My wife and I hate to fight, mainly because it cuts into our TV watching. Still, a whole cottage industry is encouraging us to pause ‘The Walking Dead’ to engage in open warfare, insisting that hashing stuff out is the foundation of a healthy marriage. Having enjoyed wedded bliss for 20 years myself, I’ve learned these things are actually worth the battle.
Fight about: sex
My wife loves hugs. If it were up to her, all we would do is hug. If she could have figured a way to have had a baby via hugs, that’s how our daughter would have been conceived. I don’t like hugs. It’s this close to being in a headlock. The fact is hugging makes her feel that I care. That I love her not just for her body but for who she is. Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness told Woman’s Day that a wife needs to tell her husband, “When you hold my hand or hug me, it reminds me you love me.” Works every time. Here are 6 reasons men say no to sex.
Fight about: TV
According to Mashable.com, the thing couples fight over most is the remote. While that is thoroughly pathetic, I used that statistic as a ploy to distract my wife and steal the remote from her. It didn’t work, because the TV remote is the most important thing in the world to us (see Mashable). And because Jennifer is younger, smaller, quicker, and stronger than me, she was able to weasel the control away from me and keep it glued to the CW channel (Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The 100 … hello!). But there is a way around this: rotate shows. This is what the Family Simmons now does. Nobody gets to be the Kim Jong Un of the remote all the time. Just some of the times. Jennifer gets to choose a show, then I get to choose a show, then our 13-year-old daughter gets to choose one of her lousy shows. We started doing this a few years ago during a road trip. Rather than spend the entire time listening to Hannah Montana on a loop, we agreed to take turns. This way, everyone would be equally miserable. Quinn would choose a few songs, then Jennifer got a few that she enjoyed, and then we’d listen to the good stuff I liked.
Fight about: time with your kids
When Quinn was much younger, she could sit and play with her Polly Pocket dolls for hours. And there would be Jennifer seated by her side lining them up, exchanging outfits, creating scenes, and contemplating suicide. Adults who easily get bored playing with Polly Pockets are not bad parents; they’re sane. What Jennifer wanted wasn’t to stop playing with Quinn. She cherishes her time with our daughter. What she wanted was for me to pick up some of the slack. Relationship expert Marina Sbrochi told HuffingtonPost.com that couples need to divvy up the responsibilities. “Sit down with your spouse and go over your schedule and figure out how to divide and conquer.”
Fight about: “nothing”
Have you ever asked your spouse what was wrong only to have them respond “Nothing?” Nothing, of course, has the ability to blow up into something. It’s often the result of a festering wound: “You didn’t sign your email with XOX!” “Any number of things can precipitate an unwanted argument: a linguistic habit, resentment, or an emotional state such as boredom,” writes Nando Pelusi, PhD, on PsychologyToday.com. “Phrasing can create misunderstandings.” For example, the words “You didn’t sign your email with XOX!” convey an indictment, says Pelusi. But the words “I love it when you send emails with XOX,” convey a desire. And desire is always better than an indictment. Check out these surprising secrets of happily married couples.
Fight about: money
Here’s the deal: I’m cheap, my wife isn’t. It’s not that she’s a profligate spender. One look at our house or her closet would tell you that. But she isn’t counting pennies. That’s because I’m hoarding the pennies. And the nickels and the dimes, and so forth. I’m a veritable Scrooge McDuck, and at times this difference has made us so angry we refused to sign our emails with XOX. But Gilda Carle, PhD, writing for Match.com, had a nifty idea. Couples should set up three bank accounts, “A ‘You’ account, a ‘Me’ account and a ‘We’ account,” she wrote. This way, both of us feel free to spend or not spend as much money as we like, while having one account that “bonds” us together.
Fight about: bathroom behavior
For some reason, Jennifer doesn’t find endearing the fact that my loose hair finds its way in every nook and cranny of the bathroom. She also doesn’t like that I don’t flush every time (“We could suffer a drought any day now!” I tell her). I, on the other hand, can’t fathom what she’s doing behind a locked bathroom door for 30 minutes. These are bathroom issues, truly the most basic of problems. There’s one way to handle such issues, according to Dr. Carle: with humor. Crack a gentle joke that gets your point across. After all, she writes, “laughter accelerates and maintains the romance.” Here are all your major bathroom etiquette questions, answered.
Fight about: house guests
There’s an old saying that goes, “House guests are like cheese. After a while they get moldy, stinky, and taste good melted over ham.” While having guests can be fun, it’s a lot of work: cleaning the house, shopping, cooking, keeping everyone entertained. And the worst house guest is one that doesn’t come with an expiration date. Since house guests can eat up your groceries as well as your goodwill, you should consider the following before you commit to host duty, suggests Briana Ford, on BlackandMarriedWithKids.com: Can you afford for them to stay with you? How long are they staying? Is your spouse okay with having a guest? Are you okay with having a guest? Probably the most important point here is a question you need to ask your guests the moment they arrive: “When are you getting the hell out of here?” Once you understand that it’s a firm date, both you and your spouse will be able to see the finish line, which should make matters easier. And, of course, divvy up the duties so that both of you bear the pain and benefits of having a guest.