How to Fight Fair: Take the Bite out of Dogs Days of Summer

Temperatures and humidity are running high across the nation, often causing tempers to flare. If the heat is causing you to spar more with your spouse, remember these 5 simple tips to keep your cool.
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1. Focus on the issue at hand

Stay on topic. According to Atlanta-based relationship specialist Katherine Hannon, MA, "Only discuss what is presently causing discord. If it is about the trash not being taken out, do not bring up how your partner gawked at an attractive younger woman in the grocery store three months ago." Sticking to your point will keep the both of you from getting defensive, impatient, and even angrier.

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2. Watch out for those hateful subtle signals

In his enormously popular bestseller Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell discusses University of Washington psychologist John Gottman's work in decoding how even simple eye movements displayed by couples who are interacting can say a great deal about what they really mean. After studying couples' behavior for almost 30 years, Gottman says even a seemingly innocuous eye roll is a classic sign of contempt. He also points out that when you use statements such as "yes, but," even in a calm tone, it's still defensive when you appear to agree and then take it back. So when hubby comes home late from work because he stopped to have a beer with the boys and dinner is toast, maybe it's not the best idea to roll your eyes at him and say: "Yes, I understand you had a bad day at work and needed to decompress, but I slaved for hours in this hot kitchen to make you a nice dinner, which I have conveniently placed in the dog's dish for your dining pleasure."

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Continued on page 2:  Cooling Conflict Resolutions


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