7. Walk it off! If your mate has a severe emotional meltdown, offer to take the kids to the park (they probably want to escape too). Vacating the premises sometimes gives God some space to quietly work on your spouse. God's healing and encouragement can be pretty powerful. Draw her a bath, light some candles, turn on some soft music and pray for her. Give him a safe place to escape and cool down. The garage, the tennis court, the golf course or the park to shoot some hoops might work to give him time to mentally regroup. Or, find a way to relax and take five together. Take a walk, go on a bike ride, or water the lawn.

An interesting side note from the surveys of long-term married couples is many of them mentioned that buying a Jacuzzi was one of the best investments they made for their marriage. One couple said, "We found out the silent treatment did not work, so we finally learned to communicate and share how we both felt. When we got our Jacuzzi, we would sit in it at night and share how our days went and talk about the things that bothered us before they became big issues."

8. Hey, Look Over There! Offer up a distraction: The movies, a shopping trip, or lunch out. For many women, a trip to Starbucks for a cappuccino, a stop at Crate and Barrel, some lotion from Victoria's Secret and any kind of chocolate might do the trick. For a man who is upset or angry, a trip to the batting cages to let him get his aggressions out might help a bit.

I saw a healthy pattern in my grandparents who were married for over 60 years. The more angry they were at each other the harder they would work. When grandma was really ticked the house became spotless. When grandpa thought grandma was unreasonable, a new barn might just go up! One counselor once said to us at a conference, "If you have to choose dysfunctions, choose workaholism over depression. At least you'll have something to show for it after the emotions are gone!"

9. Mia Culpa. If the emotional meltdown was your fault, apologize. Recently, I helped one of my best friend's husband throw a surprise 40th birthday party for her. He was so stressed over trying to keep it a secret and hide all the details that he just wasn't acting himself. She got all mad in response. In the middle of an argument the night before, she drove off in a huff. She was upset because she thought he wasn't going to do anything special for her birthday! Not wanting to spoil the surprise he just took all the ranting, raving and emotions. He finally offered to take her and the kids to a nice dinner and the movies. To pull off the surprise he said they needed to stop by her friend's house on the way. Well, when my 40-year-old friend walked into her surprise party, she let out an excited gasp of joy. Then she immediately threw herself into her husband's arms and cried out an apology in front of her roomful of guests, "I am so sorry!" That is a wise principle. The bigger the faux paus, the bigger the apology should be.

Guys learned long ago that candy, flowers and diamonds are a good way out of the doghouse. Remember, no husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes! So, if you lost it emotionally on your spouse try to think of a very sincere, very creative way to make amends. I don't know what the guy's mistake was, but I knew it had to have been pretty big when one day while driving down the freeway, I saw a huge white bed sheet with "I'm so sorry, Paula!" spray painted in big bold letters. I hope Paula forgave him because that big a gesture is very rare.

10. Keep Short Accounts. It is not unusual for passionate couples to ride the emotional roller coaster of life together. Couples who choose to let the past reside in the past get a fresh start with each other regularly. Couples who let resentments build up find that even the smallest infractions can create major conflicts. You might be able to make a few points like the husband who proposed a toast to his wife at an anniversary party:

To the two secrets for a long-lasting happy marriage: Here's to a good sense of humor -- and a short memory! May we never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.

 Originally posted October 2007.

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship experts who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.  This article is an adaptation of advice found in book, Every Marriage is a Fixer Upper (Harvest House) They are the authors of over 20 books including best-selling, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. For more info on the Farrels speaking and writing ministry see http://farrelcommunications.com.