You CAN save your marriage — even if you fight daily.You CAN restore that passion you felt for one another when you first kissed. And you can bring back that love and connection you felt for one another before the constant fighting and drama. If you feel like your marriage is worth saving, then do yourself a favor and watch this free video at Mend the Marriage. The marriage you save may be your own!
How often does the average couple argue?My wife and I have minor disagreements a few times a week. We don't really have super-big blowups anymore and luckily, haven't really in years. But we do have somewhat larger disagreements a few times a year. But maybe we're in the minority. According to a recent survey by Esure, couples argue an amazing 2,455 times per year! That amounts to over 6 arguments a day, which honestly seems a bit crazy to me unless you're counting tiffs over whether to eat breakfast tacos or waffles for breakfast. All the experts seem to say that the way to argue effectively is to:
- Put yourself in the shoes of your spouse
- Listen actively with empathy
- Repeat back what they said to ensure they feel heard and that you understood
How to argue with your spouse constructivelySo to have an effective argument, where both people feel heard and respected, watch the first words that come out of your mouth. In my case, I work all day, have an almost hour commute and sometimes when I arrive, the kids are going crazy and the house is a wreck. But I've been gone 10 hours. I actually have NO idea what's happened in those 10 hours. If I just start in on my wife with something like "What the hell have you been doing all day? This place is a wreck!", right out of the gate, you know we're headed for trouble. She'll naturally get defensive and won't really respond to my questions. Instead, she'll be much more likely to hurl insults or criticisms back. That will naturally make me want to escalate since I think I'm right and I'm going to want to dig my feels in. Trust me; having argued that way 10+ years ago, I know it will end badly. If you and your spouse fight that way frequently, you stand a very good chance of getting divorced.
Here are some tips for how to argue with your spouse constructively:
- Use "I" instead of "you"
- Talk about your feelings and not what you think they should or shouldn't be doing
- Avoid namecalling and profanity
- Don't raise your voice
- Talk about things as they come up rather than letting them build up and later explode
What are top three things married couples fight about?For most married couples, the top arguments are usually about:
- Money (spending, debt, not being on the same page)
- Sex (as in the frequency with which it happens)
- Kids (as in parenting styles, discipline, chores, and grades)
Is arguing healthy in a relationship?Every relationship, romantic or not, faces its challenges. And the way that we get through these challenges as humans is to talk it out; but sometimes talking can turn to arguing. Working through relationship issues is a tough but unavoidable reality. But in and of itself, arguing isn't unhealthy. It's HOW we argue that makes it healthy or unhealthy. Trust me; every day, perfectly happy couples argue and disagree and don't end up divorced. My wife and I have been married for over 13 years. But in the early years of our marriage, it wasn't uncommon for us to yell, name call, and use profanity in our arguments. They went from disagreeing with each other to us simply trying to say whatever would hurt the other the most. Not only was that incredibly damaging to our marriage, but it also wasn't healthy for us as people or our young family. It wasn't until we discovered the work of Dr. John Gottman through marriage counseling, that things began to turn around. If you don't know Gottman and his amazing work, check out my review of his award-winning book the 7 Principals for Making Marriage Work. That book literally saved our marriage and my review walks you through exactly what we did. But what really constitutes fighting? Bickering on a daily basis? Screaming matches? Let's examine some of the top ways couples "fight" and define each one:
BickeringBickering with one another on a daily basis is completely normal. My wife and I will get annoyed with one another for not doing the dishes, or leaving socks on the floor, or arguing over whose turn it is to scoop the litter, but these are small little arguments that ultimately do not damage our relationship. We are human beings trying to live with another human being with free will and their own emotions and thoughts, there are always going to be little arguments over things like this. The important thing is to communicate and not just bicker. If you find yourself annoyed repeatedly about something your partner does, tell them, and work out a way to avoid arguments in the future. Bickering over little things is a healthy and normal part of working together in a relationship. You can’t discover what annoys your partner or what your expectations are without arguing a little bit. In a recent article, I break down all 15 steps needed to rekindle your marriage so you can eventually have a better relationship than you ever thought possible. Just click the link to read it now on my site. Even if you only followed step #3, you could see an immediate improvement in your marriage.
ArguingWhere hurt feelings can begin to arise and animosity can begin to form is when big arguments occur every day. Arguing is typically what occurs when hurt feelings and emotions begin to get involved. Sometimes annoyed bickering can turn into arguing when one spouse feels they aren't being heard. For example, if you and your spouse bicker about the laundry every day, eventually someone will begin to not feel heard.
Person 1: Why didn’t you fold the laundry?
Person 2: I didn’t feel like it.
Person 1: You can’t just not do the laundry because you don’t feel like it. I work every day and I don’t want to have to do more work when I come home. You are here all day playing video games the least you could do it fold the laundry.
Person 2: Geez you are such a nag.In this example, we can see an example turning into an argument about something more, where underlying feelings and animosity are beginning to rise to the surface. These sorts of fights can be worked through if the underlying feelings are finally revealed and understood.
Person 1: I’m sorry I got upset with you, I have just been really stressed since you lost your job and I feel like I have to take care of all the finances.
Person 2: I know, and I am sorry I have not been helping as much as I could be. I don’t want you to feel stressed.
FightingWhen people are continually arguing and no one is attempting to understand one another, this is when fights can get into unhealthy territory. When couples are fighting with one another, and screaming at each other, it is usually indicative that hurt feelings have gone unnoticed or uncared for.
Person 1: You aren’t even trying to get a job. You can’t just lay around here all day and expect me to care for you like your my child. You are a grown adult and you can take care of yourself.
Person 2: I’m trying to follow my dreams and I can’t do that with you nagging me all the time.
Person 1: I don’t care about your dreams, I care about the overdue bills piling up, just get a job already.
Person 2: I feel like you don’t support me.
Person 1: Honestly, right now, I don’t.People are petty, and when their feelings or emotions are hurt, they want the other person to feel the same way they do. A lot of fighting is things that people don’t mean, but they were just attempting to hurt their partner's feelings the same way they have been hurt. Dr. Gottman, who I 've referenced a few times above, believes there are actually 4 things couples do when arguing that consistently let him predict divorce over 90% of the time. He calls those the 4 Horsemen. In a recent article, I break down exactly what those 4 are and how they damage your marriage. But, more importantly, I walk you through the steps my wife and I took to stop doing them. Just click the link to read it on my site.
ViolenceNo matter what sort of argument you and your partner are experiencing, there is never an acceptable reason to become violent. Any sort of physical violence is never an act of love. No matter how much they apologize for their actions or say that ‘it won’t happen again’, the hard truth is that it will happen again. If you or someone you know is in a physically abusive relationship please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673). The National Sexual Assault Hotline is completely confidential and they:
- ‘Only make reports to the police or other agencies when the caller consents, unless obligated by law’
- ‘Only access the first six numbers of the phone number to route the call to a local support staff’
- ‘Have 24/7 help online at rainn.org’