When you’re engaged in a fight with your spouse, no matter the cause, it can feel unique to your marriage, passionate, and vital that you both resolve the issue immediately.
But know that you aren’t alone in giving in and having “that ridiculous fight” that seems childish and embarrassing in retrospect. There are five fighting traps that all married couples tend to fall into from time to time. Take a look and familiarize yourself with these scenarios, and see if they feel familiar to you. Once you recognize these fighting traps, you can work with your spouse to be sure you avoid them.
Fighting about sex
Sex should be a fun and expressive part of your marriage, and nothing is more stressful than when your sex life becomes a source of conflict. Different libidos, preferences, and expectations can all trap people into fighting about sex. Ironically, this fighting, though it comes from a place of need, makes it more difficult for couples to feel comfortable enough to ask for and engage in the sex life they desire. Sex can be very tied up in self-esteem, and it is very easy to become angry and resort to fighting when we don’t feel desired or satisfied.
Sexual desire is a complicated issue, and it is important that you and your partner check in regularly to be sure you are satisfied with how you both engage in sex. There may be differences in what you need and want, but if these are identified in safe and supportive conversation, most of these inconsistencies can be easily resolved. Be sure to not give into anger or resentment when discussing your sex life, and you’ll both find it easier to stay excited for a long time.
Fighting about finances
Money is one of the primary sources of conflict for couples at all stages of their relationship. Financial security relates to our lifestyles, our careers, and our future goals, so it is no wonder that we can tend to get upset when our partner is not on the same page as us. Ideas on spending, saving, and buying rewards differ from person to person, and it is important that each of you identify early what your goals are, to avoid having regular fights about credit card bills.
Having an early, open and honest conversation about your concerns and what you would like to achieve as a couple is a great first step to ensuring this fight can be avoided. Setting a realistic monthly budget after a conversation of compromise is the best way to avoid anger and resentment about your finances.
We have all been there. In the hours after a wedding or party, you’ve both had a couple of drinks, and suddenly the smallest issues can turn into an all-out screaming match. Alcohol can lower our inhibition, make us more emotional, and amplify existing problems in our relationship, and you are not alone in facing the dreaded drunk fight.
Obviously, this issue can be avoided by abstaining for drinking or drinking in moderation. If the drinks are going to be flowing, however, there are things you can do to avoid this problem. If this is an issue in your relationship, recognize and discuss it when sober. Both of you can easily come to an agreement that you will disengage from angry fights when drinking and wait to discuss when sober. If you find yourself getting upset after a few drinks, “check in” and remind yourself and your partner that you love them.
Fighting about your exes
The fight about the exes is one that stems from insecurity. Many times, people enter a relationship thinking it is a fresh start and that they don’t need to ever have the “ex-talk.” Despite these good intentions, we all come with a history and with baggage that may provoke this conversation to emerge. If done in the wrong way, a fight is inevitable.
Fighting about past relationships always stems from a partner’s sense of insecurity. Being clear about how you feel, your commitment, and that the past is now behind you is a great way to reassure your partner. If you find yourself starting the “ex-fight,” take a moment when you are calm to explain to your partner why you are upset, and what worries you and leads to the fighting. This fight is a wonderful way for you both to reassure one another, commit to your marriage, and get perspective on past experiences.
The “ex issue” may not even come up early in your relationship or your marriage. It may emerge after you’ve been married for several years. It may also feel a little bit ridiculous that you have to deal with the issue after being married to someone for so long. The key here is not to overthink. If an issue comes up, deal with it, no matter how ridiculous it may sound or feel. We live in a connected world. It is easy for your spouse to look up his or her exes. It is also easy for the exes of your spouse to look him or her up, which is why you want to make sure that you are dealing with issues in your marriage as soon as they come up.
Fighting about special occasions
Special occasions are wonderful times for any couple. They provide the opportunity for you to get to know each other’s friends and families better, take pictures, and have time together away from work. But these special occasions can come with a lot of stress from preparation, and disappointment from unmet expectations.
Fights related to special occasions tend to emerge toward the end of a holiday or the next day. They usually stem from one partner having expected something they did not communicate. If you and your spouse tend to fall into this trap, a simple conversation about what you expect is the way to avoid it. The things that lead to the special occasion fight may be small things, including how late you stayed at the party, how much you drank, the way your mother was greeted, but because of the emphasis put on these occasions, the issues may seem out of proportion.
Be sure you and your partner take time to understand what you need and want from special events and take the time to provide it to them.
In the aftermath of these fights, you may feel embarrassed, or even confused about why seemingly small issues escalated so quickly. But remember, these are traps that all couples fall into, and are very easy to avoid. Be sure to talk to your partner in the aftermath of these fights, and you’ll find it easy to avoid the small things that trigger these fights in future.