The Two Biggest Reasons You'll Have Conflict in Your Marriage, and What to Do About It
They're probably not what you think.
Whether you're a few months in or have been married for two years, there's no doubt that conflict will arise in your relationship. Arguments and disagreements are inevitable, and the experts all agree that they're totally normal. Although the fights differ from couple to couple, most arguments will stem from one of two categories: unmet expectations or a lack of communication. By identifying why you're fighting, you can better address the problem at hand and avoid more conflict in the future.
If you're thinking, "No, we're fighting about money," or "This argument is about his family," then you're not wrong, but there's more to the story, too. Those things may be the current issue, but odds are they've stemmed from an unmet expectation or because you husband or wife didn't properly communicate their plans. A great example of this could be spending the holidays with your new in-laws. You may be under the impression that you'll be spending your first Christmas together with your side of the family, then rotate on and off throughout the years. You cannot just assume that your spouse is on the same page as you are. This same issue can be applied to many different situations during your marriage, such as kids, jobs, or even intimacy. Neither of you have properly communicated what your holiday desires are, thus leading to an argument.
Fights over unmet expectations, on the other hand, stem from one partner saying or doing something that directly contradicts something you've already agreed to. Let's say you and your husband or wife planned to have dinner together at 7 p.m., but you're still out with your buddies. When you come home, he or she is upset that you're late, and you instantly assume the fight is over the fact that you were spending time with your friends rather than your spouse. While it may seem that way, the problem likely isn't with your buddies; it's with the fact that you didn't live up to the expectation that you've already set.
The best way to resolve a problem related to a lack of communication or unmet expectations is to be very clear about your desires and plans. Being extra patient with one another doesn't hurt, either. If a situation arises and you can tell that you're not seeing eye-to-eye, it's time to sit down and talk it out instead of rolling your eyes, slamming the door, or avoiding the problem altogether. Your marriage will be stronger when you and your partner can handle conflict in a healthy manner. Talking through issues can help you in future disputes as well, because your partner then knows the expectations you have of them.
Healthy couples have healthy arguments. To think that you and your spouse will never have a heated argument during marriage is unrealistic, but it's important to know where the disagreement is coming from, and how to meet in the middle.