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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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Hon, I Love You But...

Hey, it's hard to be honest with your partner sometimes. Why tell the person you love something that might make them unhappy? (Well, because if you decide, “I’ll just keep this to myself” all the time, you're going to implode.) Here's how to be straight up without chucking that sensitivity chip.

Don't publicize it.Your spouse doesn’t want to hear it’s high time they cut back on the beer -- but it will be a lot easier to handle if you suggest skipping the suds more often when it’s just the two of you at home as opposed to crying out, “Not for him!” when the waiter offers you refills during dinner with another couple.

Time it right. News (particularly bad news) can take some time to process. If you know your partner has a big meeting the next morning, right before he goes to sleep isn’t the moment to reveal that you're dead sure that his mother has never liked you and you’d prefer she didn’t come to visit. Um, ever.

Don’t stall. If the issue is financial concerns or other time-sensitive matters, pipe up now, because the perfect moment will never come. Better they know about a broken budget now than find out by seething over late penalties on your credit card bills.

Be quick. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid -- do it fast and simple. If you’re admitting a bummer of your own (“My account is overdrawn”), over-talking can seem like you’re making excuses. If it’s something that can be construed as criticism (“It would be great if you tried foreplay”), yammering on about it will just make them feel attacked.

Clean up your own backyard. Uh, is it really fair to hit your spouse below the belt if you've excess baggage of your own? If you don’t have your own bad habits under control, prepare get that criticism hurled back in your face. So reframe it: If it's obvious that you both need to take better care of yourselves physically, say, “I think we should start hitting the gym.” They may still gripe, but at least they’ll know you're in it together.
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Do you two have bedroom rules?

-- Sean Cunningham

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