Want an interesting way to kill a few spare minutes? Do an internet search on the most common issues couples fight about. You’ll get a ton of results. You will see top five lists, top ten lists, and on and on. We found one list with so many possibilities that we never finished reading the article.
Human beings are different. Get two people together in a room and they are bound to disagree about something. Even more so for married couples, who can spend decades together and still not fully understand one another. All of this is to say that disagreements and fights are normal. It is what couples do with them that matters.
As a clinic offering couples’ and marriage counseling in Rye, New York, we have plenty of experience helping couples learn to work through their disagreements. We can help you, as long as you are willing. In the meantime, how many of the things discussed below do you and your spouse fight over?
1. How Free Time Is Spent
Renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman is firm in his belief that most of what couples fight about amounts to nothing. In other words, couples do not plan to sit down and discuss a given topic with the knowledge that it will devolve into a fight or disagreement. Their fights and disagreements are the result of nothing in particular.
For example, a couple might have some free time on a Friday night. One partner wants to see a movie while the other would prefer to enjoy a formal dinner and drinks. What both intended to be a quality evening together is ruined because they spend the next 30 minutes arguing over what they are going to do.
2. Financial Decisions and Control
Perhaps you’ve heard that the number one thing couples fight over is money. That has never been proven statistically but fights over financial decisions and control are fairly common.
In the decision-making arena, couples might disagree over a specific financial decision one partner has made. Sometimes they fight over a pattern of disagreements that go unresolved. Where control is concerned, couples may fight over who ultimately controls most of the major financial decisions.
3. Division of Household Chores
It takes work to run a household. There are always chores to do, and who really wants to do them? The unfortunate thing about chores is that they often lead to fights among couples. Partners will disagree over the division of chores with some of those disagreements leading to fights, especially when one partner feels the other isn’t toeing the line.
4. Physical Intimacy
Physical intimacy tends to be easy when relationships are new. But as relationships age, intimacy changes. There are physical changes to the body that ultimately influence intimacy. Likewise, emotional changes can influence how both partners feel about their need or desire for intimate contact.
5. Extended Family Relationships
There are times when fights between couples erupt over external influences. And when external influence is being exerted by extended family members, things can get dicey. All those jokes about getting along with your mother-in-law have at least some truth attached to them.
It is natural to want to defend your extended family. But when extended family members come between partners, the results can be ugly.
Fights and disagreements are normal among married couples. Even unmarried couples fight from time to time. As relationship counselors, we can tell you that how you deal with fights and disagreements is more important than the topics you are fighting over.