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How Can We Stop Fighting to Save Our Marriage?

by Sheri Oz

Your fights are so bad that after each one you feel like you were on a battle-field. Moreover, it seems like you only reach ceasefires and not workable solutions to problems. Each new argument uses material from the previous unsolved arguments like second-hand ammunition. Neither you nor your spouse know how to stop this fighting and you are concerned about the direction your marriage is going. While conflict is normal in marriages, you are afraid your arguments go well beyond what is normal and healthy. There are some things you can do to save your marriage.

Normal Expectations Versus Exaggerated Expectations

According to an article on the Psych Central website, many people believe the myth that, once married, they will “live happily ever after,” as the fairy tales promise. They think they will never be lonely or feel unloved, for example. When the marriage does not live up to expectations, they are hurt and angry; the fighting may be in an effort to to get spouses to play their role and satisfy all their needs. You and your spouse can talk about your expectations from your marriage to see which are realistic and which are not. You may find yourselves fighting less after this.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Part

Did you really make it clear how important it was to you that he comes with you to the doctor’s appointment? Did you really make sure that she understood how important it was to you that she not tell her mother about your new job yet? In his book, “Communication Miracles for Couples,” Jonathan Robinson claims that many times fights are because of misunderstandings and not because spouses don’t care about each other. Look at how you each communicate your needs and wishes with each other and make sure you are being clearly understood. This should help you fight less frequently.

Sometimes New Fights Are Over Old Issues

When partners end an argument before reaching a true resolution of the disagreement, at least one of them may feel dissatisfied; the lingering frustration or hurt sometimes affects later arguments, increasing the intensity of the anger and possibly becoming explosive. If you find yourselves raising issues you thought you had already resolved, set aside a time when you are both calm to go back and revise decisions that don’t seem to be working.

When You Cannot Reduce the Fighting on Your Own

Psychologists, behaviorists and other experts contend that many of us failed to acquire good communication and problem-solving skills in our own families and that, as a result, this is a goal of much of marital counseling. If your fighting seems to be out of control and none of the suggestions above help you manage your arguments, professional help may get you back on track to a healthier and more satisfying marriage.

About the Author

With an Master of Science in marital and family therapy, Sheri Oz ran a private clinical practice for almost 30 years. Based on her clinical work, she has published a book and many professional articles and book chapters. She has also traveled extensively around the world and has volunteered in her field in China and South Sudan.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images