Fighting Is Normal — Especially About These 3 Topics
Let’s all say it now: couples argue. It’s normal. Certainly there are harmful, even abusive ways to fight, but the occasional argument can actually be a sign that you’re being honest, rather than hiding your feelings and opinions to avoid conflict.
When it comes to arguing, specific topics tend to bring tensions to the surface, so take note. These 3 subjects can be especially touchy and they require special care to navigate as a couple.
Extended Family — Especially In-Laws
We’ve addressed this in the past, but navigating in-law relationships can be fraught. We all have certain sore spots relating to our parents, things that may bother us or that we’ve noticed but don’t want to hear other people criticize. Couples tend to fight about extended family relationships, and the most important things you can do individually is to speak from your own experience and to listen carefully to each other. You’ll probably find yourself revisiting this argument for years to come.
A lot of us are raised with the understanding that finances aren’t a topic of polite conversation, and while it may be true that we shouldn’t go around oversharing about our income or spending plans, money is obviously an important topic for couples to discuss. The difficulty is that this means breaking a lifetime of habits.
When dealing with fights about money, it’s important to understand what exactly you’re fighting about and why. Money arguments vary widely and include fights about secret spending, spending priorities, earning differences, and past experiences with money. Additionally, sitting down with a financial counselor can help couples develop a plan and talk honestly about their finances, cutting back on future fights.
Whether you’re fighting about if or when to have kids, or you already have kids and are struggling to establish a shared parenting philosophy, couples often fight about kids. The difficulty here is that there’s not a lot of room for compromise. You can’t agree to disagree about whether to have kids, and once you have them, children need their parents to act as a team and offer a consistent message. That’s why relationship counselors always stress the importance of discussing whether you want kids before getting married. As for the timeline, there’s flexibility there, but couples also need to be realistic about the process, since deciding you’re ready to have a child doesn’t mean you’ll be pregnant in a few months.
Arguing may be a normal part of being in a relationship, but it’s important to always do so from a place of love and respect. Listen with curiosity, don’t make demands from a place of anger, and take turns. Fighting doesn’t mean screaming at each other in a rage, but rather recognizing that you’ve hit a point of difficulty and taking the time to hash it out, even if you still disagree when all is said and done.
If you’re struggling to strike a balance when facing conflict as a couple, Emi may be just the tool you need. While our relationship reminder service won’t referee your arguments, we do offer support for couples trying to improve their communication skills. Sign up today to learn more about our daily challenges and explore new ways to connect with each other.