Soon after my wife, Susan, and I were married, we made a discovery. It seemed like most of our arguments were at night…when we were tired and irritable from a long day. So, we set a nine o’ clock curfew on serious discussions. We found that it really helps. Now, when we get into a heavy talk after nine, we remind each other that it’s late, we’re not going to resolve anything tonight and we can talk about it tomorrow. And you know what? The next morning we’re usually refreshed and can talk about things calmly or decide that it wasn’t that important to begin with.
So you can avoid a lot of arguments with your spouse if you wisely choose when you will have serious discussions. A good rule of thumb is to avoid settings that are already tense—getting the kids to school in the morning, when you’re dealing with plumbing problems or right when your spouse walks in the door after work. Instead, choose a time when you’re both rested, when you have some peace and quiet, and when the other person is open to having a serious discussion.
And here’s something else to keep in mind—don’t mix business with pleasure. In other words, you don’t want to bring up heavy topics when you and your spouse are having a fun time or are in friendship mode. If you’re out together for your first date night in months, or you’re finally having a little cuddle time on the couch, don’t even venture into potential areas of conflict.