As a marriage counselor, I see all sorts of couples in my office. They come to me with problems ranging from infidelity to not putting the cap back on the toothpaste. When they decide to go to marriage counseling, most couples have decided that their problems are so big that they need to get it sorted out - or else. However, there are a lot of problems couples have that aren't really problems at all. They're small enough that it's not really worth the argument.
1. No sex
As I said in another article, sex is a healthy and important part of marriage. So it's no wonder when couples fight about it - especially when they aren't having it. The truth is, fighting about sex is just making sure that it doesn't happen for a while. Besides, lots of people have "dry spells.. Instead of sulking or arguing about it, try talking it through with your partner. Tell them exactly what you're mad about and offer suggestions of what you both can do differently. Like I said, sex is an important part of marriage so if it's not happening much (or at all), then you may have some hard discussions ahead. But, just getting turned down once in a while is not a good reason for an argument.
2. My partner wants to have sex all the time
Physical intimacy is the one thing that sets you and your partner apart from being roommates. Because of this, sex is an important part of your marriage. It's a unique way that you and your partner can express love, passion and romance that you can't express with just anyone. So why complain when your partner wants to be intimate? It's a great way to express love to each other. And it's a lot more fun than browsing Facebook at night.
3. He or she doesn't put the cap back on the toothpaste
I've never met someone who has divorced because their partner didn't put the cap on the toothpaste. But I have seen plenty of couples argue about it (or something like it) over and over again. The truth is, it's really not that big of a relationship violation and if it's not worth divorcing about, it's probably not really worth arguing about, either.
4. He doesn't treat me like a princess
In the dating world, men are responsible to do everything. They're supposed to be the ones to ask the girl out, they're suppose to pay for the date and they're supposed to treat their girl like a chivalrous knight in shining armor would. And if he does all this right, he gets rewarded with another date with her. Unfortunately, these unrealistic expectations set in the dating world don't apply very well in marriage. A marriage is a partnership and expecting to be treated like a princess is expecting your husband to be a servant. Neither of these roles will work long-term in your marriage.
5. I shouldn't have to ask - my partner should just know
In the business world, everyone knows you should communicate openly with your team - even over-communicate if possible. But there's an unspoken expectation in marriage that you shouldn't have to tell your partner what you want. If they really loved you, they would just know. Then, they should work their hardest to give you what you want. Instead of asking your partner to be "in tune" enough with you to know what you want, openly communicate your expectations just like you would at work. It's a romantic idea that your partner magically knows what you want. It's also a false one that has caused too many unnecessary arguments.
6. Who started it.
"Well, I wouldn't have done X if you wouldn't have done Y." I hate to break it to you, but just because your spouse did X, that doesn't give you permission to do Y. In other words, you're just as responsible for doing Y regardless of what your spouse did. Because of this, it doesn't matter who started it. Each spouse is equally to blame. So, stop fighting about who started it and work together to try to find an ending to it.
7. Who said or did what and when.
Remember at that Christmas party when your spouse did that one thing that really embarrassed you or made you angry? Well, it's time to bury the hatchet and get over it. Fighting about things from the past will never do any good because you can't go back in time and re-do them. Instead, focus on things in the present and what you can do today to repair the damage. Ask for specific things that will help you feel healed (see number 5 above) and give your spouse the opportunity to show you that he or she will do it.
These seven things are some of the most common arguments that happen in marriage. They're also some of the most unnecessary ones. And, they usually cause a lot of hurt. When you stop these arguments, it's amazing what you come up with instead. You'll normally find that these arguments get replaced with good old fashioned communicating. And, a lot more fun with your spouse, too.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog RelationshipRx.net for expert information on improving your relationship without the psychobable.