Human beings won’t always be on the same page on a number of issues. It is one thing when the disagreement is with a co-worker or classmate, but it is another when it is the person you share a bed with. Sometimes arguments lead to harsh words, hurt feelings, malice or worse. If you love and respect your partner, avoid the long-term pitfalls of a fight by putting safeguards in your relationship to scaffold it. The following represent the major things couples disagree on.
1. Sex. One party wants too much, and the other is hardly interested. This is a recipe for constant bickering.
2. Money. Especially when the relationship starts off in debt. It may be one of the biggest problems in most relationships.
3. Disciplining the kids. If one believes in not ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’ and the other feels that is outdated and cruel, you have an issue brewing.
4. In-laws. Always butting in and giving their opinion unsolicited.
5. Friends. One party may feel some friends are bad influences and therefore do not want them around.
6. Family members with no boundaries. Turning up unannounced and bad-mouthing a partner is bound to stir up trouble.
7. Laziness. No need to say anymore.
8. Lack of ambition. If one party feels the other lacks the drive to take their career and earning potential to the next level, it can be a sore point.
9. State of the house. A house that is never tidy or is always in disarray can be upsetting to someone with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
10. Infidelity. Knowing your partner stepped out of their vows can be devastating and can lead to long-term resentment and bitterness.
Ideally, major issues should have been ironed out during premarital counselling, as that is what it is for. It can reveal if you and your intended are fundamentally on the same page on major issues, such as religious beliefs, the number of children wanted if any, future goals and major life plans. Unfortunately, many people, especially non-Christians, do not view this as a necessity and lose out on how much of a benefit it can be to have a third eye showing you the red flags that can come back to haunt you in your relationship.
Arguments have rules
Every couple argues, but there is a difference between a simple disagreement and a knock-down, nasty name-calling slugfest. While people will have their own opinions and views, it is not OK to be mean and disrespectful. Words spoken can neither be retrieved or ‘unheard’. Even in an argument, you have rules. Establish boundaries, and though it may sound like a cliché, avoid going to bed angry at each other. If you make that agreement, then you will be willing to seek solutions sooner rather than later.
Learn to agree to disagree over the small things, and for the big ones you need to get an independent third party who is not a friend of or related to either of you. A counsellor, therapist or life coach are all good options as they can give you the techniques or tools to fight fairly without hitting below the belt or tearing at your partner’ self-esteem.
Take a step back and try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. You will never be happy if you do not learn the art of one important word: Compromise. This only works when both parties practise giving up something for the greater good of the relationship.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.