You have told your spouse time and again that it bothers you when they do X and how you wish they would do more of Y. You’ve repeated yourself so many times now, even you’re sick of hearing it.
What should you do when innocent squabbles become repetitive marital conflicts? People communicate and listen in different ways, and sometimes not at all. This can make trying to solve marital conflict feel more like a battleground than a communication effort with your spouse.
Don’t waste your time having the same argument over and over again. By identifying recurring arguments, remaining focused on the issue at hand, and showing one another respect and understanding, you and your spouse can accomplish a lot.
Here are the top tips for how to stop fighting about the same old topics with your spouse.
Narrow in on recurring argument topics
In order to resolve repetitive marital conflicts, you’ll need to identify what topics seem to be rearing their ugly heads most often. There are 6 main topics that long-term couples tend to fight about most often. These topics are:
Pet peeves and bad habits: He doesn’t wash the dishes, she whistles in the shower, he leaves the toilet seat up, she leaves old coffee in the coffee maker. It could be the way your husband smacks his lips when he eats or your wife’s speaking pattern – whatever it is, couples love to fight about the little things.
Sex: When one partner feels like they are always being hassled or guilted for sex, or if the other feels there is not enough sex and feels a lack of emotional and sexual intimacy with their spouse, trouble will follow. A difference in sex drive, inability to orgasm or perform, differing preference for sexual frequency, kinks, and the use of protection are all triggering topics for couples.
No time together: Couples who don’t make spending time together a priority are headed for disaster. This topic is bound to come up again and again.
Finances:Arguments about money, while not generally explosive in couple behavior, is often one of the most recurrent sore subjects between married couples. Overspending, a lack of money, differences of opinion on how to budget are all very common concerns for couples.
Jealousy: Flirting online, porn addiction, spending too much time with one’s preferred gender – these are all topics that fall under the jealousy umbrella. This is one of the most argued about recurring marital conflicts and hot topics that couples will face.
Once you have narrowed down which topics are hindering the happiness in your relationship you’ll be able to focus on the real issue.
Work as a team
It’s easy to get side-tracked when emotions are high, but it’s important to stay on topic when a recurring argument ensues. Recognize why you are getting upset and avoid lumping the topic at hand in with other issues you are having in the relationship.
Your spouse is not someone who exists in your life to argue with. Do not use your discussion as an excuse to attack your partner or let past issues or resentment come to the surface. If you truly want to stop fighting about the same topics, you need to learn to work as a team.
Understand your triggers
One key to squashing repetitive marital conflicts is to understand each of your emotional triggers. For example, a jealous husband will not appreciate you spending time with other men nor will an insecure wife appreciate you commenting on her body.
Arguments are all about reaction. You want to feel safe, accepted, and appreciated in your relationship, so when your partner does something that disrupts these feelings you react strongly. Once you understand what sets each of you off, the easier it can be to avoid these topics or to work around them in a gentler manner.
You cannot reach a compromise unless you understand why you should meet each other in the middle. For example, a wife may be upset that her husband doesn’t want her to go out with her girlfriends. What he isn’t telling her is that he feels he isn’t getting any quality time with her lately and feels pushed aside.
In order to stop arguing, you need to be empathetic. Odds are if you and your spouse are arguing about the same topics, one or both of you are not feeling understood by your spouse. Both should strive to understand why the other thinks and feels the way they do and to put themselves in the other’s position.
Also watch: What Is a Relationship Conflict?
Making the first move toward conflict resolution isn’t always easy. It involves humbling yourself and displaying a willingness to communicate and resolve your issues. This means putting aside resentment, hurt feelings, and striving to pursue peace with your spouse. It also means being open and honest with your partner about what’s really bothering you.
Compromise and resolve
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are “Five Love Languages” every couple speaks. These five languages include acts of service/devotion, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and receiving gifts.
In order to find a compromise and end your repetitive marital conflicts once and for all, you must find a solution that benefits both love languages. For example, if it bothers your partner that you are not being physically affectionate, strive to deepen your emotional and physical connection.
Question yourself when you are pursuing a resolution. What is your motivation for your questions or statements – to help or to hurt your spouse? Don’t use a confrontational attitude, listen to your partner, stick to one issue at a time, and strive to resolve the issue once and for all.
No couple enjoys arguing, especially not when simple suggestions blow up and become repetitive marital conflicts. Strive to communicate together and to treat your spouse like your partner, not your enemy. These steps will help you and your spouse to overcome uncomfortable martial conflicts and solve your issues.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.