In one swift motion, you can stop the downhill momentum that can often lead to the end.

In one swift motion, you can stop the downhill momentum that can often lead to the end.

Snip, snap, snark. Is this how your relationship is going? Punctuated by little jabs and barbs, and you’re not really fighting over anything, but everything at the same time?

There is one foolproof way to get your relationship back on track.

It is so simple.

But, I must issue a caveat. This will only work if your spats, are just that…mild, nit-picky…not if they concern grievous injustices toward each other. Those deeper betrayals MUST be addressed and applying a Band-Aid (essentially, what this remedy is) will not do the trick. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that this tip is not to be applied toward abusive relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out, get help.

But here’s what will work on the garden-variety relationship hosting the occasional snit.

First, get centered because when you are angry, irritated and chafed all to hell it is challenging to think outside of those intense emotions. You will need to take action.

Start being nice.

That’s it.

Refuse to engage any further and instead of suffering through days where you could easily continue the one-up-let’s-be-mildly-shitty-to-each-other game, pivot. That’s right, the next morning, make the coffee. Set out a fresh towel for your beloved’s shower. Slip a heating pad under the blanket on their side of the bed. Clear off your love’s car. Leave a gooey note in the condensation on the bathroom mirror. Tuck a love note into their lunch. You get the drift.

When this happens, prepare for a relationship miracle. Your heart will reciprocate. First, they will be surprised because you have called a cease fire to the cracks and chips that will begin to wear down your foundation, and second, they will be delighted, lay down their sword and will likely return friendly fire.

Because you ground the cycle to a halt. Go ahead and feel proud (internally.) Externally, exercise a quiet pride. Gloating will not bode well here. But you can sit back and relish the changes, enjoy the love windfall directed at you.

It works. Because love begets love. Just as snarkiness begets snarkiness.

It works, because you refocus on what’s important and it is the little things that can hold together, or disintegrate a union. It matters what you decide to do with that foundation. Will you gloss it to a high sheen and lovingly smooth its surface of impurities, or will you test the mettle of it with a chisel and determine how many hits it can take before it collapses. You and your SO stand upon this bedrock. It is like any priceless artifact whose life you hope to prolong and must be treated as such.

One thing that you must not place below pride. Your coupledom. The most important entity between the two of you. It comes before the want to retaliate out of the sense of being treated poorly. It comes before the need to be right and to justify hurtful behavior (which must be owned later and only increases the depth of crapola.) It comes before the want to keep a tally of who is “right.”

(P.S. stop tallying, okay), because nothing supersedes the two of you.


You do hold in your power the ability to stop. To redirect and correct your position, to welcome in better, loving days. Like it used to be. Remember how wonderfully rich the first moments of your relationship were? It can be like that as long as you cherish them, as long as every day, bit by bit, you ensure your couplehood comes first before the separate people participating. As long as you realize the power within yourself to get back on track.

It is possible that your reversal of action may not work. It is possible your partner will not reciprocate and will still act like a prickly pear and want to wallow in superficial pain. Yes, two must play the same game. But a willing partner who treasures your relationship will likely feel relief the game has been stopped, that structure to continue a better course has been provided and will feel thankful for your efforts.

In my relationship, this has worked 100 percent of the time. And before I learned this “trick” I enabled collapse because I put my umbrage, my “how-dare-he” first. Now, I realize the intentionality of my feelings getting hurt is likely nil. When we have a misstep, it is just that…an error in judgment and so cut your partner some slack. Expect a little imperfection. Have confidence that they love you and are trying to put you first, even if the effort is bumbling. We all do it.

When you extend grace and forgiveness, when you extend thoughtfulness and refuse to retaliate, the same will likely be gifted to you.

Here’s to an emotionally healthy and joyful New Year and a new strengthened union!

Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.


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