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Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg, LCSW
Essex County New Jersey

Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg LCSW
169 Maplewood Ave Suite 4
Maplewood, NJ 07040
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Six Spousal Squabbles | Top 6 Topics Married Couples Argue Over

The Six Spousal Squabbles –a list of the top topics about which married couples argue—is based on Dr. John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. As Gottman explains, “Even in very happy stable marriages, these issues are perennial.”  We know that all couples argue, but you need to take what you learn from these arguments and grow with your spouse. This is how you and your loved one will truly get to the best place in your marriage.

  1. Stress in the Workplace

After getting yelled at by your boss, you come home and yell at your husband or wife. Clearly, this is a recipe for disaster. While you or your spouse may suffer at a stressful job, you always want to try to make your marriage a peaceful oasis. After a long difficult day at work, give your spouse some time to collect her thoughts when she gets home, and do the same for yourself. This unwinding time is much needed to avoid bringing that dreaded work stress into your marriage.  Make sure that you both schedule some “me” time separately before coming together to discuss your days.

  1. Issues with In-Laws

This actually happened: Kim Smith-Jones was invited to her husband’s family reunion. Her mother-in-law had t-shirts made for the occasion. All of the Joneses were given blue t-shirts; Kim—and the spouses of her husband’s siblings—got yellow. Then, when it came time for the big family photo, Kim and the other spouses-in-law were left out. Not surprisingly, the ride home was not pleasant.

Friction between a spouse and in-laws can beone of the biggest issues in a marriage: If you or your spouse is a “mama’s boy” or “daddy’s girl,” a clear line has to be set and abided by. When you got married, you created a new family with your spouse, and that means that your priorities have to change. You begin your own family traditions. You need to make sure that both the in-laws and your own parents understand that they cannot and will not comebetween you and your partner.

  1. Money Problems

They say that opposites attract, but opposite attitudes towards money can create problems. Finances can certainly be a huge stressor for any couple, but if they do not look at financial issues in the same way—picture a big spender and a die-hard saver—disagreements will follow. I am a big believer of keeping your and your spouse’s money separate, but if you decide that you want or need to pool it together, you have to be ready to work as a team on all financial issues. You need to come up with guidelines regarding what spending, borrowing and investing is acceptable and what is nonnegotiable. If you have issues in this area, look into the possibility of a financial planner.

  1. Physical and Mental Sex

In the movie Annie Hall, the two lead characters, Alvy and Annie, are shown separately talking to their therapists. Both are asked how often they sleep together. Alvy responds, “Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.” Annie says, “Constantly! I’d say three times a week!”

Sexuality in a marriage is just as much mental as it is physical. You need to be able to open up with your partner so that you both understand what the other is looking for. Sex should bring you closer not only in body, but in mind as well.  In a happy sex life, you and your partner should see sex as intimate, but not allow the needs or desires from either side be taken personally. After all, you want to both be happy and satisfied!

  1. Housework Responsibilities

Long gone are the Mad Men days where women stay at home and tackle the housework while the men are at the office. Nevertheless, the stereotypical expectations regarding cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry can certainly put strain on your marriage. The solution is that you simply need to work as a team and fairly contribute to the chores.

While it would be an overstatement to conclude that men are always at fault regarding these issues, that is often the case; men who grew up with stay-at-home mothers may need to make a more conscious effort to avoid this problem. Maybe this will help:Studies show that “women find a man’s willingness to do housework extremely erotic.” Now, if that doesn’t get you washing dishes, I don’t know what will!

  1. Children

For nine months before a child is born, the responsibilities are almost all on the woman. Eat right, exercise, doctor appointments, and, in particular, labor. After that, however, that the responsibilities for caring for and raising the child and need to be split equally. Both spouses have to experience the transformation into parenthood and divide the duties so that one or the other do not end up overwhelmed and feeling underappreciated. Equally important are reaching agreement regarding how to raise your children and presenting a united front when issues arise. If you and your spouse have divergent views on nutrition, education, discipline, etc., you need to deal with them before you add an actual child to your lives.

Now that you know which of the Spousal Squabbles to beware of in your marriage, you can work on your own solutions. It’s important to remember that all couples can disagree and quarrel, and that is normal, but in order to grow and get to the best place in your marriage, you need to work together to reconcile your differences, preferably before they become arguments.

Link used to write like: https://www.gottman.com/blog/6-arguments-all-married-couples-have/

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