Sometimes it seems nothing is off limits for a good fight between spouses. Whether it’s the age-old debate over who’s choosing a restaurant, patterned versus plain drapes in a bedroom, or who forgot to fill the car with gas, it’s all fair in the game of love and war! If you want to throw down, no topic is off limits, but Dr. Jenn Mann, a psychotherapist and the host/therapist for VH1’s Couples Therapy calls this short list of five the “greatest hits.”
“These are the most common things couples will fight about,” she told TapGenes.
- Household chores/cleaning
“All of these conflicts are really about connection, feeling valued and about passionate beliefs (parenting!),” Mann explained. “Couples often play out power struggles and conflicts behind other arguments.”
When you’re mad about the toilet seat and he’s mad about your parking job, there’s often so much more lying just below the surface. It’s easier to address the position of a toilet seat that delve in (again) to why his mother is always rude to you.
Brooke Randolph, LMHC has worked with couples for years, in both pre- and marital counseling sessions. She shared some insight into a few of these common arguments.
Randolph says tensions can develop from different priorities in parenting or different styles. “We all tend to default to parenting the way we were parented. Even those who reject the methods their parents used are likely to default to them at some point,” she said. She shared that where the fight starts is that we take too personally anything that we believe might hurt our children. Whether with your spouse or a stranger, those mama bear tendencies rise up.
No one is unfamiliar with the catalyst for fights that money is. Whether there’s enough or how it is spent are major stressors. “For couples arguing about finances, I would suggest they talk frankly about their financial goals and concerns,” recommended Randolph. “I also suggest that they engage the services of financial professionals to take some of the emotion out of the discussion and decisions.”
“Disagreements about sex, how, and how often can be experienced as judgements about morality, leading to a greater divide,” said Randolph. Talk about a personal, deeply intimate subject — no wonder it causes strife! “On a smaller scale, sex and sexual desires can be difficult topics that feel taboo to discuss. Some may find it difficult to even express their desire for physical intimacy,” she said. So look for ways to open up with your partner to improve not only the experience, but remove the likelihood for arguments.
What’s the best way to resolve any of these situations?
Dr. Jenn suggests that “Couples need to seek to understand their partner instead of being right in order to work though conflicts. We are at our most open and negotiable when we feel seen, heard and understood in our relationships. Help your partner to feel that. Typically, conflict is 50/50 in any relationship. It is important to own your part of the problem and change your behavior.
Why should you care about fighting less? Well, not only does it make spending time together so much more enjoyable, but it’s actually better for your health!
Dr. Jenn explained that fights cause an increase in blood pressure. This is more typical in men who are more apt to be physically affected by the conflicts than their female partners.
“That said, it is hard on everyone. You can never completely avoid conflict. Healthy relationships have conflict and partners learn how to work through it,” Dr. Jenn said.
“Studies show that what matters is the ratio of positive to negative – which you want to be 5 to 1, ideally – for a relationship to last.”
TapGenes Take Away: Are you two at it again? Here are the most common arguments among couples with tips from Dr. Jenn Lane on how to move past them.
Read More at TapGenes
This is a huge step for you and your partner! Before you take the big step, we collected some useful information for your and your partner. Download our FREE EBOOK for all the information you need in one spot!