No matter how perfect the wedding and romantic the honeymoon, sooner or later the day-to-day reality catches up with every married couple. And then the fights begin. While minor disagreements are an inevitable part of two different personalities sharing a home and life, major and repeatedly unresolved quarrels often have the potential to develop into reasons for a breakup. So if you find you and your partner going the same way, here are ten ways to stop fighting in a marriage.
Don’t forget the basics
Treat your spouse like you would treat another individual who comes your way at your workplace or at a coffee shop, that is with courtesy and respect. Often couples get so caught up in a rage that they forget the basics of civil behavior. If it is not alright for you to shout at and say angry words at a stranger in the supermarket queue, why should you do it to your spouse who in fact as your life-partner deserves the most consideration? Remembering to follow the basics of social interaction can prevent minor disagreements from turning into heated quarrels.
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Put things in perspective
A popular approach to life’s problems in recent times came up with the slogan, “don’t sweat the small stuff” and indeed if you start applying it in your daily married life, it could make a difference. Ask yourself if it really matters that your spouse has not put away the crockery in the correct cabinet when in fact it is evident that he has done the dishes. Often it is better to let the minor things take care of themselves since what is the point of having a perfectly organized life if it involves you and your partner fighting so much.
Sometimes, the provocation may be too great to ignore. You come back home after a grueling day only to find your spouse’s wet towel still on the bed – for the third time in a week. In the circumstance, it is easy to blow a fuse and accuse your partner of not doing his/her bit around the house. But if you just allow yourself a couple of moments to calm down, say with a cup of coffee on the porch, you may be better able to figure how to go about telling your spouse that he/she needs to wake up to married life.
It’s not about winning
Most of the times fights, whether minor or major, are about proving yourself right. This is evident in situations where you want your annual vacation to be at a beach while your spouse is in favor of an adventure holiday. Such fights usually stem from differing tastes and priorities. While it is not possible for two separate individuals to always want the same things, try to find some common ground or work on a mutually satisfying compromise. Say you go to the beach after all but also make it a point to include scuba-diving or surfing in your itinerary. The whole point is to see yourselves as part of the same team and not as opponents who need to cross swords in order to prove who has the upper hand in the marriage.
Choose your battles
Yet another way of avoiding fights in a marriage is to get your priorities right. It is not possible or even desirable to let your spouse take all the decisions all the time. Decide what is important to you and then stick to your guns. Suppose there is a big wedding coming up in your spouse’s family and a large expense is inevitable. Instead of fighting about going to the wedding, let your spouse go ahead with a generous gift but put your foot down on tapping the kids’ college fund or your vacation fund. Similarly be flexible on most issues that crop up in a marriage from time to time so that when it is about something important to you, you can take a stand and not budge an inch.
Be careful of the big issues
Money and infidelity are two of the most common issues that lead to divorces. When matters like these are concerned, be extra careful about your actions and always keep your spouse’s feelings in mind. For instance stay away from making rash, expensive purchases which you both have not discussed before. Likewise, refrain from having a drink with an attractive person of the opposite sex even when you know that your spouse can never find about it. Abuse of trust that stems from such impulsive actions can not only lead to fights but to a breaking down of the relationship even.
Give a little
Where love and intimacy is concerned, it never harms to be a little more generous. You already know what your spouse needs from you, so why not give a bit more. Hug and kiss your wife more often than you do. Hold hands when you both take a walk. Do fewer chores around the house so that you are not too tired to make love to your husband. These gestures will not stop quarrels from happening but definitely prevent them from flaring up into fights and make it easier for you to make up afterwards.
At certain times it may not be possible to avoid a fight, particularly when a major issue needs to be resolved. However what you can do is to fight fair. Agree not to raise your voices at each other or give way to abusive language. Instead of hurling accusations at your partner, discuss what has been bothering you and if you both can find a way to address these concerns. A useful thumb-of-rule here is to avoid sentences that start with “you” like “you never take me out these days” and stick to those that begin with “I”, like “I feel neglected when you work on weekends”. Also avoid sweeping generalizations like “you never listen to me” or “you always flirt with others”.
Avoid involving others
In the game of marital one-upmanship, it is quite easy to involve other people. Family, close friends and children particularly are often dragged in to take sides. While in case of minor quarrels, friends may act as mediators, in the long run such an approach is neither advisable nor effective. This is your marriage and all issues will only be resolved when you two take responsibility.
Take professional help
However if you find it impossible to resolve issues between yourselves and find that the fights have led your marriage to a breaking point, then the only way you can save your relationship is by seeking professional help. Unlike friends and family, only a counselor or therapist can bring an objective view into the troubles affecting your marriage. More than that, a professional can help you both to communicate with each other and find the way back into a fulfilling relationship.