10 Commandments for Couples


1. Chill First: Take a time out to get calm before discussing conflict; you want to communicate, not vent

2: Love Comes First: Remember the other’s endearing qualities before beginning


  1. It’s a Partnership not a Duel: Don’t try to change one another, but to understand and support one another
  1. This Isn’t Badminton: Agree that each partner has the chance to speak without interruption while the other listens;
  1. Take a Lesson from Cats: Start with an attitude of curiosity rather than judgment
  1. Honey First:

Speaker–Encourage your partner’s listening by opening with a positive

  1. This Isn’t about You:

Listener– Temporarily pull the window shade on your issues

  1. Put Down the Sledgehammer and Take Off the Armor

Speaker–Resist the temptation to criticism and blame

Listener–Defensiveness blocks communication; put yourself in your partner’s shoes

  1. First, Do No Harm

Speaker—Voice appreciation rather than contempt

Listener– Stay attentive to your partner’s complaint

  1. Lighten Up

Speaker–Humor is bonding; smile, even elicit a chuckle

Listener—Do not make jokes about the speaker’s issues

  1. Stay in the Present

Speaker—Don’t bring up ancient history

  1. Know When to Stop

Speaker–Don’t perseverate on the issue. Make your point, then listen.

Listener: If your partner is going on and on, gently offer to voice your understanding of the problem.