If you want a rock-solid relationship, your goal shouldn’t be to argue less, it should be to learn how to end an argument.
Dr. Brenda McDaniel is a psychology professor at Kansas State University, and she says that disagreeing with your significant other floods your body with stress hormones. No surprise there. But, what’s interesting is what happens when the discussion ends. Dr. McDaniel’s research shows that when couples take a “time-out” without resolving the problem, their stress levels remain elevated. But when they wrap things up by talking about the good times they’ve had together, their stress level drops, and is often lower than it was at the beginning of the argument. And couples who reminisce about happy experiences after a fight report higher levels of relationship satisfaction than those who don’t.
Dr. McDaniel suggests setting a time limit for hashing out a difficult problem, say, 20 minutes. Then, spend another 20 minutes talking about your first date or your first kiss. Better yet, bank extra goodwill by focusing on the positives in your relationship every day.
Studies show that couples who get in the habit of thinking positively have a significantly lower divorce rate – because their arguments don’t turn into damaging personal attacks.