Couples Conflict - How to fight fair

First off, my qualifications

Sometimes I think I missed my calling. I've always been much better at diagnosing other people's problems than my own. I majored in psychology in college, then went into advertising/marketing, a field designed to manipulate the psyches of unsuspecting consumers. Along the way, I've actually learned to apply some of what I've learned/observed to my own life. Much of it is plain old common sense, with a dash of consideration and courtesy.

I should tell you that I'm currently married. Previously married. And a parent.

If you believe that qualifies me to talk about relationships, keep reading.

Every couple has its hot buttons

Two people meet. He* brings with him the remnants of every relationship of his previous life. This includes his mother, father, siblings, friends, previous girlfriends, wives, children, even bosses and employees. She* brings with her similar emotional emnants from her past -- both positive and negative. Both bring expectations and hopes, scars and disappointments.

*Concept also applies to gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. For the sake of brevity I've chosen male/female couples as the example for this hub. 

Some of this "baggage" gets put on the table early in the relationship. In the process of establishing themselves as a couple, both parties usually will reveal most details of their histories. They look for similarities.They look for patterns. Sometimes they hide or gloss over important facts. They look for warning signs. Sometimes they ignore red flags, choosing to believe love can conquer all. (It can't.)

The core issues that create conflict

When you break it down, there are not all that many sources of conflict between couples. Typically, couples really only argue about three basic issues:

1. Family

2. Finances

3. Future

Of course, within each of these broad categories there are numerous sub-categories. For example, "family" can include in-laws and/or children. It can include having/not having/when to have children (which also overlaps into future). Finances is a broad category that encompasses everything from who earns what to how much to save for retirement. This can overlap into what happens if one person's job requires relocating. It can also spill over into concerns about co-workers and workplace temptations.

Recommended Reading from Earnestshub:

The undercurrents of conflict

Underneath these main fight triggers a very, very basic dynamic is at work: power.

Within the couple, you may have:

a) Both partners seeking harmony, stability and stasis

b) One partner seeking domination over the other (or compliance with the dominant one)

c) Both partners seeking -- knowingly or unknowingly -- disharmony and turbulence

In other words, relationships are not static. They live. They breathe. They change over time and from day to day. As they face new challenges in the areas of family, finance and future, couples learn to problem-solve either together or individually. They learn to trust their partner's judgment and actions. Or they learn to distrust them.

Sometimes one partner has a higher sex drive than the other. This can create problems as the couple negotiates when, where, and how often to make love. Also, this dichotomy may shift over time as the couple's life circumstances change with pregnancy, childbirth, job loss, illness, mid-life/menopause, etc.

One partner may have a habit that drives the other crazy. Perhaps she scrimps and saves and he's a compulsive shopper. He arrives home with a beautiful tandem kayak, expecting her to be excited. He sees it as an investment in together time. He gushes, "Honey, I can't wait to show you all the great places I know to paddle." Instead, she sees it as a violation. How dare he spend that kind of money without consulting her? What was he thinking???!!!

Is his rationalization right? Is her fear/anger justified? Yes. And yes.

 

There is a saying that we give love the way we want to receive love. In this instance, the husband craves shared time in the outdoors he loves so much. But the wife craves the security of a nest egg. And she feels discounted in the decision to buy such a big-ticket item.

Other examples include the classic jealous guy (or jealous gal). When one partner sees the other partner's every interaction as a threat, that's a signal. It means s/he is insecure and needs more attention. Or it could signal an attempt to dominate and control the other person. A lot depends on how the non-jealous spouse handles the jealousy. Perhaps s/he secretly likes this power over the loved one's emotions. On the other hand, s/he may sincerely work to avoid situations that stir the pot, to no avail. Is the jealousy holding the couple together? Or is it holding 1/2 of the couple hostage?

Same accusation, different day

When you're with someone for awhile you begin to notice a pattern. You have the same fight over and over and over. The specific details may change, but the themes beneath them don't. Every couple has their own pattern. The key is to recognize yours (and your partner's). Remember: you are NOT Bill Murray/Andie MacDowell and your life is not "Groundhog Day." You CAN break the pattern!

When you're intimate with someone, you learn what turns them on. But you also learn what presses their buttons. You have a choice. You can use that knowledge as a weapon, or you can use it as a tool.

Destructive fighting

If you routinely start arguments with the words "You never..." or "You always" you're driving a wedge between you and your partner. If you belittle your partner or berate his/her family members, consider your motives. What are you trying to accomplish? Spewing venom may make you momentarily feel better, but you may be mortally wounding your relationship.

Constructive fighting

On the other hand, it IS possible to learn how to fight "fair." For the guys out there, this concept should be recognizable from the world of sports. Even in war there are rules of engagement. In boxing, hitting below the belt is dirty and illegal. Why should sparring with your love interest be any different?

Instead of going for the jugular, try using "I" statements. I statements let the other person know how their actions (or inactions) impact you.

Example: I feel left out when you plan camping trips with the boys and don't consult me.

Example: It scares me when you confront your clients. I worry that they might fire you -- and we need that money.

Example: It hurts me when you question my parenting decisions.

Example: It seems like we spend a lot more time with your family than with my family. I don't want to feel resentful of your parents, because I love them and I love you. What can we do to make things more equitable?

Anyway, you get the idea.

Ouch! Love hurts!!!

The #1 benefit of fighting

I don't believe people who tell me they never fight. Either they are delusional or brain dead, or both. As long as couples are populated with human beings, there WILL be conflict. It's inevitable.

The trick is to identify what role conflict plays in your relationship. Is it constructive? Does it genuinely solve problems? Do you and your partner learn from it so you can stop doing the same hurtful or stupid things over and over?

Is it a binding force between you? Sometimes couples are actually held together by negative intimacy. The quantity/volatility of their fights is actually the benchmark of their togetherness. Hey -- if it works for you, who am I to judge?

But there's one universal benefit to fighting with the one you love.

I know what some of you are thinking. Gotta be the make-up sex.

Well yes. Make-up sex is pretty awesome. There's no other sex like it!

But the real benefit of fighting is making things right. Whether you were the wronger or wrongee doesn't matter. Whether he started it or you started it doesn't matter.

If you love your partner, if you plan to stay in the relationship, perfect your ability to say "I'm sorry" -- and mean it. Practice the art of accepting an apology without holding it over the other person's head.

Then go kiss ... and have make-up sex!

But you CAN work it out!

Your Personal Fight Club

What do you and your SO fight about most?

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Family/kids
  • In-laws
  • Work
  • Friends
  • Hobbies/free time
  • Undesirable personal habits
  • Prefer not to state
  • We never fight (yeah, right)
See results without voting

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Comments 92 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Very extensive write up MM. I think for us the money situation is the most volatile and causes the most conflict, and not my bad behaviour. What we spend the money or better yet, how we think we should spend the money causes alot of problems as I am frugal and she thinks we are the Hiltons. It also plays a big role in our release of stress, our individual and family play time, if there's no cash, then it gets a little more tense, I mean alot more stressful dealing with each other.


pgrundy 7 years ago

Wow this is really well done. Thank you. We've had a few fights, but usually when we 'fight' it doesn't reach a hurtful level because we both hate to fight and have been married way too much, so we've already done about every dysfunctional thing there is to do and now we just want to get along. So many of the things either of us would have fought over when we were younger, a few partners ago, just aren't worth it at this age--it's all small stuff and we don't sweat it if we can help it. But when we do fight it's usually work related--one of us is exhausted and exasperated and thinks the other one is lacking appreciation of this fact. And it's really not just him or just me, we've both played both roles.

I agree with goldentoad though. If we didn't have to work so MUCH just to get by it might not come up at all. All of our handful of fights have been, at root, about fear. Fear that the other person didn't care. And frustration that it's so hard sometimes just to pay the electric bill.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Excellent article - you should have become a psychologist rather than an advertising/marketing person!


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good stuff, MM, you're a Fart Smeller! And like you said; common sense, consideration, etc.

You'll love this; when I saw the title in this hub's notification, my brain immediately went to "Because men are logical and women are irrational."

I know, I know! Couldn't help it. But I've gotten better! Several years ago I would have ended that answer with, "Fookin' psycho!!!"

See? Evolution!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Cindyvine, thanks so much for the compliment! I often think about the life of a therapist. I'd love to help people, but worry about coming home every night saturated with other people's problems!

GT, I'm not surprised by what you say. From your writings it's clear you work very, very hard hard to put food on the table and a roof over your family's head. It sucks when your best efforts either are underappreciated or (soooo frustrating, this DAMNED economy) come up short. But I'm actually glad/relieved that your wife doesn't give you guff about your extracurricular behaviors! You deserve some chill time!

Pam, I am so totally with you. But how ironic to have evolved past our previous relationship dysfunctions only to be caught up with fights about paying the frigging electric bill. Is this how it's supposed to be at mid life?? I hope not!

CW, you are right. I am a fart smeller! I live with two grown males. But that is not a source of fights:-).

Your assessment, smart-assed as you intend it, is actually spot-on. In fact, there's a best-selling book that supports your thesis. I'm sure you've heard of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" Yes???

But now that you've raised the subject, I have my own spin on it. The REAL reason couples fight is because men are WRONG and women are RIGHT!!!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I picked undesirable personal habit since my husband doesn't pay as much attention towards diet and exercise schedule as much as we planned. I guess some habits take a while to get established and we are working on it. There is a lot of good advice. Thumbs up.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I have, and I totally believe it. We are two completely different species.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

of ourse i know all this having been in and out and in and out of. okay maybe not that many and frequent. problem is, i always forget or ignore when i start seeing red. maybe next time. :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

You've got it down so pat MM! Psychology and advertising? No wonder you have such an analytical and persuasive style - guaranteed to get read and be remembered! I guess finally, it's whether each fight takes you further away from each other or you get back to where you were. Making up is great when you can love enough to let the sun go down on your anger - and not let it simmer till sunrise!


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

MM - I think its always easier to fix other peoples problems than it is to deal with your own. Finances can really make or break a relationship. Great hub!


Amy G 7 years ago

MM~ Lots of truth there. We fight because I have a super short fuse, and he likes to walk away mid-sentence. Like that's gonna help... Very infomative hub!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, everyone, for coming by and sharing a bit about your own personal fighting styles!

Cris: I think you said the magic mouthful. Knowing something intellectually vs. putting into actual practice can be two different things! I know all these things, too. Does that prevent me from sticking my razor sharp tongue into old wounds and reopening them? Heck no!

Shaline, Triplet Mom and AmyG, you wise ladies know what I'm talking about here. Not going to bed angry was my mother-in-law's best advice for long-term marital happiness. As for money -- it wasn't even an issue in my previous relationships. This time, tho, it's omnipresent. Amy -- My Hubby sounds like you. Super short fuse. I do exactly what your guy does. I refuse to stay around and listen:-).

And dear friend Countrywomen -- delightful to see you! I do hope your hubby takes the exercising thing seriously. It's important for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it sounds like he's already breaking an important marital promise to his lovely bride!!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Married over 40 years (just not to the same husband) and learning to fight fair, stick to the topic, and pick your battles has helped. Very informative hub and much needed open discussion.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

I love your Hub, MM. You said it all! Thumbs up!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Why is it that I understand all of this (and other good advice) intellectually, but when it comes to putting it to practice...well!!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Fabulous hub, Mighty Mom!  I was nodding like one of those silly dogs that people put in the back of cars when I read this: "I don't believe people who tell me they never fight. Either they are delusional or brain dead, or both."

I used to approach fights rather destructively in the past, but now I'm pretty much a constructive fighter. The funny thing is it clicked into me that I could use all tips and knowledge from all the business management courses I need to take for work, where it's pretty evident that a positive and compromising approach is always a lot more fruitful than any tantrum to reach a business compromise! :-)  It just clicked into me that the same would be true for personal interaction!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Very well done MM. It's complicated, isn't it? You have managed to break it down into an understandable guidebook, which by trying to impliment into our lives, can help to make the complicated and little less so. Very nice piece!


the eye profile image

the eye 7 years ago

Great Hub MM. This time I will agree with S. Freud and say that sex is the main factor that caused problems in a couple. When this go well no one complain about anything, when the routine appear everything start to be bad or with bad intention.


Gin Delloway profile image

Gin Delloway 7 years ago

a great hub! I got a lot of pleasure while reading it... thanks!! =)


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, friends old and new, for commenting. I'm so glad my thoughts resonate with you! Feline Prophet -- I was going to say that the obvious reason is (duh) because you're HUMAN. But you're not human, you're FELINE:-).

Elena -- Negotiation rules the planet. Too often my Hubby, the type A former football player, thinks you can just pound your point into someone's head. Doesn't work with me, and I don't think I'm all that unusual or special:-)

Welcome The Eye and Gin Delloway. Good to meet new (to me, anyway) hubbers!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Jerilee -- LOL. You must subscribe to the PGrundy school. Enough husbands and enough water under the bridge and eventually you learn something useful. Congratulations on 40 (total) years!

Tatjana -- Coming from such an intuitively knowledgeable (about so many subjects) hubber, your compliment means a lot to me. Many thnks!

Christoph -- When you're a simpleton like me, you work very hard to reduce the world around you to understandable terms and trends. Sometimes it works. Sometimes things remain mysteriously complicated. That's life! As always, great to see you. One of these days/evenings/nights we'll have to meet up with the gang for a hubjacking! It's been tooooo loooonnnngggg. MM


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Very thought provoking.

The bottom line is ego. That's where all the trouble begins.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

So true MM, Husband ALWAYS wants more sex than I do (causes some problems).

Husband ALWAYS spends more money than we can afford, (causes more problems).

Strangely enough had a conversation in the pub tonight with both Husband and a friend of ours (in his mid 70's) about rows within marriage. He swears blind him and his late wife of many years never rowed, I basically said if this were true it was a sign of a very unhealthy relationship, as not to row means loads of bottled up, unspoken, frustrations. Funnily enough he inadvertantly went on to give several examples of disagreements they had experienced, and I suspect there were no doubt many more he has conveniently erased from his memories.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

This is a wonderful hub MM with top information. People can say some really destructine things to each other when they are angry.

As one of my old sayings goes, "There are many wounds we inflict on others, not by gun or dagger, but solely by the venom in the tongue. Esp coming from the ones we love.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Wonderful hub MM. I couldn't agree more with everything you said, especially about treating each other with respect during a disagreement. And it's only human to disagree and fight over the very things you mentioned. Sometimes I wonder if another problem is "change" in general. I mean, it's part of human nature to change over time. Our goals change, the things we like or dislike change, priorities change, so then the question becomes whether or not your partner is willing to accept the changes that happen over time.

One thing that has always baffled me are the eternity vows that some couples make. Isn't it hard enough to maintain a healthy relationship for the rest of THIS life without extending it into the hereafter? lol! I know that's a random thought, but how scary!

Great job, thumbs up...both of em. :)


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

BP, I like your saying about venom of the tongue! That old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is BS. words can hurt as much or more than any weapon.

Pam -- Always wonderful to see you! Sorry I missed you (damned time zones). I like your addition of "change" as a factor in the equation. It is true that over time couples can either grow apart or grow more together. And what you used to tolerate (or not tolerate) can change also. I imagine that could even include the willingness to accept aging -- one partner eternally seeking "youth" and the other comfortably reaching for the rocking chair and cane. LOL.

Eternity vows? WTF? I thought the vows read, "Til death do us part"??? I agree. it's hard enough to live up to the living vows. On the other hand, without formally stating it, I think most couples (those who believe in an afterlife) assume they will meet back up with their loved ones, including SO, in the hereafter. Eternity vows sound over-the-top to me. But if other people need that extra insurance, why not? Reminds me of the show Big Love and the Mormons "sealing" themselves with their families. As they say in France, chacque'un a son gout (to each his own). Thanks for commenting! MM


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

BP, I like your saying about venom of the tongue! That old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is BS. words can hurt as much or more than any weapon.

Pam -- Always wonderful to see you! Sorry I missed you (damned time zones). I like your addition of "change" as a factor in the equation. It is true that over time couples can either grow apart or grow more together. And what you used to tolerate (or not tolerate) can change also. I imagine that could even include the willingness to accept aging -- one partner eternally seeking "youth" and the other comfortably reaching for the rocking chair and cane. LOL.

Eternity vows? WTF? I thought the vows read, "Til death do us part"??? I agree. it's hard enough to live up to the living vows. On the other hand, without formally stating it, I think most couples (those who believe in an afterlife) assume they will meet back up with their loved ones, including SO, in the hereafter. Eternity vows sound over-the-top to me. But if other people need that extra insurance, why not? Reminds me of the show Big Love and the Mormons "sealing" themselves with their families. As they say in France, chacque'un a son gout (to each his own). Thanks for commenting! MM


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

Very thought provoking hub I find main reason is money moneyyy


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

I'm with coldwar in that most fights between members of a couple all come down to control issues. If people could back off and listen and not be so concerned about 'winning' or ruling the other one, there would be less fighting and more discussion.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey Lgali -- Yup, money is a big one for lots of us couples. Never used to be in previous relationships for me. Maybe find a new partner so you can argue about "important things" like how often to have sex:-). LOL.

Hello Dolores Monet! To some (actually, many) people, winning is super important. It's only been very, very recently that I've learned an important lesson (from a wise, dear friend who also learned it the hard way):

Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy? More and more, happiness trumps victory and control. Thanks for coming by and commenting. Here's to less fighting and more discussion (e.g,, really hearing the other person). MM


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

I really enjoyed your Hub MM. Great suggestion for stating how it affects you to your partner when your partner offends in some way.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, DarleneMarie. I've become a big fan of those "I" statements. If they can work with teens, they can work with adults (assuming one's partner is at least at the emotional level of a teen or above:-). Thanks for visiting! MM


raiderfan profile image

raiderfan 7 years ago from Arizona

my wife and I fight when I watch sports all the time

she gets mad when I drink beer around her family too


mattressguru profile image

mattressguru 7 years ago from TO, ON, CA

I agree, fighting can definitely unearth a lot of hidden feelings and if the couple can recover from it, their bond is stronger. Also compromising is another important thing.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

LOL Raiderfan. What does she expect? You like sports. Isn't she part of the "Nation" too? If she's not, she should be!

Mattressguru, I like your avatar! And I agree with your views about compromising.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks both of you for visiting! Happy non-fighting!!!


The Captain profile image

The Captain 7 years ago from The Carribean

When me and my woman fight, I just set her adrift in the dingy.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Ahoy there Captain. Are you sure you don't mean you set your little dingy adrift inside o' her???


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

Personally I live ADRIFT and only go home to restock the rations!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

If there wasn't any fighting and you always agreed with each other, life would be pretty damn boring, don't ya think?


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan

The "I" statements are essential. Great advice. That's gotta be the only way to constructively argue so no one feels attacked.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Such good advice. Think that all the important topics have already been discussed. You certainly listed the reasons for most fights. We can all work on fighting more fairly which is the key to helping our relationships.


ShalinIndia profile image

ShalinIndia 7 years ago from Gurgaon,INDIA

Hey MM...liked it very much....some very imp things in life we miss....if we do not fight.....but do not carry it for very long....we do fight...stop talking to each other...n then....after an hour or less....we just say sorry..and ....:)


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I've got it!!! The REAL reason couples fight is because no one will leave their Naked asses alone!!

On that note!: I have troubling news, there was another complaint about Naked Hubbers. Maddie was very cool, looked it over and said yours and Blondepoet's are "borderline," which we all knew was true. So I had to remove them. I'll get you guys acceptable replacements ASAP.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

Susan and I still have spats all the time ! It seems to have settled down when I quit trying to change her to suit me and vice versa . But I think money and the future are tied together . And If you agreed all the time would,nt that be boring ?

I am just a lucky doofus ! And to her credit she has learned not to disturb me during Chargers games !


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, CW and Tony for sharing your views on the subject. I will be looking for the replacement photos on the bareassed hubbers hub. And Tony, I'm so thrilled to see you call yourself a "lucky doofus." And yes, if we agreed all the time with our partners it would definitely be boring!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Quite detailed you should be a marriage counselor as you certainly are telling it like it is. Instead of using the word "you" we should be using "I", bottom line get it right or get steppin', why spin the wheels and be unhappy. :)


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, AEvans (aka "Rose Red). Looks like there's a carne asada/shrimp on the barbie party shaping up for the evening. Guess things won't get hopping till GT gets back from work, tho!


gjcody profile image

gjcody 7 years ago

Good article Mighty Mom ...I believe this is right on target.  I especially like the part about using the "I" in stead of "you" ..."you" are fighting words.  Sometimes we get carried away and use that word thoughtlessly. 

Thank you for sharing ...my best to you!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, GJCody. Haven't seen you around lately. Good to hear from you! Totally agree that "You" is a fighting word. So, so hard to keep from using it when angered, tho!


PJ_Deneen 7 years ago

Great Hub with excellent advice. I wish I could say that DH and I fight more. We do now but I tiptoed around him for years because he said he didn't want to fight like he and his ex-wife. I'm afraid with my low self esteem at the time I bought that one hook, line, and sinker and am only now coming out of my stupor and putting my foot down. It took years to convince him that I wasn't his ex but a reasonable human being and that fighting is normal and healthy if done correctly and with respect.


Covert Hypnosis 1 7 years ago

haha, I just love the photos!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello PJ Deneen, Fighting more? LOL. Sounds like you are fighting better and that you're standing your ground! We do all bring baggagefrom our exes into our current relationships, don''t we?

Covert Hypnosis, did you notice the women are the aggressors in the photos:-)?

Thanks for visiting. Happy spatting!


ThePioneer21 profile image

ThePioneer21 7 years ago from Liverpool

This hub is very truthful!

The main reason we argue is because of money, usually the lack of it. I think that arguments help to keep relationships alive. I don't mean shouting, being eratic and overdramatic, but disagreements help to point out that you are two different people- not just one, which is what many outsiders will see you as- one unit.

Thanks for the hub MM, it was really insightful.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Pioneer21, Many thanks for visiting. I agree with you. Arguments keep relationships alive and actually keep tension from building up. The worst thing you can do is bottle up resentments and anger and not work them through with your partner. Then again, the shouting and drama are not productive, either (you're right on that!).

Glad you enjoyed my hub. PS. I love your avatar!! Mm


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author


dagny roth profile image

dagny roth 7 years ago from Neverland

You know this article was great! I mean I really learned something of my own habits. Thanks for writing such a terrific and informative article! Hope we can all have happy marriages!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey there, Dagny! Thank you so much for the compliment! I have much experience in the fighting (dirty mostly) department! Plus I've had quite a bit of training in how to communicate better -- and that includes getting your point across and needs met in a positive way. So glad you got something out of my hub! MM


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Great hub, Wish I had read it ten years ago.

An important point you missed (I think ) is that the couple have to be ready to LISTEN to each other. And not have to be right (whatever that is) and the other person wrong (whatever that is) And without that you will never have constructive fighting.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi AlexK2009. Thanks. Wish I had had the life experience to write this hub 10 years ago!

You are absolutely right. Couples do have to be ready to LISTEN to each other. That can mean in a general sense -- that they view each other as being equals and worthy of hearing. It can also pertain to a specific disagreement. I know when I fight I have a period of just having to spew venom. I'm more interested in hearing the sound of my OWN voice than his (not proud of it, but there it is). Sometimes a cool down period enables the couple to come back together with mouths shut and ears open. And right, too, on the fact that without that willingness to listen you will never have constructive fighting. But I do believe that fighting CAN be productive and IS necessary for the survival and growth of couples! MM


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I introduced my children to a little psych book named "I'm OK your OK" which follows the path of personal responsibility along the same lines as you suggest. It goes like this. "When you ........ I feel ......... that way the feelings are owned and acknowledged, and blame becomes redundant.It helps if people understand this when they are young, before their ego's think they are right about any disagreement, and thereby give themselves permission to be mad, and this just gives the other person power over our behaviour.The adult book is simply called "transactional analysis"


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Gosh, Earnestshub, I wish I had you as my dad:-)! Seriously. You raise a great point -- if we learn these things as children we are soooo much ahead of the game. Better late than never, tho, right? Thanks so much for commenting.

I should probably add links to those two books. I also learned the concept in a program called PET (Parent Effectiveness Training).


Treleven-Vilceus profile image

Treleven-Vilceus 7 years ago from USA

such a great hub keep up the good work. Thumbs up


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Treleven-Vilceus. Thank you very much for the compliment. I'm so glad to meet new friends here on HP. Keep coming back and I hope I'll have something worthwhile to share! MM


jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma

Great hub. My wife and I typically fight when she is pregnant. Other than that we don't fight much. My wife gets mad at me for forgetting things. Strangely the more kids we have the worse my memory gets and the better hers gets. Various forms of birth control over the years really messed with her desire for me. So that has caused fights in the past too. For the most part we are very happy. Luckily we pretty much agree with how we want to raise our kids. The one thing that got to me the most was that after we got married I soon learned that she pretended to like a few things just to make me happy. But, didn't plan to continue them once we were hitched. I wonder how many people this happens too? A simple warning would have been nice. But, I love her so much that I am over it. I just don't understand it. If she didn't like something she could have just told me instead of suffering. Well I better mention what it is so people don't get the wrong idea. So before we were married I could fall asleep with her in my arms. After we got married I eventually asked why we don't do that anymore and I was told she never fell asleep. She couldn't sleep holding me so she just stayed awake. So that is that. I guess most guys would be happy they don't need to cuddle. But, I think they just say that to be tough.


einarh profile image

einarh 7 years ago from Iceland

Great article MM thanks lots of good stuff there to considerate and even some that hits you!!


Owais Siddiqui profile image

Owais Siddiqui 7 years ago

Hi MM,

        I find it great writing. Hope you write more.

for us money has never been a point of argument. it is what ever i do is wrong. But we still love each other and going stronger even after 15 years and 2kids.

I totally agree with Jim10 some how women tend to remember everything and they are always absolutely right about it till they are diagnosed with Alzheimer's

Cheers


lindsayh28 profile image

lindsayh28 7 years ago

Great hub! My husband and I just moved back in together after a 6-month separation. We fought about many things, but to your point, it came down to fighting fairly. I never thought we could work it out, but it's amazing how, given time and a change of habits, two people can "find" each other again. It's soooo possible! Perhaps I'll write a little about our situation. Thanks Mighty Mom!


Jim 7 years ago

Hello Mighty Mom,

Great article- it helps us reflect on how to fight fair. I think we all could use a reminder. If you are looking to promote your site or hub I encourage you to do so on my hub. I'm glad to help you reach your dreams!

Take Care, PS Shoot for the stars. If you miss at least you will reach the moon!

Jim


mcstir profile image

mcstir 7 years ago

Nice Hub! Good work, you should go get your counselling certificate.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello dear friends/commenters! It's wonderful to see some new hubbers visiting. Thank you very much!!! I'm so glad you got something from my hub and took the time to share your thoughts.

Lindsayh28, Congrats on reconciling with your husband. That is awesome. Sometimes some time/distance puts what's really important into perspective. I wish you both a lifetime of love.

Jim 10 -- You are one of the sweetest men I've met on HP. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at your "confession" about your wife. I can see how you feel betrayed. Something you thought was a positive bond between you turned out to be "false" on her side. I can actually very much relate to your wife's position on this. I absolutely cannot fall asleep in someone's arms. This is not to say that cuddling is out of the question -- just when it's time to catch some zzzzs I need to turn over and claim my own side of the bed.

I hope you are able to reach a happy compromise and that whatever birth control you're now using doesn't make her angry at you:-)!

Owais, Jim and mcstir, glad to meet you. Thanks for the compliments! MM


New Day profile image

New Day 7 years ago from Western United States

Interesting poll - I would have thought that money would be off-the-charts. Still its a toss up between spending, hobbies/free time, and undesireable personal habits. That is, on the rare occasions when we fight. LOL


babyboo_jane profile image

babyboo_jane 7 years ago

I agree that couples fight about money. I admit sometimes i am guilty in that department, but when money gets tight it can cause stress.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Fellow Psychology major here. Wow, you've got quite a few therapy sessions wrapped into one hub, here! Nice job. Great tips and pointers and truths. I agree with the many that thought this was an interesting poll. I'm going to check back and see what the results are as time moves along.


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Everyone is right MM about how well written this hub is with such great information laid out in such a way that us non-phychology majors can relate.

Our biggest arguments are based on not being honest and forthcoming about how we really feel about something. Dancing around an issue or worse, venting that frustration in another arena is a button pusher for me. If something I do really upsets him--I want him to just tell me. Give me an opportunity to fix it or defend it or whatever, but don't pretend like everything is fine and then blowup over something minor later. I want to confront things head on and right then. He wants to gloss it all over until it finally erupts and we're dealing with so many issues I can't keep them straight.

Whewwwww..... I feel much better now!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Well MM, look who popped into visit your hub and leave a comment. I do believe that pkoson is just taking the piss. There's nothing wrong with the English in that comment, so why are they writing so many hubs that make no sense?


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey Frieda, LOL. I've obviously not been in very many couples therapy sessions. Nor would I make a good therapist, if I am lumping all the sessions into a single hub -- I'd go broke:-). Thanks for commenting, tho.

Laughing Mom -- Your man's fighting style is very normal. That's my tendency, too. I've learned to overcome it to a big degree with Hubby, who is more like you. If there's an issue, slap it on the table and get it out there. It may not be pretty, but at least it's not festering.

Pkoson. I will do that. And Cindyvine -- "taking the pisss"?? Do you really think that's the explanation:-)???


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

MM, Pkoson has been hitting many hubs today and leaving the same comment - the title of the hub and then the comment about checking out his first hub. Cc thinks he's using a bot. This is what he put on one of my hubs he hit today and he's hit a few.

pkoson says:4 minutes ago

How to say NO to SEX

Please revisit the last hub I started. I think it will make a little more sense.


jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma

Feel free to laugh, I definitely don't want you to cry. I figure my wife is perfect in every other way and we get along great. I was just shocked to find out she couldn't sleep that way. I explained to her it was pretty misleading. I understand if you are used to sleeping a certain way. But, why she didn't tell me sooner I have no idea. I never wanted her to be up all night. She says she would again if she got enough sleep. But, since she works nights and the kids keep us busy that won't happen for a while. I plan on bringing it back up in 17 years and 2 months. We will see.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

IDK what's up with pkoson. Too many other legit hubbers around to worry about it, tho.

Jim 10. You seem like an amazingly loving and understanding husband. Wise plan to let things lie and bring them up again in 17 years and 2 months. LOL. Things will definitely be different in your lives then! Not knowing how old you both are, I might even suggest that 17 years from now your wife will be needing Ambien to get to sleep. In which case, it won't matter to her what position she's in or you're in. So you'll probably get your cuddling time back! I sure hope so for your sake. MM


Karen Weir profile image

Karen Weir 7 years ago from Alberta Canada

MM, therapy is definitely your calling!

I think that there are couples who never fight. They are more like room mates than a married couple. IMHO never fighting is akin not giving a hoot, or not giving enough of a hoot. Relationships take work and energy and "fighting" is a big part of it.

Couples who fight passionately also love passionately. You touch on that with your reference to "make-up sex".


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thank you, Karen! You're absolutely right. Fighting is essential to human interaction. I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the couples how fight passionately also love passionately. I had a relationship like that once. Exhausting!


MARTYR? 7 years ago

Destructive Fighting

Belittling your partner, spewing venom to temporarily feel better....

If each argument brings you temporarily closer, but you always go back to the same places... eventually battle fatigue results, and a concern about illness as a result of the recurring stress of dealing with what seems like an impossible situation...continueing only out of some good times, great kids, and tons of hope....But when does hope become irrational and self destructive. How do you know when it's just not worth the fight anymore? ...I think I've already answered my own question. Good Luck everyone. Struggle does makes us stronger, but I need some "really makes me feel loved", love, consistancy, peace and tons of fun in my life. ABC

P.S. I believe my husband has bipolar disorder, but has been incorrectly diagnosed with only depression. He is not doing anything about it, yet even the kids (19,22, and25) agree, based on his erratic, changeable behaviour. I think it's time to jump ship. I think that's just what this man needs to force him to face his problem. He has so many deep rooted childhood issues but he loves to complain and blame, but in the end he prefers to just feel sorry for himself and get others' to feel sorry for him than to deal with his issues and the resulting missery it brings to all of us.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Martyr? It's a pleasure to meet you. I agree with you about repeating the same argument over and over. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result...

Of course I know nothing about your situation with your husband, but I hope he will agree to get re-diagnosed. If he is, indeed, bipolar, it can be managed through medication and therapy. BTW, not all bipolars are off the charts manics. Some versions of bipolar skew to the depressive...

Regardless, from your descirption of his behavior and attitude, it's high time he stopped blaming everyone else and gets himself some help. I'm taking a leap here -- but does he also self-medicate with alcohol or drugs (very, very common with bipolars)? I ask because the feeling sorry for himself, complaining and blaming all come with the territory of alcoholics/addicts.

I wish you good luck. Sometimes the best help you can give is to draw a line and stick with it. It's not going to change by itself unless you force the issue. And with your kids grown, you absolutely DO deserve someone who makes you feel loved!!! Go for it!! MM


Dan Hadan 7 years ago

Despite your "yeah, right" I notice that 2% of the checked the "We never fight" reply. Ah, but then that must be my response, since there have only been fifty people that replied. But seriously, perhaps our fightless relationship has to do with the fact that we don't watch TV (a reflection of our not having any time to waste being passive and seeing TV for the medium it is vs. what it could be), believe that respect and manners go hand in hand, and basically don't follow the marketed, prepackaged relationship and raising a family nonsense being peddled by priest, politicians and other related profiteers.

We're both atheist, who raise their kids (age 5, 4, 3, 1--ah, I'm a Mister Mom, i.e. stay at home dad) to be open minded, curious and inquisitive, be it about the moon, sun, birds, or other day to day realities that are, i.e. political cons, marketing schemes, et cetera. Though hardly aired on TV, civility, dialog and logical arguments (logic), plus all that which such entails, are not a bad start, ...

Much more could be said about relationships, family et cetera. Perhaps some other time. ...


Outspoken writer profile image

Outspoken writer 6 years ago from BEAUMONT, TX

Hi MM, thank you for your warm welcome. I enjoyed your piece on relationships and such. I will stay in touch.


RecoverToday profile image

RecoverToday 6 years ago from United States

You have covered the subject of conflict well. This is certainly a beneficial article of writing. I give it a thumbs up!


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

great job, mighty mom you really covered the basis. I think of course that like you said some couples fight because of sexual tension. Especially when one partner is wanting some passion from their spouse and not getting it then the passive agressive behaviors come out.....lol


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Wow, DawnM. Coming from you that is a real compliment indeed! I write from my own limited observations.

Picking a fight is a great way to get attention or passion or whatever you're not getting. Perhaps not the most mature way, but effective!

Thanks for commenting! MM


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Its admirable the way you took a complex topic and broke it down into easily addressable components. Of course, when you are arguing it may seem like the issue is so huge. Yet, it falls under some basic principles of power. I enjoyed your explanation. Well organized and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.


realtalk247 profile image

realtalk247 2 years ago

Attack the problem and not the person! Remember you two are still on the same team.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Good advice!

Thank you.

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