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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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Quiz: Do You Fight Fair?

Discover how you both deal with disputes, and the next argument you have will be a lot less...psychotic.

Do you remember the last fight you had with your spouse?
A. Yes, and you'll probably use it as ammo next time you butt heads.
B. Does bickering over who loves each other more count?
C. Not really. You get over things pretty quickly.
D. Yes, but you wouldn't hold it against her/him...too much.

Your mate starts making cracks about you family in front of your friends. You:
A. Shoot back a zinger about one of your spouse's loud/cheap/Prozac-popping relatives.
B. Silently stew. Why bother responding when it won't change anything?
C. Calmly ask her/him to drop'll talk about it later in private.
D. Make a snide comment about your spouse quietly under your breath.

You're cleaning up the garage/den/backyard, and you've asked for help. Your request was ignored. What's your next move?
A. Launch into a tirade about how for the past six months, you've been the only one doing the hard work.
B. Suck it up and do it yourself.
C. Remind her/him that you need help.
D. Find a way to slip out and avoid your spouse for the rest of the day.

Your mate is driving you to work (your car is getting fixed). How does it all go down when you get lost?
A. The bickering rivals ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning.
B. You both vent silently. Grrr.
C. One of you gets frustrated, the other one feels defensive, and then you make up.
D. You jokingly suggest she/he become a professional NASCAR driver.

You're both trying to set up the new computer/hang blinds, but the manual is confusing, and tensions run high. What happens?
A. You both curse out the other person.
B. Leave the mess -- not dealing!
C. Cool off for 10 minutes, and then come back to tackle it together.
D. Tell your mate to take the lead because she/he is clearly better at it than you are.

If you answered mostly As
You duke it out. The point of having a dispute is to find a settlement that appeases both of you. That's not easy to do when you drag in past arguments and let the expletives fly. So outlaw the name-calling. Explain things in terms of "I feel," like, "It hurts my feelings when you tease me in front of friends," and back that up with reasons why. Resist finger-pointing, such as, "You never take my side!" Speak more rationally, and it will be easier to reach a resolution.

If you answered mostly Bs
You simmer in silence. Some couples are simply afraid to fight. It might be that you grew up in a house full of yelling that led to divorce, or that you've found like easier if you don't rock the boat. Arguing with your spouse is healthy for the relationship, and it doesn't mean you're going to split up. Don't hold back the next time you're ticked off. Explain what is bothering you without being too critical and ask to suggest an alternative or two to the situation.

If you answered mostly Cs
You fight fair. You can diffuse a spat when the subject of a duel isn't worth your time, and you battle it out with poise when you reach a boiling point. The key to fighting fair is focusing on the matter (not reminding your mate how pissed you were when she/he did XYZ last week or laying blame). Fights really feel bad when you're in the thick of them, but your collective clashing style helps you come out feeling better about your relationship in the end.

If you answered mostly Ds
You're passive-aggressive. You're on the cusp of letting your real feelings show: a nasty comment, a backhanded compliment, and a heavy sigh from the constant martyr. We get it: You're giving in, but you won't go nicely. If you would just come clean and have a legit argument, a lot of things could be solved. So say it, plain and simple. If the passive-aggressiveness creeps out, remind each other to just fess up (nicely) so you can get back to enjoying each other.

-- Alonna Friedman

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