8 Phrases that End a Relationship Fight

Real husbands reveal the magic words--and our experts share why they work so darn well. By Anna Davies, REDBOOK.

1. "What can we do to make things better right now? - James, 40, married 10 years
"This puts the focus back on your partner," says Julie Hanks, LCSW, owner and executive director at Wasatch Family Therapy in Orem, UT. "You show you're committed to fixing the problem, rather than engaging in an all-out battle."

2. "I think it's time for a House of Cards break." - Ken, 45, married 15 years
It doesn't matter if you'd rather watch Game of Thrones or even a funny cat video on YouTube--a statement like this can do wonders for a disagreement that's bound to take a long time to untangle (think: starting the house-hunting process or figuring out tax stuff). But make sure you do come back to the issue after the much-needed break, preferably setting a time to make sure it actually gets done, says Hanks.

Related: The 10 Phrases That Make Men Go Ballistic

3. Help me understand where you're coming from. This is where I get tripped up." Jon, 35, married seven years
This simple nonconfrontational phrase helps clarify where, exactly, you disagree. "In an argument, it's easy for partners to be on entirely different pages without realizing it," says Hanks. "This gets you back on track to figuring out a solution."

4. "You're so handsome, even when you argue." - Steve, 38, married 12 years
It may sound like you're wiggling your way out of the argument, but you're also reminding your guy that despite disagreements, you're still on his side, says New York-based relationship expert Gilda Carle, Ph.D. "Plus, if it gets you both to laugh, you'll feel more connected, and that's a win for everyone."

Related: The 10 Phrases That Make Men Go Ballistic

5. "Is this better or worse than the time we got stranded in that snowstorm?" - Kevin, 29, married five years
Thinking of something you overcame together--a bad vacation, bad clams, whatever--serves as an instant reminder that, no matter what, you're a team. Plus, bringing up a ridiculous memory may get you to laugh, which will help diffuse the anger, says Carle.

6. "I say we stop fighting now." - Jaron, 38, married six years

It's not giving in to say you want to quit bickering; it's recognizing that your relationship is more important than whatever the argument is. If you're fighting about something that truly doesn't matter--say, a tiff about driving directions or which restaurant to head to--simply saying you want to let it go can be the most effective tool in your arsenal, say Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, relationship experts and authors of Building a Love That Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage. "Forgiving, forgetting, and moving on is the cornerstone of a successful marriage," they explain.

Related: 21 Ways Your Husband Can Become a Better Man

7. "I think we need coffee for this conversation." - Frank, 42, married 12 years

Yes, it's a stalling tactic, but suggesting a cup of joe also reminds both of you that you may be on edge because you're hungry or tired, says Carle. Obviously, if it's an important issue, you've got to talk it through--a latte can't cure all--but you may find that a jolt of caffeine can provide a necessary moment of pause, even stopping minor arguments before they blossom.

8. "Are we having a cargument?" - Ben, 26, married three years

On-the-road disagreements that spiral into all-out fights aren't fun, but the cutesy terminology can be instantly calming because it reminds you what you're dealing with: being trapped in an enclosed space with someone else who might be equally cranky and exhausted. If you find yourselves frequently arguing at the same time or around the same issue, recognize the pattern and name it. This not only allows you to check yourselves, but it's also another strategy to simultaneously lighten the mood and underscore the fact that, despite everything, you're still on the same side, says Hanks.

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