21. Think before speaking. It sounds simple, but snapping out every critical thought that pops into your head is easy when you become comfortable with your mate. Make the effort to soften the delivery (“It would really help me if you could remember to take the trash out the night before since I’m so rushed in the morning. Thanks,” works so much better than, “You never take out the trash!”
22. The old adage, “Never go to bed mad,” doesn’t mean you have to solve the problem before you can go to bed! In fact, if the next day is a work day, you should agree to retreat at a reasonable time and shelve the discussion until a time that is better for both of you. Agree to disagree, remind each other you love each other, and go to bed in a state of truce.
23. Don’t discuss your personal problems with your family. Although it is tempting to tell your mother just how terrible your first fight was, resist. Long after you and your partner have made up and forgotten the issue, your mother will remember and view your spouse through different eyes.
24. Don’t expect your spouse to act the same around his or her family as he does around you. If your husband temporarily turns into a loud, boisterous buffoon with his brothers or your wife suddenly starts talking about nothing but the details of the latest family scandal, don’t panic. They will return to their normal selves as soon as the family event is over – this is a bonding ritual for them.
25. Put annoying habits into perspective. He bites his nails? She twiddles her hair? These will be the same habits you’ll miss when he or she is gone, so accept them and forget it.
26. When arguing, stick to the topic at hand. Remember, if you disagree about something, you should address their point of view, not them personally. Don’t use insults or insinuate that your partner is somehow “stupid” or bad just because they disagree with you.
27. Have one hobby each that is separate from your partner and enjoy it regularly. Maintaining separate interests means you won’t rely completely on your spouse for entertainment, which can be draining and a real burden.
28. Support your spouse’s outside interests whole-heartedly. Ask questions about their hobbies, volunteer work and other activities. Showing an interest in all aspects of their life apart from you will not only show you care, but give you the chance to learn more about your spouse as the years go by.
29. Allow decompression time at the end of the day. Whoever is home first shouldn’t wait at the door to jump their spouse with a list of chores or a bunch of questions. Give him or her a half-hour to simply unwind from the stresses of the day.
30. Ask, ask, ask!! Trying to guess what is on your spouse’s mind is a recipe for disaster. Ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers.