George Washington sat with his troops in the outskirts of New York City. It was 1778 and the British commander-in-chief, Sir Henry Clinton, had taken over what we now know as the "Big Apple."

Although Washington was anxious to regain this land, he waited—he didn't attack just because the opportunity arose. He resisted until the moment came that he knew would haunt him for the rest of his life if he didn't take action.

Now, hopefully you don't consider your spouse "the enemy" and strategize how to defeat them, but at times you may find yourself seconds away from combat with your spouse. Yet, just because a disagreement comes along it doesn't mean your time for battle is now. Before making a rash decision, try running these questions through your mind.

1. Will I remember this problem in an hour?

2. Will I remember it in five years?

3. Does this affect how I feel for my spouse?

4. Am I just nitpicking?

5. Am I currently hungry, tired, stressed, emotionally drained or upset about something else?

Most likely, after going through these steps, you will realize that what movie to watch, why he was late to pick you up, or how she always takes forever to leave the house, are all examples of an opportunity for you to wave the white flag and avoid upsetting the one you love over something rather silly.

Unfortunately, we usually realize this too late. Once you take a moment to step back and look at your small tiff, you will probably see how foolish it would have been to fire that cannon early on. Marriages can only be successful if both partners are willing to give and take a little at times.

At times

. That means you don't always have to be settling for the other person's benefit. One of the worst things you can do for your marriage is hold in your feelings and shrug them off as "nothing." If you haven't passed the five step test, meaning it's most definitely something you will remember in an hour, don't throw in the towel on your spouse. This may be a battle, but if you don't charge now the total casualties will only be worse.

By choosing your battles wisely and sparingly, your spouse will easily know what means the most to you. Richard Carlson, author of the popular book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" said, "A more peaceful way to live is to decide consciously which battles are worth fighting and which are better left alone."

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