There’s a reason they say marriage is “hard work.” It can take serious resolve to accept another person’s way of doing things and compromise on a forever lifestyle. If it feels like you’re spending more time arguing in your marriage than appreciating each other, it’s time to pause, reflect, and do the work. Here are some helpful things you can do to try to reduce arguments:
1. Pick your battles.
Living with another person is hard, especially when you do things differently. But not everything is worth arguing over. Think about what normally triggers arguments and decide if that’s worth the energy in the long run. Maybe there are things you’re willing to let go of in exchange for some peace. Maybe there aren’t. Make those things clear for your spouse and invite him or her to do the same. Try to explain how you feel and set these expectations when you’re both calm.
2. Look for patterns.
Do you tend to argue when you’re both hungry or tired? Do you argue over the same issues often? Is someone or something else a catalyst for your arguments (for example, another family member or a major life event)? Are you or your spouse struggling with anxiety, anger, or depression? Try writing down what happened fresh after each argument and coming back to your log later to see if there are any noticeable patterns. That might help you “unlock” a root cause to address.
3. Ask for help.
Couples therapy or couples counseling might seem scary, but many couples rely on it to help sustain and strengthen their marriages. You can go to couples therapy together or separately, or just one of you can seek therapy for yourself. At best, you come away with a better understanding of yourself, your spouse, and healthy tools to help resolve future arguments. At worst, you discover that your relationship truly isn’t compatible and can take the next step together. Ultimately, counseling is a positive step that can help you break the cycle of frustration.
Every couple argues, but not every couple argues all the time. While your goal might be to stop arguing with your spouse altogether, it’s reasonable to have some disagreements once in a while. The key is to know when those battles are worth fighting because they’ll make your relationship stronger, not tear it down. It’s up to you and your spouse to decide how much fight your relationship is worth in the long run—and do the work required to keep your relationship as healthy and loving as possible.