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Growing up, I always considered myself to be argumentative. Quick with a sarcastic comment and even quicker to get angry, I rarely backed down from an argument.

This didn’t translate well in my early romantic relationships and I found myself arguing incessantly with the men I dated. I would like a guy a lot, but if we didn’t agree on something then we would go at it. In my (weak) defense, the men I dated seemed argumentative too. Some guys are much too laid back to bicker with their girlfriends or anyone else for that matter, but I rarely dated these types of men (and if I did then I must have pulled them past their limit).

The weird thing is, I hate arguing. But I thought that was what couples did. Before my parents divorced, they argued all the time. So much so, that when they divorced, I wasn’t even sad. I was thankful for the peace. As I got older, I realized that there are people in functional relationships who are not arguing all the time.

Not too long ago, my mom pointed out that I was in one of those relationships. My husband and I disagree but we don’t go back and forth arguing, screaming, yelling, slamming doors and cursing each other out. We’re nice to each other. And though I can roll my neck and cut my eyes like the rest of them, I don’t do that stuff at home.  Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think home should be a place of love, peace and harmony and I’ve learned to speak my piece without getting angry and flying off the handle.

Everyone doesn’t think this way and we all know that couple whom never stops arguing. I don’t mean arguing about infidelity or lies or something equally serious. I mean that couple who is arguing about the way to fold towels or sweep the porch or how to pronounce a word on the menu or what what to watch on TV or which gift to buy their three-year-old niece for her birthday.

For those couples who argue about everything in front of everyone, here are a few tips to keep the peace.

1. Agree to disagree

Compatibility is ideal but no one (who isn’t kidding themselves) is 100 percent compatible with their mate. Even if you agree on the big things like kids, marital roles and religion, you’re going to disagree on some things and that’s okay. There’s no sense going back and forth when neither of you is going to change your mind.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

You have to make up in your mind that you’re not going to argue about dumb stuff. Picture it: you’re in the car headed to a restaurant. You both have an idea of the best way to get there. You think it’s quicker to take the highway and he thinks it’s quicker to take the streets. Who’s right? It doesn’t matter. There is no sense waging a full out war in the car when you’ll ultimately save or lose two minutes in the end…or get there at the exact same time no matter what.

3. Be self-aware

I know when I’m in a bad mood and ready to criticize and complain about everything. I try to warn my husband when I’m in this mood so he knows that it’s not about him and he knows not to keep asking me what’s wrong because I’m just irritated for no real reason. I’ll take a nap or eat food or just veg out in front of the TV. If I’m forced to be social, I consciously try to redirect my negative energy so I’m not picking at him.

4. Be quiet

I don’t know about other couples, but the quiet thing works well for us. I don’t suggest you sit somewhere and stew, but giving full vent to your anger is hardly ever a good plan. Sometimes just being quiet calms a situation whereas going back and forth only fans the flames.

5. Keep perspective

This is your significant other, your P.I.C., your ace boon coon. Sure you love (or strongly like) this person, but isn’t he also your homie? Don’t be mean. Don’t take an opportunity to hurt his feelings by hitting him below the belt over something that doesn’t even call for that. Women are good for this. We can cut someone down to size in no time, but oftentimes that’s not even necessary. Disagree on things without name-calling.

Of course, there are some couples who like to argue, but for those who get no pleasure out of cussing out their significant other or being cussed out by him, there are ways to disagree without being cruel.

What are some ways you keep the peace in your relationship?

Follow Alissa Henry on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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