How to tackle common argument triggers minus the stress
Conflict is a part of relationships. When two individuals merge their lives, clashes are bound to happen. The key is how those conflicts are handled.
Conflict in a relationship is deeply personal, and stressful for all involved, but there are some common things that most couples argue over. And if you know what they are, you can be aware of them and learn to handle these areas better as a couple so your relationship is more harmonious and less fractious.
Money is often a reflection of personal values around security, freedom, generosity and lifestyle. If you both differ on how to spend money, then without some frank discussion and negotiation, it can lead to catastrophic fights … and ones that only repeat themselves throughout the years.
If you find yourselves arguing about money, rather than focus on the dollar amounts and items that were purchased, sit down and talk about how you each feel about money and what having money and not having enough money means to you. Once you talk more generally, you’ll be better able to get past the triggers and negotiate strategies that work for both of you.
2. Division of domestic responsibilities
When one partner feels the load is not shared, let alone not equal, resentment builds which can lead to explosive clashes. But what really leads to conflict is the lack of appreciation for what each partner does contribute, as well as a sense of fairness that over time dissolves so that one partner feels more responsible for all areas of the home than the other.
The best way to stop the home front becoming a battle zone, whether you have children or not, is to talk through your expectations, both in terms of duties, and in terms of appreciation for those efforts and roles. Share that, and then the process of sharing actual chores is a much happier prospect.
3. Power in the relationship
Partners who feel like they don’t have an equal voice in the relationship, and don’t participate in equal decision making, will often try to be more heard by being louder. The other partner, who may on the surface seem more “go with the flow” can eventually feel railroaded into decisions which are meant to be worked out as a couple. So instead of handling the power dynamic through calm negotiation and expression of concern and feelings, it erupts in a large argument that the other partner didn’t see coming.
The key here is for both partners to be aware of one another’s personalities, especially if one is more take charge and one is more laid back, and agree together to absolutely make all important decisions together, as well as practice that value on the little daily things too.
4. Sex, touch and affection
As people change over time, their desires change, and couples sometimes have a difficult time discussing their sexual and intimacy needs because they are shy, embarrassed or plain think their partner should just know what they want and need. The reality is that men and women of all ages have a fluctuating libido – that’s natural – and almost every life factor you can think of will affect it, from stress to diet to quality of sleep, and how connected you feel to one another.
Establishing how much affection and sex you both want is important because each of those may very well be quite different for each of you and if your needs don’t get met, unhappiness results, and a recipe for conflict forms. Work out how much loving touch, lustful touch and climactic time you each want to share and then negotiate to meet in the middle so that you both can be happy.
5. Extended family
When you enter into a relationship with your partner, you merge your world with theirs, which includes their significant others, besides you. This could be children from a previous relationship, and other family members they are close to, as well as their best friends. Couples can fight often if one or more of those extended others infringes too much on the quality time spent with each other alone as a couple. The friction can occur from personality clashes, but also it can happen just because a balance isn’t being met.
In order to prevent conflicts with each other about extended family and friends, be sure you share with each other how important those people are to you and talk through how best to make everyone feel special and important, while preserving your relationship as a priority.
How to ensure you fight fair
Practice listening to one another. First pick topics that you don’t usually fight about and have a conversation. Take turns talking and paraphrasing back what you hear your partner saying. Work your way up to more difficult topics, so that with practice, you’re able to tackle those trigger issues without intense, unproductive fights, and instead hone your listening and negotiation skills.
With or without fights, at the heart of your relationship you need to ask yourselves: do you feel safe and respected in your relationship? Do you share open and equal communication? Are you free to express your feelings and opinions and are you listened to? If so, your conflict is being managed well and your relationship would be able to withstand your disagreements, because overall you are good for one another and life together is mutually beneficial. You want to raise each other up, not bring each other down. And that’s what healthy relationships are all about.