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3 ways to stop bickering in your relationship

View profile for Christopher Myles
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Many couples bicker over all sorts of trivial things. Especially when they have become more disconnected, this is where ridiculous arguments, over pointless things can become big issues. For example, couples bicker about the "right" way to pack the dishwasher, whether a colour is red or orange, who ate or drank what on an evening, who left the door open and how to correctly pronounce the word "niche"….

This is an interesting article on how to transform the way you communicate and relate to each other in a couple and tips for you on how you can break-free from bickering by Nicola Beer. The Family Team at Crombie Wilkinson have many specialists who can use their expertise as collaborative lawyers, mediators and solicitors to offer you help and advice with your relationship. Contact them at one of our offices for more information.

Why do we bicker and how can we reduce it?

Nitpicking about the minuet details of daily life can feel involuntary, you may know that the topic is hardly worth the breath you are giving it, you may even acknowledge you are being cranky, but it is so hard to stop right?

Reasons We Bicker
1. Power and control struggles

Throughout our lives, we can go through periods where we just cannot stand to be told what to do, no matter who is advising us. It can be a painful reminder of being made to do something by a parent, teacher or boss. In those situations, we may not have had the courage to fight back but in our relationship, we feel more secure and safe so we do. The best way to stop power-struggle bickering I found - is to: Name it.

Highlight what is happening. For example, say "we are fighting over whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher" "were arguing over who eats the last..." Said with a smile or physical affection (cuddle, arm on back or shoulder, kiss) many couples can just let it go and move on.

Control based arguments often benefit from this calling it out, as when it is brought into the light, you can then really see what is happening. It can help a couple to cool down and break the ice.

2. The need to be right

Then there are the fights that are fixated on right and wrong. This is draining for both parties and kills passion. Who wants to be intimate with someone who is obsessed with being right? The need for perfection and to win is draining and to many unattractive. Plus when one wins the argument it is the relationship that looses.

Of course on serious matters and decisions, there will be times that you need to present your reasons and stand for what you believe in. The sad thing is, there are countless times where the disagreements are just not important.

Here are a few suggestions to stop bickering in the marriage

Assess if it is worth it... Ask yourself:

Is this really that important to me?

Do I really care enough about this to keep going?

Does this have any actual consequence for my life?

Is this good for the relationship?

More often than not, you’ll probably find yourself answering, “No" to one or all of these questions. "No it doesn't matter the way we drive to get to the supermarket." or "No it doesn't matter the way the coffee is made".

If the answer is no, then taking a long deep breath and say nothing. Smile to yourself for being able to let it go. That is real strength.

What if the answer is yes?

Then the way to reduce bickering is to explain your point with a specific reason as to why it is important to you, also including the way you feel about it.

For example; instead of "we must clean up the house now." It would be far better to say

"Can we clean up the house now, because we have our friends coming over later and I want the place to look good. It makes me feel at ease and much happier when the house is a certain way."

When your partner responds ask yourself is what my partner is proposing a good solution/ compromise? Does their thinking make sense? If yes go with it, instead of retaliating - sometimes it can be so wonderful to just simply say yes. It's freeing to not let the stuff bother us.

What if you cannot stand their solutions and options to something, say so. If the issue can be dropped then agree to disagree and move forward. If the issue is important to one or both of you, then agree to keep on talking until you reach a compromise that you both feel is fair. Take some time out and revisit it later.

3. Avoid the real issue

Another often misunderstood reason we bicker, is because we are scared to be honest about the things that are really bothering us. So instead we use a pointless argument to get out our frustrations.

So how can we use this insight to benefit our relationships?

1. Appreciate the different needs
We can start by appreciating the differences and support each other. Knowing that this is the natural force of feminine and masculine energy at play and not personal. Whilst this main difference may seem to pull a couple apart, it is very good for sexual attraction to have a masculine and feminine energy matched couple, it's what creates sparks in the bedroom.

2. Express your true feelings

Ask yourself next time you are about to bicker

What is this really about?

Am I feeling like I need more space, freedom, or love? Or something else?

Then ask yourself: what is the best way to get this and be heard in the relationship?

Every situation is different, however, you may want to start with:

     i. How you feel

     ii. What you would like instead

     iii. Appreciation for them listening and allowing you to be honest without defensiveness.

The Family Team at Crombie Wilkinson have many specialists who can use their expertise as collaborative lawyers, mediators and solicitors to offer you help and advice with your relationship. Contact them at one of our offices for more information.

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