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How to End Conflict in Marriage by Not Being So Serious

conflict stress May 12, 2020


Quarantine sucks. Watching the economy and the stock market tumble is unnerving. And hearing about the deaths of thousands of people each day can feel almost unbearable.

This steady stream of horrifying news and information results in a state we like to call “super serious mode." It’s a state that goes hand-in-hand with feeling stressed, uncertain, and totally out of control.

In this state, you might notice that you stop laughing, smiling, or having much fun at all with your partner. Ordinary conversations around the kitchen turn into adversarial debates. In fact, the very sight of your partner no longer triggers a surge of erotic energy. It triggers something more like low grade resentment and irritation.




The "super serious state" is a lot like the layer of ice covering a cold mountain lake. There’s only one way to get through it. You have to hit as hard as you can and hope you shatter it.

And, no, we’re not recommending that you attack your partner with a sledgehammer. We're recommending the opposite: breaking through the "super serious state" by doing something outrageous.

Here are some ideas:


1. Start singing and dancing for no reason.

There’s just no way your partner can keep a straight face when you are reenacting scenes from the musical "Hamilton" or "The Sound of Music" in the living room.


2. Be a marital Gandhi.

Psychologists called this "non-complementary behavior," which is a fancy way of saying that when your partner is pissed at you, flood them with love and kindness. Then see what happens.


3. Write a love letter for no reason.

It’s counter habitual. It’s not what one usually does in quarantine. It’s unexpected. And that’s exactly why you should write it.

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