The Things Married Couples Fight About the Most May Surprise You
No matter how much you love your spouse, you’re bound to get into arguments from time to time. While some of the bickering might be just that, other fights could have a deeper issue lying underneath.
1. Spending money
Money is often an awkward topic — even for married couples. Sure, you may be legally bound together, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own ideas about how you want to spend your money. Whether you have a joint bank account or you keep your finances separate, it’s likely to come up as a sore subject.
Financial therapist Megan Ford revealed to CNN, “Money fights are rarely about the numbers in your bank account. More often they’re about trust, communication, and power.” Marriage usually implies that you and your spouse have similar life goals, which is connected to how much money is needed to attain those goals.
It’s best to make sure all parties involved are on the same page with how you’re spending your money, in order to prevent any hostility. Budgeting your spending, scheduling time to talk about it, and knowing when to get outside help are ways to avoid money getting in the way of your marriage.
2. Intimacy expectations
Keeping up with an active sex life is a common struggle for many couples. Whether you feel too busy to focus on sex our you’ve lost a connection, it can be difficult to fall back into a pattern that works for both spouses.
Researcher Brian Willoughby, Ph.D., revealed the number one question he’s asked: “How often are you supposed to have sex in a healthy marriage? I immediately say you’re thinking about sex wrong — there’s no magic number for any given couple.”
Although there’s no “magic number,” the marriage can turn resentful if one person expects sex more than the other. Huffington Post recommends scheduling in time for intimacy. It’s acknowledged that “scheduling sex tends to preclude spontaneity.” However, “Balancing scheduling with occasional spontaneity might be the best formula for success.”
3. Annoying habits
No matter how much you love someone, being around them all the time is bound to lead to some form of annoyance. Even if it’s something as small as chewing too loudly, you’re likely to zero in on the habit and get super irritated.
If it feels like you’re annoyed more often than not by their quirks, Good Housekeeping suggests that “chances are there’s something bigger bothering you, and you need to lay off them and figure out the real issue.”
4. Communication problems
Back when you and your spouse were only dating, you may have been able to talk on the phone for hours. Once you’re married, your comfort around one another might easily lead to lack of communication, or even disconnecting more often than you’re getting along.
Huffington Post reported a survey that cited communication issues as “the most common factor that leads to divorce.” John Gottman, a researcher of couples’ behavior, found that the communication issues between married couples typically involve “criticism of partners’ personality, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling (the refusal to communicate at all).”
Trying to understand your partner’s side or simply keeping the television off while you eat could do the trick. However, if you aren’t noticing a difference in your habits, taking your problems to a therapist may be your best bet.
5. You’re doing all the chores
If you live alone, you only have yourself to blame for that dirty pile of dishes. However, when you live with your spouse and have shared responsibility, it’s easier to displace the blame and ultimately cause an argument.
Relationship expert Dr. Judith Wright explains why we get so bent out of shape when it seems like our partner isn’t pulling their weight. “It may look like dirty socks on the floor, but you’re feeling like the other person isn’t appreciating your contributions.” She continued, “This is often the way power-and-control struggles play out in a relationship: trying to get dominance.”
6. Only pointing out the negatives
When you’re in an argument with your spouse, a surefire way to make them even angier is by accusing them of “always doing this” or “never doing that.” It’s going seem like you’re keeping a tally of all their past mistakes, and like you only notice when they do something wrong.
For starters, it’s unlikely that they actually always or never do something. According to Wright, these types of accusations “often stem from a sense of helplessness about the other meeting your needs or heeding your requests.”
It’s also important to acknowledge when your partner does anything positive in your relationship. Rather than denouncing it as just “what a wife or husband should do,” making an effort to thank them might actually help you appreciate and notice the “little things” more often.
7. Expecting that they’ll ‘just know’
If you have unrealistic expectations that your spouse will “just know” exactly what you want, you’re bound to be let down when it doesn’t happen. This is true in all scenarios — whether it’s sex, what you want for dinner, or why you’re giving them the silent treatment.
According to Wright, “Being in a relationship isn’t having someone to read your mind. It’s saying what it is you need and want, allowing your partner to know what your yearnings are, what you desire, what pleases you, to really be able to share that. But so many women think, ‘Well if I have to tell him, it doesn’t count.’ Yes it does! It so does!’”