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how to: deal with issues

Every marriage is bound to encounter a few bumps along the road, especially when you're first starting out. We're here to help you out with solutions to couples issues and common newlywed arguments. First, find out about the tried-and-true stuff your parents probably wish they'd known. We've sorted out the newlywed "rules" you can ignore from the relationship mistakes you need to avoid. Learn the right way to handle a fight and the solutions to the most common newlywed arguments. We've also got help for couples issues that are specific to the modern marriage. For example, the four rules of Facebook for couples, how to deal when you're married to a metrosexual, and handling coworker crushes. You can also read our expert Q&A for dealing with all kinds of couples issues. Find tips on making friends as a couple, managing work stress as a pair, and avoiding common newlywed arguments about stuff like cleaning and entertaining. We'll help you solve issues with everyone -- your honey, your couple friends, your in-laws -- and find solutions that work in every part of your life, from the bedroom to the office. From whether it's okay to tell friends about your issues to breaking out of a sex rut, we've got you covered. And don't forget your fellow Nesties! We've pulled together lists of real couple gripes and likes, Nesties' marriage secrets, and their most ridiculous fights -- you're sure to relate to something! Or find even more sympathetic ears with our relationships message board.

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Making Couples Friends

When my husband and I moved from New York City to Virginia, we knew absolutely no one in our new town. And, to make matters worse, we both work from home as freelance writers, so there was no office camaraderie to rely on for after-work bonding over drinks. We had to take matters into our own hands. Here are three ways we tried (and sometimes succeeded) to meet new friends.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Whatever happened to the friendly neighbors who see a moving truck and welcome you with a freshly baked pie? Considering the house next to ours is vacant, no one was introducing themselves, and I wasn't quite brave enough to go door-to-door looking for friends, I grabbed my husband and went to a neighborhood meeting.

There, between the elderly man complaining about the traffic in our neighborhood and the elderly woman worried about the stop sign in front of her home, was a friendly young woman who lives on our street with her husband and two young children. To be honest, she was the only other person under the age of 50, so we were sort of drawn to each other. We got to chatting about our town and how long we've been there, and really hit it off. But would our better halves take to each other too? If they didn't, the whole dream of group backyard barbecues would be shattered.

One Sunday, they invited us over for brunch, and we all got along famously. Since then, my husband and her husband have spent more time together than even us girls have. And as a foursome (plus their kids), we've had each other over for those backyard barbecues I dreamed of. Cha-ching!

Being Set Up

It's not quite as uncomfortable as the blind dates I occasionally endured in my single days, but blind dating as a couple can still feel like a walk on a tightrope. What will we talk about? What if we have nothing in common? At least this time we have each other.

Not long ago, a friend from New York hooked us up with a couple who had also moved to town recently. We had briefly met them once before, but we couldn't remember if we liked them. We set up a time to meet at a nearby restaurant (one that wasn't too expensive, but wasn't fast food, either), and waited to meet them there. Not sure we'd recognize them when they arrived, we all had that same clueless "Are you the people we're meeting?" look on our faces, so it was pretty obvious. Conversation flowed smoothly, mostly because the first "date" is always good for the "Where are you originally from?" and "Where do you work?" type questions. But it turned out there was no need to even worry about having things to talk about -- my husband and I both found them interesting and fun. Hopefully, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Interactive Friendships

My husband and I love being active and trying new sports. So when we heard about "beagling" -- which involves a group of people out in the country running after beagles that are chasing rabbits, all the while shouting "Tally-ho!" -- we knew we had to see what it was all about. We got dressed in our best guess at what beagling gear should be (hiking boots and windbreakers) and ventured out into the field.

Right after arriving, I noticed we were the youngest people by about 40 years (seems to be a theme with us) and thought to myself, this should be interesting. And interesting it was! I got to talking with an 80-year-old man as he scaled the barbed-wire fences along with the rest of us. He was going a little slower than the pack, though, so I hung back with him and heard all about his career as a rocket scientist working on the first nuclear bomb. As much as I enjoyed the conversation (and I really did), I couldn't picture saying, "Hey, do you wanna hang out sometime?" to someone who could've been my grandfather. So maybe beagling wasn't the best way to meet contemporaries who we can backyard barbecue with, but we still had fun. In fact, I hope I see my 80-year-old rocket scientist friend once next year's beagling season starts. Tally-ho!

Couple Seeks Couple

Trait: "Seeking Like-Minded Couple"
Why It Matters:
Often we'll meet couples who seem gret at first, but we later realize tah they share zero of our interests. How many times can you just go out to dinner? (Okay, probably a lot, but still.)

Trait: "Prior Experience a Plus"
Why It Matters:
We have a couple friends who are married and unmarried. While they're both fabulous in their own ways, the couples that are in the same place as us maritally and emotionally tend to be the ones we see more.

Trait: " Must Play Nice"
Why It Matters:
For some reason, my friend's wife is insanely competitive with mine. If my wife shares a story about working her way through college, competi-wife has to tell a better story about working her way through college.

Trait: " Night Owls Need Not Apply"
Why It Matters:
We have a baby, so we're not really in the market for a couple who wants to party until 4 a.m. -- that's when we wake up to feed our son. The opposite is true too. A couple that likes the nightlife is not going to have fun with people who consider staying up to watch 30 Rock extravagant.

Trait: " Must Love Spouse"
Why It Matters:
Steer clear of couples that are prone to PDA -- public displays of argument. You know, the ones who fight about their sex life over dinner while trying to get the waiter's attention to grab the check.

Trait: "Complete Compatibility Required"
Why It Matters:
Sometimes you may find that you like a couple a lot more than your spouse likes them. You may even be disappointed that he doesn't see it the same way and pressure him to hang in there and give the couple a chance.

-- Monica Buck

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