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How to Stop Fighting Over Small Things
Friday, 26 February 2021

Fighting with your partner is possibly the least enjoyable aspect of being in a long-term relationship. Unfortunately, arguments—from minor disagreements to full-blown rows—are incredibly common, especially when you are living with your partner. Sharing your life with another person who may have different perspectives is bound to result in friction at times. Unfortunately, fighting over small things with your partner can be annoying at best and relationship-destroying at worst, so it is best to minimize it as much as possible.

Me and my husband tried many ways to stop fighting over small things, and these are the ones that worked the best for us!

 

Come up with a rota for household chores

 
Before I lived with my partner, we never argued. However, shortly after we moved in together, we found disagreements becoming gradually more common. The main thing that we argued about was household chores, and whether or not each of us was pulling their weight.
 
A positive step you can take in order to solve this problem is to come up with a rota for household chores together and stick to it. Instead of arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes or take the trash out, simply consult the rota! You can even write it down on a wall-mounted whiteboard in the kitchen.
 
When coming up with the rota, it is important to discuss what works best for both of you. The rota does not necessarily have to be split exactly 50-50. For example, if one of you works longer hours than the other you may decide that that person spends less time on chores. You may also have different standards and expectations on things like cleanliness; if this is the case you may have to compromise (more on that later) before putting the rota down in writing.
 

Don’t expect your partner to read your mind

 
Arguments often happen because our partners do or say things that we expect them to know not to do. However, the case is often that our partners are unaware of our expectations of them. For example, if you hate it when your partner leaves the toilet seat up after using it, did they know that you would prefer them not to? Sometimes we assume that others have the same expectations of how to act, even if this is not the case.
 
It is important to talk things through as a couple and agree on what expectations you have of each other, whether related to household chores or anything else. Expecting that your partner will intuitively know what you want from them is usually a bad idea.
 
Ideally, you will have developed this level of healthy communication before you make the commitment of marriage, but it is never too late to start.
 

Talk things through instead of bottling them up

 
Bottling up your emotions can be harmful not only to your relationships, but also to your health. It may seem like a good way to avoid fighting with your partner over small things is to ignore any grievances you may have with them or their behavior, but this can actually be counterintuitive.
 
When you bottle up grievances or issues in your head, they can develop into grudges and resentments that eat away at your relationship. Eventually, more often than not, these resentments will manifest themselves in a sudden outburst. You may find yourself completely flipping your lid at your partner over something extremely minor and at an unexpected time. In the most extreme cases, the unresolved issues can turn into an abusive relationship.
 
I once screamed at my confused partner for buying the wrong brand of kitchen roll—of course, it wasn’t about the kitchen roll, that was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. Talking about things sooner rather than later is the best way to avoid criticisms or requests from turning into actual fights.
 

Think from your partner’s perspective

 
You may think that you know everything about your partner and how their mind works, especially if you have been together for a year or longer. However, humans are complex beings, and we can never truly know exactly what even our closed loved ones are thinking or feeling at any time.
 
Taking into account your partner’s perspective is not always something that comes naturally—often doing this is something that requires thought and effort.
 
Putting yourself into somebody else’s shoes is something you do by choice and through will. It is not always easy to do, but doing so can help you to see where they are coming from and understand them better. Not fighting as much is often a result of this.
 

Identify arguments that happen repeatedly and find solutions

 
Some arguments may happen more often than others. If you find that the two of you are constantly having fights over the same thing and repeating yourselves, perhaps it is time to sit down and find a solution to this specific issue once and for all.
 
When I first moved in with my now-husband, we ended up arguing frequently about what to watch on TV. I know, I know—it doesn’t sound that important! However, when we had both finished a long, hard day at work and just wanted to relax in front of our favorite shows, each of us could get irritable.
 
The solution turned out to be surprisingly simple—we agreed that each evening we would each choose a TV show and watch each one for an hour. This eliminated a lot of arguments.
 

Consider if there are deeper issues behind your disagreements

 
Disagreements are often not actually really “about” the things that they appear to be. For example, an argument may be triggered by your partner eating the last cookie from the cookie jar. Although it may seem on surface level to be about the cookie, it may actually be because you believe that your partner does not consider your desires.
 
You may be more emotionally affected by the fact that they did not think to ask you whether you wanted it because you have been noticing a pattern of your more important needs being ignored.
 
Deeper issues such as this can make fights over seemingly smaller things much more likely. If you want to avoid bickering over minor disagreements, identifying and tackling these deeper issues in your relationship is vital.
 

Don’t rule out couples’ therapy

 
Identifying and communicating deeper relationship issues is not always easy. Tackling the issues and solving them can take even more work and emotional effort, on both sides. If you and your partner are struggling to resolve these issues through discussion between yourselves, there may be another solution.
 
Couples’ therapy is becoming increasingly popular and accepted over time, and there is no reason to be embarrassed about visiting a therapist or see it as a sign of failure. In fact, taking steps to fix issues in your relationship is braver than simply trying to ignore them.
 
Even just one or two sessions of couples’ therapy can help each of you to see things from other perspectives, in a controlled and comfortable environment where honesty is encouraged. Couples’ therapists are trained to help couples talk through their problems and find solutions that benefit both of them, while avoiding conflict and anger.
 

Accept compromise

 
Compromise is a feature of any serious relationship. Sharing your life with another person almost always involves making certain concessions to the things that you do. This can make serious relationships frustrating sometimes—in fact, I have a perfect example from my own marriage.
 
A couple of years ago, we decided to redecorate our house. Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to paint a room a rich, vibrant shade of purple. My husband was unfortunately far less keen on this idea. I started to get frustrated and resentful. I thought to myself “I wish I lived on my own so I could paint the house however I wanted.”
 
You most likely have at least a couple of things that you have had to compromise on. You may feel some resentment towards your partner because of this. On the other hand, you may have simply refused to accept compromise and had a fight over every decision until one of you backed down.
 
If you are in disagreement about anything, it is best to take a step back and think about whether the thing you want is really as important to your happiness as you think. I thought to myself “if I lived on my own I may have the exact color walls I wanted, but I wouldn’t have my husband to share them with.” This helped me keep things in perspective. He had his own similar thought process, and we agreed to come to a compromise—I was allowed to choose the colors of the paint, and he was allowed to install a vintage games arcade machine in the basement.
 
Compromise and communication are two of the most important aspects of avoiding conflict in relationships. Following these steps can drastically reduce time spent bickering, so you have more time to enjoy each other’s company and keep your relationship and marriage exciting. However, do not feel bad if you have the odd disagreement; this is perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
 
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