Why Do Couples Fight and How Can We Stop It?!

Couples – they are bound to fight and usually those fights are about the same things. Couples fight over finances, children, jobs, chores, sex, extended family and free time. Sound familiar? It should. We all do it. I read an article this week in which a marriage and family therapist reported that 69% of conflicts in marriages are never solved. WHAT? But, if that’s true, what can we do about it?

Actually, there is a lot that can be done about it.

For starters, what about changing the way that you fight? What if you focused your energy not on trying to win a fight, but on how to have the fight be healthier and more productive? Often when we start to have the same fight we immediately stop listening and start thinking about what we want to say. What if we stopped doing that and took the time to really LISTEN to what our partners are saying?

Another thing to try is sitting down with your partner during a time that you are both calm (not during an argument) and talking through what your issues are. What are the things you find yourselves fighting about over and over? I am a firm believer that more good comes from having these conversations outside of a fight than could ever happen when either or both of you are feeling emotional.

Think about walking away. If things are starting to get heated and your usual pattern is to just keep at it, switch it up! Take a time out, leave the situation and come back to it later when you are both feeling calm and can have a healthy discussion.

Practice fighting by using the terms “I feel” rather than blaming. When we blame each other, it often puts the other person in defense mode and when people are in defense mode they are often not listening. Using “I feel” takes ownership instead of blaming. How you say something can all of the difference in the world between a fight getting resolved smoothly and it escalating.

Making a few small changes can make dramatic differences in the way that we disagree with our partners. And always remember that the end goal is to know each other better, fight fair and to be a team.


Written by Nicole Uzendoski, MSW, LICSW