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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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renewing your relationship in the new year


Renew Your Relationship in the New Year

These simple things have the power to deliver big benefits to your relationship.

Photo: Thinkstock / The Nest

Most resolutions are simply made to be broken. But instead of vowing to lose 10 pounds or save more money this year, consider pledging to give your relationship a boost. Read on for expert advice on the little things you can do to live even more happily ever after.

Act happy to be happy. You don’t have to be Meryl Streep to put in a convincing performance -- faking it eventually leads to actually feeling it. “People often think that they act a certain way because of the way they feel, but to a great degree, we feel because of the way we act,” says happiness expert Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. “If you act in a loving, attentive and patient way, you set up habits that are loving, attentive habits.”

Get more sleep. Being sleep-deprived has become a badge of honor, but not clocking the right amount of sleep can damage your health and your relationships. “This is something that’s so basic, but it’s really important to get enough sleep,” Rubin says. “If you’re chronically sleep-deprived, you feel edgy all the time, and that leads to fights at night when you’re really tired.”

Solve problems so everyone wins. “Work together to solve anything that comes up,” says Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka “Dr. Romance”), a psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. “Don’t get stuck on who’s right or wrong -- instead focus on what will solve the problem. When each of you feels that the other has your best interests at heart, problems are solved not ‘my way’ or ‘your way’ but so that both are happy with the solution.”

Give out gold stars. Odds are, you’re already thinking about how awesome your mate is when he unloads the dishwasher or cooks up a special meal -- but you’re not sharing that positivity. “It’s important to show appreciation, to actually voice it and express it -- even when they’re doing something that’s their job,” Rubin advises. That extra positivity will make your mate feel that all those little things he does matter.

Argue for the opposition. Next time you start making a case for how you’ve been wronged in your relationship, try switching sides and defending your mate. “You can always come up with many examples of how your husband never helps you get ready for a trip, for example -- but you need to think about the other side of the argument,” Rubin suggests. “In many cases, you can make an equally compelling counterargument. And when I start thinking about how my husband really does help us get ready for a trip, my anger goes away, and I don’t get dragged down by petty irritations of everyday life.”

Underreact to problems. Flipping out over that bill you forgot to pay or that massive red-wine spill your mate made on the (brand-new) white sofa will only add more drama to an already tough situation. “If one person gets very agitated, the other person picks up on that, and the tension rises,” Rubin says. “What’s done is done, and keeping a sense of humor helps make dealing with it more pleasant.”

Prioritize your relationship. It can be easy to get wrapped up in your never-ending to-do list, but make sure that you put at least as much time and effort into preserving the most important relationship in your life. “Your relationship is the foundation and support system for everything else,” Tessina says. “No matter what you want to accomplish, you’ll be more likely to succeed if you and your partner are on the same page about it. Learning to work together and not take your love for granted will enhance every day you’re together.”

-- Lisa Milbrand has written about love and relationships (and a host of other less important topics) for The Knot, The Nest and The Bump, among dozens of other publications

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