Chances are, whatever you and your spouse fought about in the first year of marriage, you’ll continue fighting about it for the rest of your marriage. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to help you understand that it’s normal. Also, to figure out what the actual issue is so that you can understand where they are coming from.
I know a couple that has been married over 50 years. They’ve had the same couple of fights the entire time I’ve known them. The husband isn’t a great planner, but the wife expects him to make plans.
His inability to plan things comes up in many different scenarios that cause them to get frustrated with each other. It makes it hard to plan for big things like vacations, but also for little things like when to go to the grocery store during the week. This causes them to fight in a lot of different situations, but it’s all tied to the same issue.
On the flipside of things, she’s not great at organizing and tends to leave piles of paper around the house. He can’t handle clutter and it makes it hard for him to think. So, he sorts through the piles of paper and ends up throwing out important things like bills and confirmation numbers. It all looks like trash to him.
All that to say they both have things that irritate the other person. And, because they both have those core things about who they are, it doubles the number of arguments they have and can make it seem like all they do is fight.
Understanding what the core issue is the key to being able to get frustrated with your spouse again and again about the same things, but still have a happy marriage. In fact, arguing can be a sign of a healthy marriage.
Here’s a video I recorded about this or you can read the article below for the tips.
Why You Will Always Have The “Same Fight” With Your Spouse
There are a few reasons you’ll always have the same fight with your spouse. Here are the top reasons.
I think the biggest one is it is tied to your personality. It’s really hard to change who you are at the core. And, you shouldn’t necessarily change the core of who you are. I’m not talking about bad habits or bad character traits. But, I’m talking about things you can’t control like not being a great organizer or being someone that’s not very artistic.
Another thing that causes you to have the same fights with your spouse is a difference of preference. Everyone has their own quirks and ways of doing things. Some of those things are likely going to annoy you about your spouse. Around here, I like for dishes to be in the sink and Austin likes them to be by the sink. We’ve lived in 7 houses together and this is a struggle we have in each and every home.
The last reason is selfishness. As much as we may try and get our selfish desires under control, they will always be an issue. Whether you are being selfish by being unwilling to change for your spouse or being selfish by expecting something out of them they can’t give you, this can cause you to have the same fights. Hopefully, you and your spouse can work through the fights that stem from selfishness as you both grow.
Why Having The “Same Fights” Damages Your Marriage
When you first get married and you’re trying to figure your spouse out, it’s a lot easier to be forgiving when they do things that upset you. For one thing, you’re still in the honeymoon phase. Also, you think that there’s a possibility that they’ll change given enough time.
The issue comes in when you’ve been married for 10-20 years and you realize they are not ever going to change. Having the same fight wears on you.
When you perceive that they aren’t willing to change, it communicates that they:
- Are doing this on purpose to make you mad or hurt you.
- Don’t love you enough to make the change.
- Aren’t concerned about your frustrations and feelings.
- Are selfish and blind to the needs of others.
Ultimately, having the same fights with your spouse can make you both feel unloved by the other person. This builds resentment towards them and leads to one or more of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse showing up in your fights.
The 4 Horsemen are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. When you use these tactics to communicate in your marriage, it will eventually lead to divorce.
However, I think that a couple can still have the same fights their entire marriage and still have a happy and fulfilled relationship.
Here are the things you can do to deal with the fights in your marriage.
1. Identify What The Main Issue Is
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s never about the socks. The backstory on this is that Austin tends to leave his socks on the floor beside the bed at night. For the first several years of our marriage, I would walk by and see those socks. In my mind, he had left them for me to pick up. This became a big frustration to me. However, the fight we had was about the socks. It wasn’t the real issue though.
It’s hard to figure out what the real issue is, because the fight comes up in many different ways. For me, anytime I saw Austin leave something by his recliner at night, it caused me the same frustrations as the socks.
The issue wasn’t his cleaning habits, it was how that action made me feel, which leads to my next point…figure out why it bothers you so much.
2. Figure Out Why It Bothers You So Much
In the sock scenario, it bothered me because I took this action to mean that Austin expected me to clean up after him. He never once said that to me with his words. In fact, he never felt that way either. But, because I was the main home caretaker, I saw it as my responsibility to make sure the house was clean. When he would leave things out, I thought he was telling me it was my job to make sure it was put away.
Let’s be clear, this issue was 100% my problem. He didn’t mean to make me feel that way or communicate those sentiments. And, it was really confusing to him that I was so mad about him leaving socks out.
Honestly, I was really confused as to why I was so mad as well. It was just socks for goodness sake. But when I finally figured out why I was getting upset, it helped me to separate the emotions I was feeling from his actions.
3. Tell Them Where You Are Coming From
Once I figured out why I was so bothered by socks being left on the floor, I was able to communicate to Austin why it frustrated me. It was actually a breakthrough, because he was able to dispute the lies I was believing. He respected me and never expected me to clean up for him.
After that, I stopped picking up the socks and he started doing it himself. Same with anything left by his chair. He was always willing to clean up, I was just getting to it before him so he didn’t have to.
4. Give Grace To Them
It’s really important to give your spouse grace on the things they do that bothers you. Most of these things are really not make it or break actions. I’m not saying that you should be ok if your spouse is cheating on you or being unfaithful. But if they have different preferences about life or how to do things, then give them grace.
Also, when you realize that you do things that bother them, it’s even easier to give them grace. You want them to give you grace.
I’m really bad about taking over other people’s space. The way that currently plays out is I’m bad at leaving stuff on Austin’s night table. It really bothers him. I am aware that I do this and work hard to clean up my stuff as soon as possible, but I’m not perfect at this. I rely on Austin being willing to overlook this and know that I am going to handle it.
5. Focus On The Things You Love About Them
Instead of spending your energy and focus on the things they do that bug you, focus on the things that you love about them. This will keep you from becoming resentful about having the “same fights” all of the time. Most fights in marriage are a result of your differences of personality. And unfortunately, it’s these little nagging things that ultimately lead to divorce if you focus on them.
I hope that these tips will help you and your spouse figure out what the core issues are and how you’ll handle them. You will still argue with your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good marriage.