If it feels like you and your spouse keep having the same fight, you may be wondering how to resolve issues in your marriage. It can be challenging to break the cycles you have built over time with your spouse. But with mutual commitment and a little work, you can move past the conflict and into a healthier relationship for your whole family.
The Same Fight Happens Over and Over
In many relationships, couples seem to be unable to resolve issues and keep from having the same fight over and over again. It could be anything from “You’re always late” to disputes over cleaning, or even questions about loyalty. These fights seem to come up whenever life is challenging, and it can feel like nothing ever gets resolved. However, the good news is that you don’t have to be stuck in high-conflict déjà vu forever.
Get help to resolve issues in your marriage.
Talk to a psychotherapist today to break the cycle of repeated arguments.
Ask Yourself Why You Are Choosing This Battle?
The first step to resolve issues in your marriage is to recognize that there is a reason why you are choosing this battle to fight, while letting other issues go. One (or both) spouses has decided – likely subconsciously – not to resolve this issue. There may be many reasons why this issue is the one that sticks. It may be:
- An emotional trigger for a past unresolved hurt
- A learned behavior from childhood or an earlier relationship
- A difference between you and your spouse’s core beliefs
Understanding what causes this issue to escalate can help you do the personal work to resolve issues and move beyond the patterns you are accustomed to.
Focus on Resolving Your Own Issues, Not Fixing Your Spouse
Often, repeated fights mean that one or the other spouse believes the other person needs to change something about themselves. Attempts to change your partner or hold them to a standard that doesn’t align with their priorities can cause them to become defensive. Rather than “fixing” your spouse, consider why this fight is an issue for you, and do the work to identify what you could do differently. What expectations could you change, or lifestyle adjustments could you make so that your happiness does not depend on your spouse doing something that is not natural to them?
Avoid Emotional Escalation
Finding ways to resolve issues means approaching conflict constructively, and with a cool head. When one or both spouses starts to feel heated or upset, it can cause criticism, blame, defensiveness, sarcasm, and anger. You and your spouse should agree that either of you can call a “time out” whenever you feel you are becoming emotionally elevated. Remove yourself from the situation, regroup, and re-engage when you can consider the issue calmly. This also means giving your spouse to cool down too. Don’t tackle the problem until you are both in the right head space to do it.
Build Positivity with Your Spouse
You want to keep the ratio of positive to negative experiences going in the right direction. This can help avoid resentment and hurt feelings and keep you from starting the same fights over again. It can mean anything from scheduling date nights (without the kids) or taking vacations to simply hugging more and expressing appreciation when they do nice things. As you build up your reservoir of positivity toward your spouse, you will find you are more tolerant of the small things that used to cause fights. That can help you focus your attention on resolving issues together instead.
Collaborate on Tough Decisions
Sometimes life together is simply hard. Every couple faces obstacles and setbacks that strain their marriage. The question is how they approach and resolve those issues. Collaboration is all about finding a solution that feels like a win for everyone. Instead of a tug-of-war over things like chore lists or parental duties, it involves aligning your goals and brainstorming solutions that maximize the good outcomes for everyone. This takes patience and practice, but with time, a commitment to collaboration can help reduce conflict and resolve issues without fighting.
Work With a Couples’ Counselor to Improve Communication and Resolve Issues
All the strategies for resolving issues in your marriage require intentional, persistent work. Most work better with both spouses on board. But you don’t have to do it alone. If you choose to work with a psychotherapist who focuses on couples’ counseling, you can learn new ways to communicate with your spouse, express your concerns without escalating emotions, and resolve issues in a collaborative way that makes life better for everyone. If you feel like you keep having the same fight, consider speaking to a couples’ therapist today to start on the path toward a healthy, more collaborative marriage.
David Stanislaw is a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience. He helps individuals and couples learn strategies to reduce conflict and resolve issues in their marriage. Contact David Stanislaw to get help today.