Young@Heart: Marital Spat Strategies

Expert Shares 3 Steps on How to Tiff and Win

I must warn you I’m not a marriage counselor and I am on my second marriage, but I have learned some successful spatting skills in the 41 years I’ve been married and I think you’ll find them helpful.

My ideas will work for any and almost all marital fights, but to illustrate my strategies, I decided to pick a fight that’s common among couples; clutter conflicts. (Wow that’s a tongue twister: common couple’s clutter conflicts. I dare you to try and say it five times without screwing up.) The underlying cause of this conflict is stuff. It’s the my-stuff vs your-stuff which is the most common cause of a bout about clutter, because one sees his stuff as his stuff and the other guy’s stuff as clutter and it works the other way around, so it’s a blame game and couples have been playing it since Adam and Eve argued about whose leaf was whose that got left on the ground.

The other common clutter clashes surface when stuff gets lost, stuff gets left out, stuff gets thrown out, stuff gets wrecked, stuff gets dirty and stuff gets stuffed just to get it out of the way.

So with this fight in mind, here are my ideas for winning it. One thing you might be thinking is that planning to win a fight is manipulative, conniving, sneaky and conspiratorial especially coming from a woman, but wait a minute! Our history is filled with male heroes who won wars because, hello, they planned them. Men have created War Colleges, boot camps and military handbooks to win wars, so we are perfectly within our female rights to plan to win our battles and especially a war on the other guy’s clutter. Why do we get labelled as manipulative and men get turned into bronze statues for doing the same thing?

Step One:

The first step in this specific war is to put all your stuff away. I know it’s a preemptive strike, but it works every time. With all your stuff put away, it’s going to be obvious that he needs to do a little clean up.

Step Two:

The second step is to know the DOs and DON’Ts of arguing in general. Don’t bring up a problem with a man who hasn’t eaten in the last three hours. Do feed him first and include lots of protein. Don’t argue in your grubbies, or pajamas (unless it’s a sexy negligée). Do argue when you are dressed up, well coifed and have make-up on. I call it the Doris Day ploy. Remember she always had fights with her leading men and she always looked adorable. Or you can choose the Marilyn Monroe trick, but that one requires showing off cleavage and you’ll still need to have your make-up on although it’s not as important. It doesn’t hurt to use your Marilyn Monroe voice and never let it rise into the frequency of fingernails on the blackboard range. Tip: If you keep your voice just above a whisper he’ll have to listen harder.

Step Three:

Step three is, have a plan. Be organized going into the spat by following steps one and two. Have a goal (a clutter-free living room for example) and an exit strategy. Never let an argument end in the word, “whatever.” There is never progress with the word, “whatever.”  Instead have a reward, be the leader and let your adversary come to the battle front wanting to clean it up. The reward for a clutter-free home is peace.

So you’ve got the plan, now go put away your stuff, get cute and figure out a reward.

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