Do you and your partner repeatedly fight about the same things? If so, you’re not alone. Marriage expert Scott Wetzler says that most couples have at least one hot-button topic that they never resolve. So, here’s how to put three of the toughest issues behind you:
- Don’t try to split your chores equally. Susan Dutton Freund is the founder of SmartRelationships.org And she says it’s hard to tell what equal means. For example, is mowing the lawn worth two kitchen cleanings or one? Instead, discuss your assumptions about who should do what. And if you feel like you’re doing more than your fair share, talk to your spouse about changing things up before you get angry.
- Misunderstanding your partner’s complaints about time. Dr. Wetzler says that phrases like, “We never do things together” or “You’re always working late,” aren’t really about spending time apart. They’re actually code for, “I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore.” So, when you hear those types of complaints, don’t defend the crunch at the office. Instead, go out of your way to reassure your partner that you care.
- Disputes about money. A study in the Journal of Marketing Research found that we tend to marry our financial opposites, which means most couples are a combo of a spender and a saver. Once you accept the fact that you think differently about money, you can stop trying to change each other and work on compromises you both can live with. Like, “If we save X amount of money, we can put half of it toward a down payment on a house, and spend the rest on that trip you want to take to Barbados.” And there’s some good news in this, too. Experts believe we’re attracted to our financial opposites because deep down we want them to help us find the middle ground.