Nobody wants arguments to plague their relationship. Good ol’ Dr. Phil not only acknowledges their inevitability, but lists suggestions on how to navigate them successfully. For example, have a time limit, allow your partner to retreat from an outburst and then resume the argument with dignity, and, most important, keep the arguments both relevant and real.

Some people go to their grave denying they ever had any, but they are a necessary evil in the evolution of the coupling process. Dr. Phil states, “Disagreements are going to occur and they can help the relationship to grow.” If handled with restraint and a keen eye toward a better future, arguments can be healthy, so you’d best to learn how to get through them with minimal bloodshed.

I’ve tried the following techniques through my dating years and marriage with varying success:

1.) Apologize. Maybe you genuinely owe her one. Maybe what she’s angry about technically doesn’t have anything to do with you – it doesn’t matter. Apologize. It’s a great solution, albeit a temporary one, akin to resetting the clock on a time bomb. It’s still going to go off.

2.) Make It about You. When people refer to those “three little words” in relationships, they might actually be referring to “what about me,” rather than “I love you.” For example, “Do you know how it makes me feel to know you’re so unhappy? It makes me feel awful!” This is a classic turn-the-tables phrase that can succeed in stalling a woman’s escalating emotional state, might result in her apologizing to you and win you a “back scratch” to boot.

3.) Call in a Big Gun. Sister, friend, or even Mom...they’re just a speed dial away. Use them like you would the police: Sometimes just the threat that you’ll place the call is enough to sooth the savage beast. On a personal note, my wife once called my older sister to, and I quote, “glean some advice on what to do with me.” The embarrassment of the call alone made me retreat.

4.) Listen. Don’t just listen, but also tell her that’s exactly what you’re going to do. In other words, don’t just sit there and vacantly stare at her. Say the words, “I’m listening,” and then repeat back what you think you heard. This is what shrinks call “reflective listening.” An ex-girlfriend who was the very definition of volatile used to melt when I’d say “I hear you”, yet another example of three great words, and for the stoic stud a fantastic alternative to “I love you”.

5.) Call Her a Psycho. Obviously, name-calling is completely childish and inappropriate. It can also be a successful last resort. There are times when a woman will accept being called a nag and even accept that she’s been being a bitch, but no woman ever wants the psycho card dealt. Mostly because they’ve been wondering their entire life if that’s exactly what they are, just like we men are constantly worrying if we’re losers.

Sure, maybe #4 is the best route, never mind the most adult and appropriate, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. After all, the only two words that can travel around a neighborhood quicker than “adulterous affair” are “domestic dispute”.