short, quick jabs to the face. He meant that, since arguments in marriage are inevitable, we should work to resolve them in the most direct, least harmful way possible.
What he didn’t tell us was how exactly to do that. That’s what we’ve been figuring out ourselves. So, in the interest of sharing some of our hard-won wisdom with other couples, we present to you a few of the Vore’s Time-Tested Ways to Defuse An Argument:
- Don’t let the sun set on your anger.
- Buy your wife flowers.
- Admit blame.
- Blame it on the cat.
- Point and say, “Look over there!”, then bolt out of room.
- Cut your hair.
- Color your hair.
- Lighten mood by saying, “I’d cut or color my hair … if I had any left!” (only works for balding people)
- Pretend problems don’t exist by going on shopping spree and accumulating massive credit card debt.
- Lock yourself in bedroom and crank Korn at full blast.
- Hang sign on bathroom door that says, “Every time we fight, God kills a kitten.”
- Use patented “oven mitt” method, in which each spouse can talk only when he/she has the oven mitt, passing the mitt back and forth as grievances are aired, and — are you freakin’ done with the oven mitt yet? Will you please just give me the mitt? Please?? You’ve had it for TEN MINUTES. Yes, I’m talking without the mitt because you won’t give it to me, you mitt-hog. You’re a mitt-hog! What? What’d you say? I can’t hear you! My hands are pressed too firmly over my ears! La la la la! (point across room) Hey, look over there!”
- Avoid saying “Put it on my tab” like Steve Carell.
- Find a stress-relieving hobby, like gardening, or shooting a gun in the makeshift shooting range in the basement.
- Focus on the act, not your spouse’s character. Good: “My feelings were hurt when you shared that embarrassing anecdote with our friends last night.” Bad: “The fact you showed no discretion talking about me to our friends last night suggests you have only slightly better social skills than that of a neanderthal and were likely raised by baboons.” Even worse: Pointing at spouse and making baboon sounds while scratching armpits. Absolutely the worst: Flinging poop at the walls to spell out, “You = Raised By Monkeys.”
- Apologize again.
- Hug and make up.
- Say, “I didn’t mean what I just said, and I’ll patch up the bullet holes in the washer and dryer because I love you.”
- Offer to rinse your poop stains off the wall.
So, in summary, just make sure you don’t liken your spouse to one of these:
Of course, we haven’t perfected the art of fighting well, and there are certainly others out there who have been married longer than we have. Any helpful tips we missed? We’re all ears, as long as we’re not covering them with our hands.