It's perfectly normal and healthy for couples to argue, but only if they're doing so in constructive, respectful ways—as Kristen Bell was forced to learn early on in her relationship with now-husband Dax Shepard. During an episode of Harry airing Wednesday, the Good Place actress shared how Shepard had to "majorly train" her to be a good sparring partner, according to E! News.
"When we first met, we fell madly in love, and I loved the dramatic exit. There is nothing I craved more," she said. "I loved it. We'd get in a fight because we would fight—a lot—and I'd, like, yell something, then I'd slam the bedroom door, then I'd slam the front door, then I'd get in my car and then I'd skid out the driveway and I would just go, like, sit around the corner in my car." She added, "It felt so good, and I realized how incredibly toxic it was only after he pointed it out."
Bell said that after about three months of these dramatic exits, Shepard put his foot down. "He was like, 'Yeah, you can't leave anymore during fights. I'm not going to do that.' And I was like, 'What?'" she said. "He has a very high standard and a strong code of ethics. He was like, 'No, I have more respect for myself. I love you but I'm not going to do that my whole life.'" When host Harry Connick Jr. prompted her, Bell admitted that rather than being a dealbreaker, Shepard's ultimatum was "very" much a turn-on for her.
The 37-year-old, who married Shepard in 2013 and has since welcomed daughters Lincoln, 4, and Delta, 2, continued, "But here's how evolved he is: He said, 'Let's just help you. You are not a good fighter.' And I always thought I was, because I won. He's like, 'No, people can't do that. Our marriage won't survive.' And everything he was saying was making so much sense, and I was like, damn this guy!"
Bell revealed Shepard's simple yet effective training program. "He said, 'How about the next time we fight, you're allowed to leave the room, but not the house,' and I was like, 'Okay fine,'" she recalled. "The next fight, I left the room, I slammed the bedroom door, couldn't leave the front door, and I'm standing at the front door going like, 'I wanna leave so bad, but I really love him and he told me I couldn't, and he said it was a dealbreaker for him, so I gotta stay in the house. I gotta compromise.'" After Bell passed phase one with only a little trouble, Shepard moved on to phase two. "The next time that we fought, he was like, 'Now that you've done that, you can't leave the room.' He was like, 'You can stop talking, but you can't leave the room,'" Bell said. "So then we'd, like, have an argument, and I'd just sit there. And then I'd, like, mean-text him, just because I didn't wanna talk to him anymore."
And ever since those tumultuous early days, Bell said, "We fight beautifully." (The couple have also been refreshingly open about their regular therapy sessions, which definitely don't hurt.) She continued, "We actually disagree about 99 percent of the things on the planet, but we have an ultimate respect for each other. And he sort of said, 'No, we're allowed to disagree. You just can't be, like, crazy when we're fighting.'" Ah, the joys of open communication.