Husband and wife team Zara D. Green and Alfred A. Edmond, Jr., coauthors of Loving in the Grown Zone (Balboa Press), offer no-nonsense tips for avoiding drama with your significant other that are sure to keep the peace.
1. DON'T LABEL YOUR PARTNER THE "PROBLEM"
"Never allow the problem to become more important than the person. In a healthy relationship, disagreement should never equal division," Edmond insists. "Your partner is your ally against the problem, not your enemy."
2. STRENGTHEN YOUR FOUNDATION
"If the foundation, the relationship, is solid, the house—your marriage—can withstand disagreements," says Green. "If the foundation is faulty, then the marriage is in danger, no matter how much or how little you disagree."
3. RECOGNIZE THAT ARGUMENTS ARE NEVER ABOUT DISAGREEMENTS
When disagreements lead to arguing, the arguments are never actually about the disagreement. To prevent lasting damage, you need to clear space and time for the opportunity to discuss your feelings safely and openly—not to agree with each other, but to truly hear and be heard.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of ESSENCE.