You may have never heard of Winchester, Virginia, but it’s one of the most fascinating Civil War stories around. During the conflict, the city changed hands between the North and South an astounding 74 times. Talk about fighting over the same thing over and over again.
The same can be true in marriage. The majority of conflict is usually centered around the same things. 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 about time to call a cease fire.
Here are the top 10 things that lead to couples fighting and how to 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, then the conversation about money can move from the emotional and into the practical.
2. Family Communication
“You never talk!” “You never listen!” Well, it’s easy to be distracted, so try this:
- No 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 time for a face-to-face every day.
Of course, you fight about the children! Recognize the fact that tensions run high because you 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.
Intimacy? Who has time for that? Consider this, busy parents. You schedule everything else that’s important…the things that you believe you shouldn’t miss. Isn’t this part of your relationship worth a little planning? Call it “planned spontaneity” if you like. Here’s an important truth: Planning doesn’t kill spontaneity, it simply gives your creative impulse room to find its voice. [Tweet This]
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 of veto? First things first: Power in the marriage relationship equation 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 one, but you can undo your marriage if you take her for granted.
Some couples fight based on denominational preference, some fight over the fundamentals of faith, some fight regarding levels of commitment and some fight about religion because one of them is interested and the other is not. Regardless of the fight, try to live your faith with authenticity, integrity, and humility. The closer you are to God then the closer (no matter where your spouse stands) you are to your mate. The key point here is your faithfulness, not theirs.
Question: Do we have to talk about politics? Answer: Believe me, we do!
OK, so why do you fight? Because your spouse is wrong? Because your spouse would surely 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? Again, the important thing here is to cultivate an atmosphere in which you can talk about anything because your spouse knows you love and respect them 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 past. Let it stay there. Move on.
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?”