Mr.&Mrs. Issue 03/March 2014 - Page 5

HOW TO FIGHT WITH A WOMAN

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It Means: She feels like she's doing all the work. "The typical scenario is that the woman feels as if she's lost her wits dealing with the kids all day, and her husband comes home from work at night and shuts down," Sherman says. "He removes himself from household responsibility and doesn't understand she's been working all day, too."

Battle Tactics: If she's punchy from a long day, don't plant yourself in front of the Pistons game. Nothing will change until you help with dinner, laundry, or homework. When it comes to chores, both of you should act the way you would at your jobs: Delegate, budget, and set deadlines. "Men have the ability to prioritize

Sherman says. "He removes himself from household responsibility and doesn't understand she's been working all day, too."

Battle Tactics: If she's punchy from a long day, don't plant yourself in front of the Pistons game. Nothing will change until you help with dinner, laundry, or homework. When it comes to chores, both of you should act the way you would at your jobs: Delegate, budget, and set deadlines. "Men have the ability to prioritize like this at work, so why not apply these sensibilities at home?" asks Sherman. "If your report isn't handed in on time, the boss will ask for it. If you aren't contributing to a meeting, your team will be livid.

What You Win: A calmer home, kids who actually like their father, and, after they go to bed, the last quarter of the Pistons game. Which is the best part anyway.

Defuse an Explosive Argument

Don't ask "why" questions. This creates an emotional response and puts her in fight-or-flight mode, says Carol Ritberger, Ph.D. Other questions are fine, especially if they show an interest in "how" or "when" the two of you can solve the problem. Don't assume she's basing her decisions on emotion. There may be plenty of logic behind her reactions, though these reactions may be charged with stress and contention. And for goodness' sake, don't tell her she's being emotional.

Don't cross-complain. Countering her bickering with your complaints won't work. If you're fighting to be heard, someone's bound to lose. It might be you.

Don't interrupt. Actively listen to whether she uses kinesthetic ("I feel"), auditory ("I hear"), visual ("I see"), or cognitive ("I think") terms—and respond in her language. She'll hear it more clearly.

Use body language. Touch her, lean forward, and maintain eye contact to show you're in the moment with her.

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