How to Not Fight With Your Husband

by Anna Green

No matter how strong your marriage is, you will inevitably have disagreements with your husband. These do not need to lead to fights or arguments, however. As you approach problems with your husband, keep in mind that you are the only one in control of your emotions. Regardless of how your husband reacts, you can ultimately decide how you respond to him.

Address Issues Early

Even the most minor problems can become serious if you do not address them early on, explains marriage and family therapist Willard F. Harley, Jr. in the article "When Should you Tell Your Spouse, 'We Have a Problem.'" on his website Marriage Builders. For example, if your husband leaves dirty dishes in the sink and this bothers you, talk to him about it right away. Do not wait until he has established this pattern of behavior for months because, by that time, what started as a simple annoyance may have built up into resentment.

Offer Solutions, Not Complaints

Although it is important to talk about what bothers you, complaining to or nagging your husband may do little more than start a fight. It's a good idea to consider how to fix a problem before you bring it up to your husband. For every problem that you bring up, offer a possible solution and ask for his input. Hear his perspective and then brainstorm with him on other potential ways to address the problem. For example, if you are frustrated because your husband is not helping out with child care, let him know that you need help as well as offer a proposed schedule that gives you time off while still respecting your husband's schedule and needs. He will likely be more receptive to this solution than a broad complaint such as, "You never help out with the kids."

Speak in Terms of Feelings and Effects

When you broach a difficult subject with your husband, talk about the situation in terms of how it affects you and makes you feel, rather than engaging in name-calling or blaming. For example, if your husband does not give you much affection, it may cause a fight if you call him "cold and rude." On the other hand, if you say something like, "I miss your goodbye kisses in the morning and have been feeling lonely," your husband may be less likely to become angry. By making I-statements, or expressing how you feel by starting with the word "I," you can focus on how your husband's behaviors affect you. This way you can avoid placing blame since you are simply talking about your emotions rather than making a judgment about who is at fault in the situation.

Dedicate Yourself to Calmness

When talking to your husband about difficult issues, remember that it takes two people to fight. If you are able to remain calm, even through frustration and anger, then it is unlikely that the situation will escalate. This often takes practice, as well as a strong awareness of your emotional triggers. It can be helpful to think about the situation, process your feelings and plan what you want to say before you talk to your husband. During the conversation, if you feel yourself becoming too upset to maintain a constructive attitude, simply tell your husband that you need to walk away from the conversation and come back to it later, when you are able to think clearly.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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