I’ve been a couples counselor for over 12 years and seen more than a thousand couples. In this time I’ve been able to see what are the most common things couples fight about. On the surface, the most common things that people fight about are finances, child rearing, sex, etc. However, the deeper reason for these arguments lies below the surface.
Ideally, people have healthy role modeling from their parents on how to recognize their needs, listen to others, and productively express their thoughts and emotions. Many people however, developed some patterns and internalized belief structures that were not very helpful. As adults, these patterns and belief structures can underlie many of the upsets that occur. These old patterns and belief structures ignite the fire, while unmet needs act as the fuel that perpetuates them. The following will discuss the top three things that couples fight about:
1) Not feeling heard
It’s no secret that communication is essential to any healthy relationship. After all, how can you truly know and understand your partner if you’re not able to talk openly and freely? However, simply being able to communicate is not enough. In order for communication to be effective, both partners need to feel like they are being heard. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. One or both people in the relationship may start to feel like their concerns are being ignored or brushed aside. This can lead to frustration and resentment, which can eventually boil over into arguments and conflict. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to take a step back and try to assess the situation. Are you truly listening to your partner, or are you just waiting for your turn to speak? If it’s the latter, then your partner might be feeling like they aren’t being heard. Try to really listen to what your partner is saying, without judgment. It may not be easy, but it could make all the difference in your relationship.
2) Feeling criticized
One of the most common causes of conflict in relationships is criticism. When we feel that our partner is constantly finding fault with us, it can be very damaging to our self-esteem. We may start to feel that we can never do anything right, and this can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. In addition, criticism often leads to defensiveness, as we start to feel that we need to justify our actions. As a result, we may find ourselves caught in a cycle of arguments where neither person is able to express their feelings without provoking a defensive reaction. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to try and break the cycle by communicating openly with your partner and seeking professional help if necessary. Only by addressing the underlying issues can you hope to resolve the conflict.
3) Unmet needs
Couples often fight when one or both people feel their needs are not getting met. This can happen when there is a discrepancy between what each person wants and needs from the relationship, and how these needs are being fulfilled. One way to prevent this type of conflict is to ensure that both partners feel their needs are being met. This can be done by communicating openly about what each person wants and needs, and making sure that these needs are being met through mutual understanding and compromise. When both partners feel like their needs are being met, they are more likely to be satisfied with the relationship and less likely to argue.
To fight less and have a more joyful relationship, I recommend the RDP Couples Communication Course. In the course, you will learn how to deeply listen to your partner, express your thoughts and emotions in a helpful way, recognize and understand your patterns, and discover your needs and get them met. I am so excited to bring these well tested tools to a wider group of people through this online couples course.
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