7 Things Happily Married Couples Say Are Never Worth Fighting About
You and your partner may have similar opinions and agree on a lot of things. But you're still two completely different people. Because of that, fights and arguments are inevitable. There are so many things you and your partner will argue about over the course of your relationship, and it likely won't stop after you get married. But according to experts, happily married couples stay that way because they know that some fights are just not worth having.
"Too often couples think that happily married couples don’t fight," Jean Fitzpatrick L.P., licensed relationship therapist, tells Bustle. "But actually, developing the skill set that helps you get good at fighting keeps your relationship alive and creative."
Fighting in a healthy way means keeping your partner's point of view in mind. It means staying kind even in the middle of a heated argument. It also involves taking responsibility for your own actions, and knowing which fights are actually worth having.
"The goal is to build a better marriage, not tear down your spouse or try to 'win,'" Fitzpatrick says. So if that means sucking up your pride this time around and letting your partner have their way, so be it.
The reality is, there are so many different things you will argue about in your relationship. But just remember that fighting can be really exhausting, and isn't always necessary. So here are some things happily married couples say are never worth fighting about, according to experts.
1. Things That Have Happened In The Past
Happily married couples know that it's not worth fighting about something that’s already happened. "Unless there's something deeply painful that needs to be addressed like your partner didn’t show up at the hospital when you got sick or infidelity, arguing about the past is rarely fruitful," Fitzpatrick says. Chances are, you're just going to end up getting into a bigger argument about who's really right or wrong. You’re much better off calming down and focusing on the future, she says. If you must bring up something from the past, find a way to talk about it productively. For instance, if you're upset that your partner ignored you at a party, brainstorm ways to better tune into each other when you're at the next one.
2. Your Partner's Intentions
"When your partner says or does something that hurts you, avoid assuming that it was their goal to be hurtful," Fitzpatrick says. "That’s a story you may be telling yourself, but you don’t really know what your partner intended. They may have been operating under an entirely different set of assumptions." Getting upset and arguing about your partner's "true" intentions isn't going to get you anywhere. If your partner is saying one thing but you believe deep down they mean something else, you'll just end up going back and forth until one person eventually gives in. The best thing to do in this situation is to work on mutual understanding. "Unpack those intentions," she says. "Compare notes on what each of you were thinking and how that thinking led to your action or comment."
3. Who's Right And Who's Wrong
In general, it's pretty pointless to talk about who’s right and who’s wrong. According to Fitzpatrick, when you start playing the blame game, rarely ever does the one being blamed listen. They're more likely to tune out or get defensive and fight back instead. So instead of arguing about who's right and wrong, practice acceptance. "Start by accepting that partners often view an issue or event through different lenses and create space in your relationship for two different viewpoints," Fitzpatrick says.
4. Your In-Laws
If you don't get along with your in-laws, it can put a major strain on your relationship. But as Dori Shwirtz, divorce coach and mediator, tells Bustle, "You're stuck with them for better or worse, so try to overlook most of their shortcomings. Focus on the health of your nuclear family and keep that sacred instead." Your partner can't change their family, so fighting with them about it is just pointless. It's one of those things you can choose to accept or not.
5. Your Partner's Social Media Habits
Texting and social media habits can cause issues if you're both not on the same page. For instance, if you love posting about your relationship on social media but your partner likes to keep it private, it can make you feel like they're trying to hide something. But that's not always the case. The best thing here is to not let social media and technology get in the way of the relationship at all. In fact, Schwirtz says make it a point to find tech-free time where you can just be with each other and actually connect. Social media posts and texting throughout the day isn't the same as spending quality time together.
6. Your Partner's Life Outside Of The Relationship
"In marriage it's healthy for each partner to develop their own hobbies and interests outside of the marriage," Shwirtz says. There's no reason to argue about what your partner does on their own if it really isn't hurting your relationship in any way. If you feel like they aren't prioritizing you, then it's OK to bring up so you can find an activity to do together. But other than that, it's important to let your partner do their own thing.
7. Everyday Annoyances
"Basically, all of life's everyday little annoyances are not worth fighting for," Schwirtz says. "Oftentimes, the reason my clients landed in divorce territory is that they let all of the little things add up to one gargantuan problem." When you're married, there are a lot of little things that can make you mad like your partner's cleanliness or their willingness to do chores. But if you let all of those little annoyances get to you, it'll only lead to stress and tension within the relationship. "If something is really overwhelmingly annoying, speak out and communicate in an effective way," she says. "Prioritize and only address the most serious of annoyances. Be clear that you are not criticizing your spouse, only their behavior. In the grand scheme of things these should just a blip on your relationship radar. "
Again, all couples fight, even the happily married ones. The key here is to choose your battles wisely. If something isn't that big of a deal, it's OK to let it slide. Ask yourself, will this really matter five years from now? If not, it's best to just let it go. Some things really just aren't worth it.