The Marital Spat – 7 Winning Strategies

Posted by: Shel 19 Comments
Marriage Spats - 7 Winning Strategies


Many marriage experts will tell you to ‘fight fair’ when arguing with your mate. But where’s the fun in that? How can you be the winner if you’re busy focusing on how your spouse is feeling or the long term effects? Here are 7 great strategies to help you be the winner of that marital spat – no matter what the topic!


1. Saint-self strategy: Start out all sentences with “I always” or “I never.” Immediately your mate will be on notice that you are the victim and, while you usually endure such martyrdom quietly, you have reached your limit. Examples: “I always am the one to empty the dishwasher” or “I never leave dishes sitting in the sink.” Your mate will be so busy trying to think of times when you did not empty the dishwasher or you did leave dishes in the sink, that you’ll have time to finish your tirade and exit before they get a word in.

2. Demon-you strategy: This is a variation of the saint-self strategy, but flipped upside down. Every sentence starts with “You always” or “You never” followed by the egregious act you want to focus on. Be quick with the attack. Be clear on how they never get it right and get out before they are able to come up with a contrary example.

3. Noisemaker strategy: This one’s fun. Once you have laid out your side of things, they may have the audacity to respond. If so, squelch their speech with dramatic noises such as smashing dishes, stomping loudly out of the room, and slamming the door behind you. Not only will you blot them out, you’ll have reminders of your dramatic rightness – broken dishes, a door hanging by one hinge – for weeks to come.

4. Toilet paper strategy: This strategy takes advance preparation. Keep track of any mistake your spouse makes by jotting it down on a roll of toilet paper. Nothing is too petty to make note of. Keep it rolled up and at the ready. Next time you’re in a tiff and your spouse is making good points, grab that toilet paper and start reading in a loud voice as you unroll. This clearly demonstrates to your mate that even though you might be in the wrong at this given moment, petty-scorekeeping indicates that overall they are ‘wronger.’

5. Tried and true strategy: This is the ever-popular silent treatment. You’re wrong? Make them regret pointing it out (which is the same as winning) by refusing to talk. Now don’t go amateur on me here – we’re not talking about keeping quiet for an hour or two. Unless taken to bed, you can’t be sure the rift will be deep. You hear snoring? Bounce around the bed until they wake up – how else will they be aware you are still not talking to them?

6. Comeback kid strategy: Are they starting to make sense? Distract them with name-calling. “Oh yah? Well you’re a . . . ” That should take the conversation in a different direction.

7. Blast the crass strategy: This is good if you’re just plain wrong. Spew out a string of angry expletives – something you couldn’t say in church or in front of your momma. It needs to be hurtful enough that it renders them speechless. Hey, a win’s a win, right?

Using these great strategies will help your mate understand that you live on a one-way street – your way. If you choose to act contrary to this advice, I will not be responsible for your boring-short-lived spat nor the fact that you won’t have an excuse to buy new dishes any time soon.

marriage set in ways

We can probably agree that the best marital spat is the one that doesn’t happen. Check back next week for tips on how to avoid fights before they start.

Do you have a fight-winning strategy? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  • Gina Kishur

    So that’s what people are doing that leads them to me! Love it, as usual.

    • Shel Harrington

      I bet you have a few you could add, Gina – things that lead them to me!

  • Shel,
    Great list! One more if you please: pointing out how spouse is just like his or her dreaded relatives.

  • love your sense of humor

  • These are hilarious, Shel! I tend to be non-confrontational, so I usually become quiet…he gets the message. If couples follow your list of strategies, your law practice would have a long waiting list for an appointment. I hope you’re feeling well and enjoying your weekend. Thanks for the chuckles! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Hmmm, being quiet – there’s one I haven’t tried before! I am indeed having a good weekend – just got home from our first Oklahoma Women Bloggers meet up (very enjoyable). It’s a fairly new group which is working toward it’s first conference next summer. Someone in Arkansas started such a group there and has a vision for each state to have their own – so she initiated a start-up here. Anything like that in your territory?

      • LOL…I know being quiet can be difficult, but it’s worth a try. 🙂 A women’s blogger group, that sounds like fun. I’ve never heard of anything, but I’ll have to do a little research. I’m glad you had a good time!

  • This is hilarious Shel.I can imagine a face staring at me reading faults from a toilet paper roll LOL

    • Shel Harrington

      Not a pretty sight is it, Juliet?! Have a great weekend!

  • So funny, Shel.

    I’ve tried them all, but haven’t kept up with which works best. Next fight, I’ll take notes on toilet paper and get back with you on that.

    On a more serious note, making it funny gives food for thought on how ridiculous each one really is. Thanks!

    • Shel Harrington

      No, Kim – you’re not getting it right. You have to start your toilet paper notes now if you want to have an impressive list of petty gripes to unroll when the opportunity presents itself. Geez, woman – you are doomed to have a wonderful marriage if you don’t get this right!

  • I’ve always liked the noise-maker strategy myself. Hilarious post. I wonder if I should share it with my husband? Or not…

    • Shel Harrington

      You can’t share this with him, Maria – he might WIN!

  • Am still laughing, Shel. But for me the TP thing seems like journaling (which I stink at after the first few days…) — it wouldn’t be ready when I need it! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad I could make you chuckle on your birthday! (Hope you’re having a good one!)

  • Actually, that toilet-paper strategy sounds pretty good to me. 🙂

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