Both happy and unhappy couples are bound to argue and fight. Arguing or fighting isn’t necessarily bad for your marriage if you resolve it in a way that helps you feel more connected. Relationship experts tell us that couples have an argument 15 to 20 times a month, often about similar things or "hot topics." Being able to prepare and talk about these hot topics before they become a huge struggle can turn an obstacle into an opportunity for growth and understanding.
Below are five of the most common topics couples fight about according to marriage experts. If you see yourself struggling with any of these, use it as an opportunity to bring it up, discuss it, and resolve it in a way that fits your relationship style.
1. Miscommunication default. What makes your partner feel close to you? Do you know what turns your partner on or off? Communication problems are the number one killer of relationships. When you fight, do you use insults, name-calling, or stonewalling? Knowing your personal destructive pattern can help you switch to a new, healthier style, such as softening your tone and avoiding distractions.
2. Unrealistic expectations. You cannot change your partner. Being in a relationship expecting your partner to bend to your whims is unrealistic and dangerous. Do they feel pressured to adjust the way they live to fit a standard you created? Are they walking on eggshells around you to avoid upsetting you? These are both signs that expectations within the relationship are unrealistic. Practice focusing on praising your partner when they are supportive and there for you and pay less attention to their faults. Love should not be dependent upon you getting what you wanted.
3. Jealousy or cheating. Virtual infidelity has increased conflict with couples struggling with cheating and affairs. Feeling jealous, insecure, or suspicious is a rocky relationship foundation. Rather than sweeping this issue under the rug, bring it up. Talk about what you would feel and do if you found out your partner wasn’t faithful. Create a plan and talk it over to reduce stress and conflict around the topic.
4. Lop-sided relationship. When the relationship is unbalanced or one person is doing most of the work, it puts undue stress on the couple. If one partner feels taken advantage of or taken for granted, resentment starts to bubble up. Talk about what’s happening and how you’re feeling with your partner. If a solution isn’t negotiable, seek a marriage counselor. A healthy marriage depends on both partners doing their share of work; love your relationship enough to make personal sacrifices with your time.
5. Performance issues and a difference in intimacy satisfaction. One in four men feel inadequate about their performance in the bedroom, and one in 10 women don’t feel good about their body or sexual appetite. That means a lot of couples have arguments about their sex lives. If your relationship struggles in this area, it’s important to begin talking about how you feel regarding your intimacy. What does your partner want more of, and how can you show them that trusting you will see a difference in the bedroom? If you continue to struggle in this area, make sure your symptoms aren’t stemming from an underlying serious health condition by seeking out a doctor. Your doctor may test for medical reasons you’re having problems, and they may refer you as a couple to talk with a therapist specializing in intimacy. Feeling awkward or embarrassed about this topic is common but reminding yourself that your sexual health predicts your overall health can help motivate you to go to the doctor. Don’t let fears of talking about your intimacy destroy your marriage.
Conflict is normal, but when conflict becomes more frequent and you feel less connected to your partner, it’s time to sit down and discuss it. Some couples cannot make the changes they need to save the relationship. However, if both partners are willing to be open and honest about what they feel and make personal changes, they are successful. Hot button issues are only hot because couples avoid discussing them in a safe place and working together to resolve them