3 Tips to Avoid Fighting with Your Spouse

By Kim Hall on Monday, July 8, 2013

3 Tips to Avoid Fighting With Your Spouse

When I read this post by HWC contributor, Kim Hall, the first thing I thought was “Yes!”  I have always been a true believer that arguments aren’t a requirement in marriage; quite the contrary.  

In the this post, Kim gives three things you can do to successfully get your point across without saying something you are likely to later regret.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Does your marriage ever hit rough spots?

Perhaps they are about time, money, the kids, or different visions for the future.

Whatever the topic, there are often times hot buttons that can set you off, and the two of you head predictably down that old rocky path to nowhere.

Tempers flare, thoughts pop out, and words burn.

Instead of traveling down that rocky path, I have three suggestions that have worked in our home to avoid fighting, and I believe they will help create a smoother journey in yours as well.

1. When you feel like yelling, speak quietly. Take slow, deep, tummy breaths, and give yourself a few moments before responding.  Hang your jaw for good measure during those moments, too. Yes, you may look and feel silly—I always do!—but it makes it much harder to feel angry. Be very intentional about the volume and tone of your voice and the words you choose.

Food for thought: If a fiery response from your last argument were the last words you ever said to your spouse, would you be grateful or regretful?

2. When you feel like condemning, be curious and questioning. Did you know you can’t be curious and angry at the same time? Being curious helps keep you calmer and more relaxed. Being curious also helps to create an environment where you come together to solve a problem rather than being at odds over it. Asking quality questions will help you gather useful information that will illuminate and help solve problems.

Food for thought: If this was a good friend instead of your hubby, would you respond with more understanding?

3. When you feel like withholding affection, be abundantly generous with your loveThis requires letting go of hurts and annoyances and remembering that your relationship is bigger than dishes in the sink, dirty laundry on the floor, or trash that needs to go out. When you are talking things over, sit side by side. Relax your muscles and take more deep, slow breaths.  Recall how you felt when you were dating, and reach out and touch your husband. (No worries about mixed signals: Remember Sheila’s post about physical touch not being a down payment.)

Food for thought: If you had just five minutes left on this earth, would that change your perspective and behavior?

All of these strategies take practice.

Be patient, graceful and forgiving with yourself and your spouse.

Recognize your habits will take time to change, as they generally have taken years to form.

Practice will never make your communication perfect, but it will certainly make it more peaceful and productive!

Question: What tips can you share to avoid fighting with your husband?

May you find happiness wherever you are!

Kim @ Too Darn Happy


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Kim Hall

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy with the mission of helping you find happiness in all circumstances through the encouragement of faith, the practice of gratitude, and the discovery of joy, all spun together with fresh perspectives, practical advice, and a personal touch. She recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-30 Days to a Happier You.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comment Policy
  • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

    Thanks, Kim, for this post! I’ll add one point my husband loves to encourage couples to do: “Always presume innocence.” When you do that, you’re able to always address a situation in love with patience and grace.

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      That is an excellent point, Fawn! I know when I haven’t, I have always been sorry. I know I don’t like to have Keith assume I am guilty!

  • http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/ Nan

    Great post, Kim! I love what you said about our relationships being bigger (and thus more important) than dishes and laundry, etc. One thing is to be honest about your motivation. Sometime you can be upset about something ELSE and yet your emotions will push you to take our your annoyance or stress on your spouse.

    You have to accept that you’re feeling grumpy because you’re tired or feeling rushed or running late or whatever, and not allow it to push you into a fight with your husband.

    • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Great point! And we all get grumpy or annoyed sometimes, right? It’s okay to feel that way (at least that’s my opinion) but what’s most important is that we don’t take that out on our spouse. Just say, “Honey, I’m feeling a little grumpy right now. I probably need a little more patience than usual” and keep it movin’ :) .

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      That is so true, Nan! I think that is one of our biggest triggers: allowing of the other stress we take on in our lives to spill out onto our spouses. :-( I sadly admit I have been guilty, although I do apologize when I do it.

      I wrote a piece on my blog about deflecting life’s slings and arrows that gives a lot more suggestions in this area. You can see it here: http://www.toodarnhappy.com/2012/10/29/deflecting-arrows/

      • Vera Morgan

        My name is becky from UK I have to give this miraculous testimony,
        which is so unbelievable until now. I had a problem with my Ex husband
        2years ago, which lead to our break up. when he broke up with me, I was
        not my self again, i felt so empty inside me, my love and financial
        situation became worst, until a close friend of mine Lucy told me about a
        spell caster who helped her in the same problem too his name is Dr
        okosun. I email dr.okosun1spelltemple@gmail.com
        and i told him my problem and i did what he asked of me, to cut the
        long story short. Before i knew what was happening my husband gave me a
        call and told me that he was coming back to me in just 2days and was so
        happy to have him back to me. We have two kids together and we are happy
        with ourselves. Thanks to Dr okosun for saving my relationship and for
        also saving others own too. continue your good work, If you are
        interested to contact him and testify this blessings like me, the great
        spell caster email address is dr.okosun1spelltemple@gmail.com you are the best among all the spell caster online I hope you see my testimonies and also pray for my family too

  • JLP

    Hi! Great post and I totally think all of these strategies are what could help. However, my husband doesn’t seem to react in a positive way to all three of these. When we disagree about something, especially something he feels very strongly about, we used to get very loud (both of our backgrounds are Italian families), it was what we were used to at home. His experience was compounded by a mother who manipulated her family by crying and making a scene when she didn’t like something or get what she wanted. I am a Kindergarten teacher and realized very quickly that solving frustrations and disagreements needed those involved to stay calm. However, it seems like when I do take some deep breaths and talk softer and slower he accuses me of treating him like a child or one of my students. When I try to be calm and curious, asking him questions such as “I would love to know the reason you feel that way more, could you explain it more so I can understand or we can solve this?”, he gets defensive and tells me not to analyze him or he just wants to be done talking about it all and then stops talking to me all together. I will even try over again a few times and it just seems to aggravate him more. Also, I believe that when in a disagreement with your spouse I am to ultimately to support my husbands decision, if it is in line with God’s will and word. Someone has to decided in the end and sometimes he does want me to decide and will ask for my help sometimes. Anyways, he knows this and I feel like he is almost taking advantage of that and sometimes already makes up his mind without me involved and he doesn’t see anything wrong with not including my opinion. As much as I try, it always upsets me in the end and my voice raises again and if that doesn’t happen I give up and just go in the other room, often times crying in private because I know that I don’t want to be like his mother and cry in front of him to get what I want. I know this won’t help. Usually 10 min. later he looks for me and as much as I try to hide it he knows I was upset. He won’t apologize though but instead will try to reassure me that everything will be ok, as if I am just upset because I am not getting what I want. So I guess I am trying to understand what to do now. Last time I just told him I was tired of trying to talk about things with him. Now I tend to just agree to keep the peace, which then he gets frustrated and tells me that he doesn’t want to just “yes” him. I respond by telling him I don’t know what else to do.

    This doesn’t happen constantly but it does happen at least a few times a month and over the same issues, which I have pointed out in an effort to notice the issue and then try to solve the problem together. However, I am met with being ignored or the subject changed quickly. When I ask why he feels like avoiding it I get more avoidance. Anyways, maybe I think I am going about things in a good way and I am actually not. I will keep up with these strategies, hoping that eventually they will work.

    If you have any more advice I would love it! I love my husband and most of the time we communicate really well and we love each other very much all the time. He is my best friend I just feel like he doesn’t treat my opinion or thoughts very seriously sometimes. Maybe I am just worrying about nothing! :) Not sure.

    Thank you for your time and guidance.

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      Thanks for sharing, JLP. Glad to hear there are more better communication days than not.

      You ask a great question. I would recommend the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a terrific read on what makes us all tick, and how focusing on the positive makes a real difference in our marriage. I would also encourage you to start a gratitude journal for your hubbie. You can read about it here: http://www.toodarnhappy.com/2011/10/10/got-5-minutes-its-the-absolute-best-christmas-gift-idea-ever/

    • http://www.onepartjoyonepartcircus.com/ AJ Collins

      I think telling your husband that you are going to do these three things and the reasons why can go a long way to cutting through defensiveness. My husband often reacted in the same way as it sounds like your husband does, and through therapy we discovered that part of this is because he felt this incredible pressure to be my “hero” all the time, and if he couldn’t solve it he would become silent to avoid “failing” me… but if he is your best friend, he will be able to see your good intentions. :) Just my two cents.

  • suszyQ

    What wonderful tips. I especially like be curious. I will definitely work on being curious over frustration and anger. Thank you for encouraging and supporting a lifetime of having a happy marriage!

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      You are very welcome, and thanks for joining in the conversation, SusyQ!

  • Happily Married

    If you make an agreement with your spouse when everything is going great….that when you are in an argument or at odds, that you both would STOP and get naked together lay in bed and finish the argument, the odds are there will be a positive out come and decision….plus its a great ending:-)

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      That is certainly a fresh perspective on how to handle disagreements with your spouse! :-)

  • Alecia

    Love this! Thoughts affect feelings affect actions. When we do something deliberately like talk quietly when we feel like yelling that action has a great impact on our negative thoughts and feelings.

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      Absolutely, Alecia! Our responses start in the mind, travel through our heart and then are evident in our actions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://www.onepartjoyonepartcircus.com/ AJ Collins

    I think touching when you are having a disagreement can help too. Recently my husband and I were having a difficult conversation, and I have him a head rub, and then he gave me a back rub during the conversation. It changed the underlying tension…

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      I love that, AJ. Talk about changing the entire tone of the conversation! Thanks for sharing an example of how physical touch can help!

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Great thoughts Kim, as always. I like and identify with all of them. # 3 stands out because I’ve learned that feelings follow actions. I don’t have to be feeling sweet and affectionate for me to give that to my husband. Actually the lack of those affection, as you’ve highlighted ought to be the trigger to give abundantly! Not easy of-course, esp in the beginning but the results are worth the short season of discomfort where ‘make’ give when we’d rather withhold!

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      Well said, Ngina! I do have trouble with that one, but you have hit it on the head. It’s like the science on feeling happier: when you smile (the action), you actually feel happier (the feeling). Feelings follow actions. Thanks for sharing how this has worked in your life! I pray your words inspire others.

  • Ilene Evans

    I think these tips can help avoid fighting with children as well. Sometimes, I just to accusatory to quickly when I am always much better off asking questions first. Excellent advice, KIm.

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      I think most people fall short in this area but once we’ve mastered it, Oh happy day!

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      That sounds a lot like the way I used to parent, Ilene. It took lots of practice and tongue biting to get better at asking first rather than jumping on them and insisting on being right. Thanks for coming on over!

  • Mrs. Bower

    This is amazing advice! How do I pin this onto my pinterest?

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      So happy you liked it! To pin this to your Pinterest board, just click on the “Pin It” button directly beneath the image. That’ll take you straight to your boards.

      • Khedra B Graham

        Hello everyone i want to share a live testimony on how Dr Alex was
        able to bring my husband back to me, myself and my husband were on a
        serious breakup, even before then we were always quarreling fighting and
        doing different ungodly act..
        My husband packed his things out of
        the house and we had to live in different area, despite all this i was
        looking for a way to re_unite with my husband, not until i met Dr Alex
        the great spell caster who was able to bring my husband back home, Dr
        Alex cast a love spell for me, and after some time i started seen
        results about the spell….
        Today my family is back again and we are
        happy living fine and healthy, with Dr Alex all my dream came through
        in re_uniting my marriage, friends in case you need the help of Dr Alex
        kindly mail him on( solutionhelpcentre@gmail.com ) or call him on +2347036013351, Sir i will forever recommend you!!! …

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      I am so touched you loved the advice-thank you. I do hope it leads to a stronger and more satisfying marriage, and relationships in general for you!

  • Anonymous Indiana Wife

    I love all of these ideas. I have attempted them at times. I am a step-mom. My husband and I got custody when the twins were 12 and they have lived with us ever since. They are now 20 years old. My husband and I went through some tough times leading up to getting custody of them. We would argue quite a bit. I tend to yell and name call. (I know that’s not right and I’m working on it.) There was a time where I was distancing myself from him and the girls because I was preparing for a separation and divorce because of actions of his. When we decided to try to make it work, I still felt very distant from them and everything they did (or didn’t do) caused immense frustration and eventually anger because he wouldn’t take care of it. Now they don’t like me and one recently moved out because of me. I don’t know what to do but any time I even bring up his kids (both good and bad) he explodes and we end up in an argument because he thinks I’m just picking them apart and that I don’t want him to have anything to do with them. I don’t feel this way but do feel a little left out and jealous. I’m not sure what to do but I can’t bring myself to do these things all of the time. I feel walked on, and like I’m the one always apologizing and trying to make the situation better. Please help!

  • natasha433


  • West coast mom/wife

    I have been with my spouse( boyfriend ) for three years now. We have 1 daughter together ( 5 months) and he has a daughter, and I have 3 boys. We have had periods of strain on our relationship due to many factors……kids,long hours at work,ex’s,…….He is a very logical and kind man but he tends to omit the truth to me a lot. For instance his daughter from his previous marriage is not his biological daughter and I have known this since before we started dating. He has never come to me and told me this and discussed it.He allows his ex wife to dictate everything that happens with their daughter and for a number of reasons I don’t think this is right. For one I am his spouse, Why would he not share this with me? I let it go for the first couple years but thought for sure when we moved in together and then later when I was having our daughter he would tell me. I love her , she is my daughter in so many ways. His wife cheated on him and didn’t tell him for two years (after he had fallen in love with what he thought was his biological daughter). This and so many other reasons is why I don’t trust his ex, I seem to have more of an issue than he does about her. The other most recent issue is that his uncle (who doesn’t live here) just sent a card for Christmas and at the bottom it said Merry Christmas to him , his ex and their daughter…… he somehow has failed to tell him not only have they broken up but that he’s with me and we have a daughter along with my three other children…..he told me about this and asked for photo’s to send him …… this which I was thankful for ( 6 weeks after the fact) but at least he told me. So I sent him two emails with photo’s one with ones of our daughter , his daughter and him and him mom and in the second email I sent more pictures of our daughter, all the kids , and our daughter with me. I asked if he sent these on and told his uncle about me. he said no but would that night . He had sent the email with the photo’s of just him , his mom and the girls. The email that shows nothing about me or my kids . He has now received an e-mail from his uncle saying congrats to him and his ex on OUR daughter !! I am kinda infuriated about this because his omitting the truth has not only snowballed but it feels pretty crappy that someone in his family thinks his ex is the mother to my child. I feel disrespected and don’t really know how to discuss this with him without him getting upset. Ya I snooped in his email, but I also don’t think there should be secrets or things omitted in relationships. My secrets are his secrets. I try and for a long time to give opportunities for him to tell me things and he never took them. I don’t know if I can be in a relationship with someone who’s not proud to be with me and doesn’t tell me important things like I mentioned above. How can I talk to him about this …….?I don’t want this to cause a fight ….

  • Yola

    I love the advice! I dont fight much with my hubby but its great advice to have and to pass on to my girlfriends!

  • emilly

    My name is Emilly Thompson and my testimony is based on the
    fact that my husband never wanted to
    repair our relationship, but instead he
    fell in love with my own best friend, my best friend betrayed me and had an affair
    with my husband, within less than a month after I found out. I was now introduced to a Prophet Abayotor
    from the Ajamugashrine, he then prepare some reunion spells for me, though both
    of them had learnt their lessons for what they did to me, Finally when I ready
    for my husband to comeback home I just told the prophet and within a week I was
    surprised of the missed calls left by my husband, the voice messages that he left
    on my phone was that he did a mistake and wanted us to start over again and he
    will not try to cheat on me ever again
    in his life and that was it. I wish to say thank you the ajamugashrine and I
    recommend similar people mostly women in such situation to reach him via;

  • Khedra B Graham

    Hello everyone i want to share a live testimony on how Dr Alex was
    able to bring my husband back to me, myself and my husband were on a
    serious breakup, even before then we were always quarreling fighting and
    doing different ungodly act..
    My husband packed his things out of
    the house and we had to live in different area, despite all this i was
    looking for a way to re_unite with my husband, not until i met Dr Alex
    the great spell caster who was able to bring my husband back home, Dr
    Alex cast a love spell for me, and after some time i started seen
    results about the spell….
    Today my family is back again and we are
    happy living fine and healthy, with Dr Alex all my dream came through
    in re_uniting my marriage, friends in case you need the help of Dr Alex
    kindly mail him on( solutionhelpcentre@gmail.com ) or call him on +2347036013351, Sir i will forever recommend you!