We’ve all met that couple who bickers constantly. It’s uncomfortable to be around. But worse yet, it’s unhealthy for their marriage. When couples are constantly bickering, the negative interactions take a serious toll on the relationship.
When couples are always arguing, there’s little room for gratitude, praise, and pleasant interactions. If you and your spouse have fallen into the bad habit of constantly bickering it is important to make some changes fast. Follow these tips to learn how to stop the constant arguing.
Give Up the Need to be Right
When you begin arguing with your spouse, ask yourself, what’s more important, proving your spouse wrong or maintaining the relationship? Too often, people really feel the need to be right and will do so at all costs. This can be very damaging to the relationship.
Instead, it’s okay to agree to disagree. If you say “It takes 20 minutes to get to Grandma’s house” and your spouse says “No it takes 30 minutes,” is there really a need to try and prove you can get there in 20 minutes? You don’t have to share the same opinions, ideas, and thoughts and that’s okay! Preserving the relationship is way more important than fighting it out in most cases.
Gain Clarification First
Many arguments are due to lack of understanding in the first place. So, before you jump in and start arguing, gain some clarification first. This can make the difference between a discussion and an argument.
For example, if your spouse says, “I really don’t like going to your mother’s for Christmas,” don’t assume she means she isn’t going to go at all. Instead, ask her what she means and what she plans to do. Then you can work together on addressing the issue instead of arguing about how she has never liked your mother and how unfair it is that she won’t spend the holidays with her.
Examine What You are Actually Arguing About
Most arguments aren’t worth arguing about. Just think about your last few fights. Can you remember what they were even over? How about what you fought about last year? Most couples will say, “I don’t remember what we were fighting about the other day but it was over something stupid.”
Too often, people argue about things that don’t even matter. Ask yourself, five years from now, will this matter? If the answer is no, consider not arguing about.
For example, a wife is telling a story about how she saw her sister-in-law on Tuesday. Her husband interrupts her to say, “No, actually it was Wednesday that you ran into Janine.” The wife then states, “No, it was Tuesday because I had just picked up the kids from soccer practice.” The argument ensues about whether or not it was Tuesday or Wednesday. Arguing about trivial things wastes your time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.
Address Problems as They Arise
When you are arguing, it can be important to ask yourself, “Is this really what I’m upset about?” Sometimes arguments arise from unresolved feelings about something completely unrelated.
For example, a wife is arguing with her husband about the shoes he left in the middle of the floor. She tells him he’s a slob and doesn’t do anything to help around the house. Really, she’s angry he went golfing all day the day before but she didn’t mention it at the time.
When you are upset or angry, discuss your feelings. Otherwise, they may come out in other ways. Building up resentment will only damage the marriage and may leave your spouse feeling confused.
Don’t Bring up the Past
It’s not fair to bring up the past in the midst of an argument. Don’t use the “well at least I didn’t…” line to try and win an argument. Instead, make sure to leave the past in the past.
If you have some unresolved feelings about the past, bring them up when you are both calm so you can discuss them. Don’t try to hold your spouse’s mistakes over his head.
For example, if you are arguing about how to spend your tax refund, don’t try to use the fact your husband bought new golf clubs last year to justify why you get to choose how to spend it. Instead, talk about your current issues like reasonable adults and address issues about the past when you aren’t in an argument.
Get Help When You Need It
If you and your spouse are on each other’s nerves all the time and you can’t stop arguing, seek help. A marriage counselor can assist you improving your communication, learning new conflict resolution skills, and finding new relationship patterns. These sorts of skills can really help improve the quality of your relationship and the success of your marriage.