By Dr. Ricky Arenson
When I got married, I was fascinated that so many of my friends argued with their partners about the same issues.
Husbands complained that they wanted more sex and that their wives demanded conversation when they weren’t in the mood to chat. Wives asked why their partners had to have sex all the time: “Doesn’t their thingy have an off-switch or at least a dimmer?”
They expressed frustration about husbands being distractible, unengaging, and leaving messes lying everywhere without noticing. Here are nine of the biggest issues couples fight about:
Many couples fight about sex because of mismatched libidos. Most commonly, men demand sex all the time, whereas many female partners prefer sex at the right time. As with any dispute, honest dialogue and compromise can solve many conflicts. Sex is important in most relationships, and it is worth investing time and effort to make it mutually enjoyable and rewarding.
Many couples fight about sharing chores. Many men do not regard domestic upkeep as part of their role. In the modern day, especially if both partners work, old-fashioned gender roles don’t work well for busy women who require more support from their partners. Men: if you care 0about your partner, you’ll want them to be happy. Help them, do the dishes, clean the house, and pick up your mess! Husbands should keep in mind that studies have shown that men who help more around the house get more sex!
Couples fight about money, particularly if it gets tight. It’s worthwhile to talk about financial priorities and goals before marriage, but it’s never too late if this hasn’t occurred. Getting on the same page, working together, and planning will give the couple positive energy, strengthen the relationship, and the plan may work. Fighting and lamenting will not improve the situation.
- Male insensitivity
Couples fight because men are often very focused and upset their wives by not noticing what they do for them. Women don’t feel valued if they take fantastic care of their partner and their family, only for their husbands to come home and grunt incomprehensibly. Men: take the time to thank and praise your wife for the magic that they bring to everyone around them.
Men can upset women by being attentive when they want something from their female partners (usually sex), but when their wives ask them to do something useful, they suffer sudden severe hearing loss, short-term memory problems, and get distracted. Men who listen to their wives and show sensitivity to their needs, often get the job right the first time and may be rewarded with more time for lying around, shouting F-bombs at the ball game.
Men and women fight about nagging. This can occur due to complex relationship issues, or something as simple as a husband behaving like a pig and leaving a mess everywhere (no offense intended – pigs can be lovely pets, but they are not hygienic). In many cases, women nag because they are not getting the right acknowledgment or attention from their partners, so it is the husband’s fault he is being nagged! Women get a bad rap for nagging, but I sometimes wonder whether husbands nag their wives more about sex than they get nagged about domestic upkeep! Either way, the couple must work out what is bothering their partner and try to fix it.
- Climate change
Couples fight because men are hot all the time and try to turn on the air conditioner, whereas most women feel cold and want it off! This causes a secondary fight because men end up taking off their shirts, and women put on more layers of clothes… exactly the opposite of what each was hoping for!
- Feeling under-valued
On a serious note, most humans have a need to feel valued. They require praise, acknowledgment, and gratitude. When they do not feel valued, they become resentful: “Why should I bother if nobody notices or cares?” Make sure you give your partner lots of positive attention, praise, and gratitude. Invest time, energy, and love to keep making your partner feel valued.
- Inability to apologize and acknowledge mistakes.
An apology brings a swift end to most disputes. It stops problems from festering. Without an apology, problems fester, egos come into play, and the badly behaved partner starts to justify their wrongdoing. Get into the habit of apologizing. It enables us to learn from mistakes, get better, and improve our relationships, which is helpful to our own emotional outcomes.
- Jealousy and control.
Couples fight if one partner seeks to control the other because of jealousy or possessiveness. Humans need to be allowed to develop their talents and abilities to be happy. It’s in your own interest to allow your partner time to enjoy their hobbies and interests because your relationship will be better off if they feel happy and liberated to be themselves and realize their potential. On a serious note, relationships become abusive if either partner feels that their freedom of movement and expression is being threatened. Jealousy is a destructive force and both partners should endeavor to build trust between them and avoid this negative emotion. In most cases, jealousy can be attenuated by giving your partner the reassurance that you love them dearly and being sensitive about their insecurities. If not, professional help may be required if you wish to remain together.