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Top 10 tips for your new year's resolutions

New Years ResolutionOn January 1, we typically make New Year’s resolutions that focus on ourselves: to eat better, exercise more, start a new hobby or become more organized.  What if this year, you resolved to have a better relationship with your spouse and become a better role model for your children?  In today’s post, I am giving you 10 simple tips from Fight Less, Love More that will work to keep peace in the family and make your love connection stronger. You might be surprised to find that I am not going to tell you to talk more as many experts might insist; instead I am going to show you how to use just a few minutes a day to talk better.
1.  Pick the Right Battles. 
Before you get angry and reprimand your mate for making a mistake or doing something you told him or her not to do, stop and ask yourself this one wise question: “Does this affect me?”  If it doesn’t, button your lip.  After all, your mate is the one who must deal with the consequence, not you.
2. Be a Detective. 
When your mate’s mistake does affect you, what then? Rather than being hostile, find out what really happened.  Ask neutral and respectful questions like, “Can you tell me what happened?” or “I don’t understand.  Am I missing something here?”  You might discover a good reason for the oversight or blunder which could avoid a blow-up.
3. Complain with Impact. 
When you have a complaint, say what you do want, not what you don’t want.  For example, rather than saying “Get off that darn computer, you’re so rude!” target your mate using a positive approach, “I miss your company.  Can you join me in the living room for a drink?”
4. Skip the “Whatever” Word.
Being passive by often saying “whatever you want,” might temporarily avoid a fight, but it could breed resentment because it leaves the majority of decisions to your mate, which can be stressful.  Instead, have a real opinion and share it.  To find out about your relationship communication style and whether it’s harming your relationship, take this quiz, “Are You Mismatched?”
5. Create Policies. If your mate does something that affects and disturbs you such as overspending or making plans for both of you without asking the other first, don’t get sucked into the heated “how could you?” argument. Instead, focus on the future by creating policy solutions, as in, “from now on can we agree to make a budget for our personal expenses?” or “can we agree to check-in with each other before me make plans for both of us?”
6. Show You Care.
Forgetting to ask about what’s going on in your mate’s daily life is a surefire way to erode a relationship.  From now on, if you know your mate has an important meeting, doctor appointment or event that day, don’t neglect it, instead respect it. Call, email, text or ask in person, “How did it go?” This sends a clear message: I care about you.
7. Avoid Factual Arguments. 
Do you and your mate often find yourselves arguing about the name of a restaurant you went to, a certain address, someone’s birthday, an historical fact or sports figure?  Then you are prone to having a dumb argument!  Stop the conversation and do an online fact check, call a friend or simply drive by the location.
8. Apologize with the “B” word.Fight Less Love More
Quickly saying the words “I’m sorry” is a bad apology because it often comes off as insincere, and could trigger another battle.  Next time you seek mercy, add the “B” word:  Say, “I’m sorry because….” and share how you hurt your mate and what you will do to prevent the wrongdoing from recurring.  Research shows that when you add the “because clause” your words are more persuasive.
9. Create Border Control.
Are you ever angry with your partner for revealing something to others that you consider private, like a health issue, a child discipline issue, job insecurity or a marital disagreement?  If so, bypass the “how could you say that?!” argument.  Instead, establish border control:  Outline the topics that should remain private to insure that neither of you becomes an accidental traitor.
10. Give a Daily Dose of Recognition.
Most couples on the divorce path seldom compliment each other. In our on-line survey for “Fight Less, Love More,” we asked people “would you rather your mate compliment you for being kind or good-looking?” the result was that 84 percent of people said “kind.” The lesson: find daily opportunities to recognize your mate for something that reflects a character strength (i.e. you are such a wonderful mother/father, you are so thoughtful when you…).

Disclaimer: This article is from the author of Fight less and Love more.