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If You're Going to Fight, Fight Right

Tips for a healthy, stress-free marriage

If you're married, you are going to fight. The key, experts say, is to handle conflict in a healthy way so it doesn't create unnecessary stress in your marriage.

An article from the Detroit Free Press identifies five different styles of dealing with conflict, and each style can be adapted to create less strife when it comes to fights.

The first style: The "Ready-Fire-Aim" crowd. They shoot first, ask questions later. That means fights escalate quickly and cause lots of damage. The alternative is to slow down, think about what you are feeling and what you really want to say. Try to understand the point of view of the person you are arguing with before you formulate a response.

"Crock-potters," on the other hand, might wait too long before addressing a problem. Then, when they do, it's World War III. So, wait and consider what you are saying. But don't let waiting be an excuse for stewing.

Members of the "me right/you wrong" group will go to any length to prove they're right. And, sometimes they are. The article suggests, however, that you should sometimes give up the right to be right in the greater interest of getting along with your mate.

"Tomb-ers" go the Crock-potters one better. They'll avoid conflict at any cost. Their favorite expression? "Everything's fine," usually said with tight lips and crossed arms. These folks need to open up, but it will take work to do that.

"Historians" are all that their name implies. They'll remember everything you ever did wrong. The solution for them? Forget about it.

The key, adds the article, is not to dwell on your partner's fighting style, but to figure out your style and do something about it.

If how to have a stress-free marriage seems like a mystery to you, you might want to read this article, "The Secrets of a Stress-Free Marriage," from Are you the type to keep score? Then check out this quiz from Redbook.

Consumer News