You may never have heard of Winchester, Virginia, but it has one of the most fascinating Civil War stories. During the conflict, the city changed hands between the north and the south an astounding 74 times. Talk about fighting about the same thing over and over again. The same can be true for couples fighting in marriage.
The majority of a married couple’s conflicts usually center again and again on the same points of tension. You don’t communicate well enough. She doesn’t really listen to what you have to say, anyway. You spend too much time working. She spends too much, period. On and on it goes. Well, it’s time to call a cease-fire. Here are the top 10 things that lead to couples fighting and how you can resolve them.
Sit down together and work out a budget. Agree to take a look at expenses every month. If the meeting is prearranged and you both come to the table with 100% transparency, the conversation about money can move from the emotional to the practical.
2. Family Communication
“You never talk!” “You never listen!” Well, distraction can disrupt communication, so try these:
- Don’t watch TV during meals.
- Dedicate 30 minutes every evening to “conversation with coffee” (or the beverage of your choice).
- Go through our conversation starters and actually schedule a time for face-to-face communication every day.
There will always be couples fighting about children. Recognize that tensions run high because you both love them so much. Then turn conflict into communication by saying, “I need your help figuring out how to deal with this” at the start of those conversations.
Planning doesn’t kill spontaneity. It simply gives your creative impulse room to find its voice.Intimacy? Who has time for that? Consider this, busy parents. You schedule everything else that’s important—the things you believe you shouldn’t miss. Isn’t this part of your relationship worth a little planning? Call it “planned spontaneity” if you’d like. Here’s an important truth: Planning doesn’t kill spontaneity. It simply gives your creative impulse room to find its voice.
Do you know The Rolling Stones’ old tune Time Is on My Side? Well, it’s wrong. Time is typically the thief of family harmony. Couples fight all the time for a stake in how the 24 hours are divvied up. Instead of fighting, join forces. “Okay, here’s the day/week/vacation. Let’s figure out how to make it work for us.” Make it a partnership against the conspiracy of time—the common foe.
Are they my priorities, her priorities, or our priorities, and who has the power to veto? First things first: Power in the marriage relationship is gained only by giving it away. It’s important to remember that the first priority is always love, that love gives itself away, and that “love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.” (Paul, circa 70 A.D.)
Jealousy is best defined as resentment against a rival. In marriage, everything can be a potential rival. The children, possessions, friends, work, colleagues, church commitments. The perception of rivalry is as powerful as the reality of it and as such, should never be discounted. So, All Pro Dads, make it your business to communicate what is true to your wife! You can’t overdo this, but you can undo your marriage if you take her for granted.
Some couples fight over denominational preference, some fight over the fundamentals of faith, some fight over levels of commitment, and some fight over religion, because one of you is interested and the other is not. Regardless of the fight, live your faith with authenticity, integrity, and humility. The closer you are to God, the closer you are to your mate, no matter where your spouse stands. The key point here is your faithfulness, not theirs.
It’s important to cultivate an atmosphere in which you can talk about anything because your spouse knows you love and respect her, regardless of disagreement.Question: Do we have to talk about politics? Answer: Believe me, we do! So why do you fight? Because your spouse is wrong? Because your spouse surely would come around to your way of thinking if you just repeated your talk radio sound bite one more time? Or, maybe the fight comes in response to the fact that you fail to value her opinion or she refuses to respect yours. It’s important to cultivate an atmosphere in which you can talk about anything because your spouse knows you love and respect her, regardless of disagreement. Browbeating your spouse into thinking in lockstep will not ever bring peace or joy to your household. Don’t just agree to differ. Learn to understand your wife’s opinion—you might just learn something.
10. The Past
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Never argue historically. But we do. We bring up the past and we hold it over one another’s heads. Here’s a good question to ask yourself if you’re tempted to throw something in your wife’s face that she can’t do a thing about today: “So what?” You’re not the same person anymore and neither is she. The past is in the past. Let it stay there. Move on.
Sound off: What do you and your wife usually argue about?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What do you think causes us the most conflict and what is one thing I can do to change that?”