In spite of the fact that there are millions of jokes about the ‘old ball and chain’ and tons of innuendos that seem to indicate that matrimony is anything but bliss – there are millions of happily married couples who wouldn’t have their relationship status any other way. And the truth is that the one relationship that is supposed to bring you the most happiness and the institute of marriage, SHOULD NOT be a constant battle. If you feel like you and your spouse are constantly at odds and seem to disagree on nearly everything, you aren’t alone. But listen to these tips compiled from marriage experts so you can alleviate the unwanted stress and frustration that constant arguing and bickering with your spouse can cause.
First and foremost, realize that the constant battle over stupid things and big things is not helping anything. What most people fail to realize, especially in marriage, is that if you are constantly doing the things that don’t work – you will constantly get the same results. In other words if you have a problem with your spouse and you continually handle it the same way, things aren’t going to change much. The key is communication. And the only way to stop the silly bickering and endless banter is to make a firm decision that the two of you will decide to communicate. Chances are that the little things you are battling over, really aren’t the real issues at all. To save your marriage and to break the cycle, you have to start communicating honestly!
Secondly, realize that aside from irreconcilable differences the constant fighting is hazardous to your health, your spouse’s health and your children’s health. When couples are constantly fretting with one another, there is an absence of pro-inflammatory cytokines being produced in your blood cells. These cytokines are key to your immune system, hormonal balance, and general well-being. A University of Ohio study confirmed that after a quarrel, “when a couple is obviously stressed, the cytokines are produced more slowly. The morning after an argument cytokines may elevate more than is healthy. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been linked to a variety of age-related disease. Couples who demonstrated consistently higher levels of hostile behaviors across both their interactions healed at 60% of the rate of low-hostile couples.”
And certainly, this same response happens whenever you are put under stress. The problem is that when your marriage is constantly a battle, you are subjected to this stress response more often. In fact, in couples that seem to be constantly going head to head, the sheer sight of their partner can cause these blood proteins to get off balance. In other words, you owe it to yourself and your family to fix the problem.
Here are some tips to do so to improve your marriage
- As mentioned before, be honest! Sure, the fact that your wife poured grease down the kitchen sink for the umpteenth time upsets you, but is you reaction truly warranted? And yes, your husband leaves the toilet seat up all the time, but is it worth a massive argument? Be honest about what you are upset about using statements that begin with I. For instance, “I feel like you don’t care or “I feel like you are taking me for granted, or even “I feel so angry when you don’t listen to me.” Experts suggest that owning your statements and feelings will make your spouse more susceptible to actually listening to what you have to say.
- Lower your voice! Most people immediately tune out when they are yelled at. If you cannot talk to your spouse in a normal tone of voice, then take a time out until you can. Often, it isn’t what you are saying – but how you say it. Spouses are equal, and you shouldn’t be yelling and hollering at one another, especially if you want the other person to truly hear what you have to say.
- Decide what the REAL issues are. Many couples fight about everything BUT the real issue. In a marriage, there is no room for egos, and your spouse is not a mind reader! While it may be easier to fight about the little things instead of admitting that you are hurt that your spouse doesn’t seem interested in sex, it won’t get you anywhere.
- Agree to disagree. Seriously. Just because you are married doesn’t mean that the two of you are going to agree on everything. And so what if you don’t? Being right is not the goal in a marriage. The two of you are different people, and it is okay to disagree. If the disagreements are on serious issues such as child discipline, or other hot button debates – then try to find ways to compromise. Far too often in a marriage, people automatically think that the ceremony and ring are going to change people. This is NOT the case, and while you cannot change other people; you can change YOUR reaction to them. Disagreeing really isn’t such a bad thing.
- When a couple is constantly battling, they forget how much they love one another. It’s somehow easier to be mad and hold grudges. However, a well place “I love you,” can be healing. It only takes one person to put an end to the cycle of marital fighting. In fact, if you said, “I don’t want to fight with you anymore, I love you and want us to be happy,” you might be surprised about the outcome.
- Don’t see this “rough patch’ as the end of the marriage. Instead, realize that marriage takes work. Constantly throwing out the word divorce or saying things like, “This isn’t working,” is quite simply a recipe for disaster. And chances are that is not what you really want anyways.
- Get counseling. Having someone to mediate and LISTEN to both of you, can be just the thing you need to get back on the same page. There is no shame or harm in marriage counseling. Plus, it’s much better to use a marriage counselor as a sounding board rather than depend on friends and family.
- Be the first to initiate change. If you change your stance, attitude and reaction – your spouse will change theirs as well. Okay, not immediately but soon enough. People cannot argue with themselves!
Marriage truly, really is supposed to fun and fulfilling. Often it is the expectations that each of us carry in our own hearts and minds that disappoint us, rather than our spouse. You have to be willing in a marriage to let the small stuff go, and find amicable ways to reach one another and communicate both with and beyond the heart and ego. Realize today, that you do have a CHOICE in your life. You can choose to continue down the same nagging path that you have been on, or you can choose to turn over a new leaf and get back to a satisfying and healthy relationship.