We’ve all gotten into fights with our partners we instantly regret: a conversation about where to go for dinner becomes an overblown argument about your S.O.’s indecisiveness, for example. In the end, you’re both just annoyed and hangry.
What other types of arguments should you avoid getting into with your spouse? Below, marriage experts share six marital fights that aren’t worth your time.
1. “We’re not having enough sex” — or anything else related to sex.
Your misgivings about sex with your partner — how often you’re having it, for instance, or your desire to try something new in the bedroom — are completely valid. But you’re not likely to change anything if you voice your complaints in a hostile way, said Amy Begel, a marriage and family therapist based in New York City.
“Arguing about sex never works,” she told HuffPost. “Sex is the most intimate of connections between two people but you need to realize it’s primarily a non-verbal art form.”
Fighting about sex, said Begel, brings the “wrong kind of energy” and “kills the spark” you share as a couple.
As she sees it, “imagination, seduction, affection, great conversation and well-placed flirting are more likely to positively transform a couple’s sex life.”
2. “Why don’t you have time to call or text me while you’re at work?”
It’s thoughtful and sweet that you want to talk to your S.O. throughout the day. But if she’s between meetings and super busy, recognize that she doesn’t need to hear every last detail of your “how I got the cat back inside the apartment” story.
“It might be that she can’t multitask her attention at work and it’s better to wait until she’s away from the office grind to talk,” said Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist based in Sherman Oaks, California. “So if you really need to chit-chat during the day, call a friend who has some free time and save yourself a no-win argument with your spouse.”
3. “Ladies’ night again?”
It’s 10 p.m. and you know exactly where your wife is: At dinner with her friends, gossiping over a few glasses of Cabernet. You may be annoyed that she’s not spending that time with you but you need to let this one go, Goldstein said.
“Unless she is flying to Vegas for an overnight and coming home smelling like cheap men’s cologne, just let her have some downtime with her friends,” she said. “This is not a situation worth fighting over.”
4. “I put way more effort into this relationship than you.”
Stay clear of arguments about who’s the better parent, spouse or breadwinner. There’s no room from oneupmanship in a healthy marriage, said Begel.
“Fights like this mask underlying tensions that need to be addressed openly, without kicking the other person in the process,” she said. “These are important challenges that need to be worked through — your feelings of neglect or lack of appreciation matter — but don’t make it a competition.”
5. “I’m right about this. You’re wrong.”
It’s hard to love someone who always needs to be right. The next time you’re being a little self-righteous, press pause on the argument and tell your spouse you need to agree to disagree, said Sheri Meyers, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles.
“The truth is neither one of you is 100 percent right and neither one of you is 100 percent wrong,” she said. “The task at hand is to stop competition (me vs. you) and start cooperation (you are, after all, a team). Instead of looking for what’s wrong, search for what you can agree on.”
6. “Why are you working so much?”
In an ideal world, we’d all have a healthy, vacation-filled work-life balance. But in all likelihood, your spouse has no control over demands at work. If he’s already exhausted and feeling put-upon at the office, starting a fight about his work hours is the wrong tack to take, said Meyers.
“Rather than fighting about your S.O. spending too much time at work, make the time you do have together even more precious and special by filling it with the three A’s: attention, appreciation and affection,” she said. “When you put your focus on the good things that you value in your relationship, the time you do spend together will be more fun, loving and fulfilling.”
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