When two human beings spend every waking moment together, there are bound to be as many bad times as good ones. And perhaps no one understands this better than married couples, who are forced to live, sleep, and interact with one another every day with nowhere to run or hide. Of course, being with the love of your life can be a blast at times, but from time to time, those quirks or quips from your partner will push you over the edge.
Sure, you vowed for better or for worse, but that doesn’t mean that you and your spouse have to agree on everything. However, when push comes to shove, do empty toilet paper rolls and texting at dinner really merit a screaming match? And is it really worth getting into a heated argument over, say, the heat? Herein, we’ve compiled some of the most common silly arguments among spouses, with ways to avoid ever getting into them again. And for more ways to maintain a happy relationship, don’t miss these 30 Things You’re Doing Right That Will Improve Your Marriage.
What to have for dinner.
“I constantly deal with arguments that involve ‘winning,'” says Laura F. Dabney, MD, a relationship and life coach. “These involve each spouse trying to change the mind of the other instead of focusing on the problem. A classic example of this is when a couple is deciding where to go for dinner and one is trying to convince the other that sushi is ‘better’ while the other is making a case for Italian. This goes nowhere, because of course one is not better than the other. The better thing to do is focus together on the problem, which is, ‘We aren’t on the same page for dinner, so now what?'”
The classic toilet seat spat.
If you’re in a cohabiting relationship with a member of the opposite sex, then you’re destined to have this argument at least once a week (if not once a day). But as annoying as falling into the toilet at three in the morning is, is something like putting a toilet seat down—an action that takes a maximum of three seconds and requires minimal effort—really worth fighting over? Probably not. Ladies: Your better bet is to calmly remind your significant other every so often that you use the toilet with the seat, and that his putting it back down would be much obliged.
Whose turn it is to clean the kitchen.
Why are you keeping track of who cleaned last? Tidying up the house should be a joint effort, not another reason to unnecessarily fight. The simple solution here is to divvy up the responsibilities between you and your significant other (as they should be). That way, any arguments about “who cleaned last” won’t be possible. And if you want to scrub the house so well that you won’t have to touch a sponge again for weeks, use these 20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind.
The “I cook, you clean” debate. (And vice versa.)
When you spend hours slaving away in the kitchen over a home-cooked meal, you might feel like you’ve earned the right to simply sit back while your other half cleans up the mess. But if your spouse never agreed to this arrangement, then they might feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, leading to an unnecessary fight with no purpose. Next time, just check in with your spouse and make sure this set-up works before you start cooking—and if it’s not, you can either both cook and both clean, or you can just opt for take-out. And before you cook, read up on these 17 Ways You’re Using Your Kitchen All Wrong.
Why there’s no toilet paper.
Yes, sitting down on the toilet only to find that the toilet paper roll is empty is frustrating beyond belief, but does it really warrant an all-out screaming fest? It might feel like your wife not replacing the empty roll means that they don’t care about you or your needs, but it’s more likely that they just got too lazy to walk over to the cabinet to retrieve a new one. Replace the roll, remind your partner that they can’t just leave you hanging when you go to do your business, and move on with your day. The fight isn’t worth it.
Your spouse assures you that they know how to get to your parents’ house, but two hours later and you’re lost somewhere in the middle of the boondocks. Your impulse might be to scream your head off about how you told them to plug the address into the navigation unit, but all this is going to do is agitate your already frustrated S.O. and make a bad situation worse.
For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it’s better to hold your tongue, plug the address into the GPS, and change the subject. The damage has already been done, and starting a fight when your partner is already upset could sour the mood for the rest of the day. And if you’re struggling to keep your cool, try these 20 Best Ways to Calm Your Anger Instantly.
What temperature to set the thermostat at.
Fine, so maybe your husband likes to keep the house at a frigid 65° Fahrenheit, but that’s why you have blankets. And if your wife likes it at 72° Fahrenheit—even in the scorching summertime—then just sip on an ice cold drink and lose the shirt. If you and your spouse can’t learn to compromise over something as little as the thermostat, then how are you ever going to compromise on the stuff that really matters?
Why there’s dirt all over the floor.
You’re tracking in mud when you wear your shoes inside the house. Leave them where they belong: In the foyer.
Someone watched the rest of the season.
Many couples bond over watching their favorite TV shows together, so it can feel like a betrayal of trust when one person watches an episode or two of the show without the other.
“To discover what the fight is really about, you need to talk,” says Tina Tessina, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners.“Once you find out the specific reasons behind your partner’s preferences, you’ll find out how to solve the problems you didn’t know were there.” Maybe your partner isn’t getting ahead to spite you, but is simply too impatient to wait to watch and didn’t realize how much watching together meant to you—and is that really something that warrants a skirmish?
Spats over walking speed.
Some people just naturally walk faster, and this has nothing to do with being in a hurry or trying to outpace someone else. If it bothers you that your partner is walking too quickly or to slowly, it’s more effective to just tell them that (“I want to slow down so we can actually walk and talk”) than to attack them for their natural walking pace. Also, gents, be mindful: Heels aren’t easy to walk in.
Someone is late (always).
Many dumb arguments continue to plague a relationship because, instead of addressing the underlying problem, spouses prefer to just trade barbs. “If one person is typically late and the other spouse always approaches it in the same way—by complaining—then he or she is just as responsible for the problem because they are not analyzing the situation,” says Dabney. If timeliness is a problem in your relationship, Dabney suggests sitting down with your partner and coming up with “another approach”—specifically, one that doesn’t involve name-calling.
“Sometimes arguments are symbolic,” says Tessina. One great example of this is the classic Sunday football argument, when one spouse prefers to spend their free time doing what they want (like watching football) instead of compromising and finding something enjoyable for both them and their partner. In doing this, the partner with no say in the matter feels like they and their opinions are falling by the wayside, as if they don’t matter.
If a surface argument like this has a deeper meaning, “it definitely helps to let your partner know what the symbolic meaning is to you,” says Tessina. “These struggles are only insurmountable if you don’t understand why you’re arguing, or what you’re really arguing about.” And if you and your partner are struggling to find activities that you can do together, try some of The 50 Best Bonding Activities for Married Couples.
Where the leftovers went.
Your spouse knew you were saving those leftovers, so why would they go ahead and help themselves anyway? To be fair, you have every right to be annoyed, but at the end of the day, food is just food, and something so minuscule doesn’t deserve your energy. If your partner eating your leftovers is a recurring problem, then it might help to talk to them about boundaries and asking before eating—just so long as your approach is unaggressive and doesn’t point any fingers.
Someone keeps drinking milk out of the carton.
Most spousal arguments are more so about some underlying, unspoken issue, but this? This is plain and simple. Use a cup.
Why there are wet towels on the bed.
You’ve told your partner time and time again that they need to hang their wet towel back up after taking a shower, and yet every morning you find their towel soaking through the bedsheets. Frustrating as this may be, it only takes you a few extra seconds to throw that towel back on the rack—and if you’re being honest, something like this is more of a personal preference than a household necessity, so your spouse doesn’t deserve to be berated for it.
Why there are dirty clothes—everywhere.
Your partner throwing their clothing all over the place makes the house look untidy, but it’s more than that. To you, when they leave their dirty underwear on the floor for you to pick up after, they’re sending the message that your time is less valuable than theirs, and that they expect you to clean up after them (even if they don’t mean to).
“Make sure you and your partner understand each other’s points of view before beginning to solve the problem,” says Tessina. “This does not mean that you agree with each other—just that you understand each other.” In this case, explain to your partner that, when they throw their clothes on the floor, they’re basically telling you that you’re their maid, and you don’t appreciate being treated that way.
The phone is always out at dinner.
Electronics are the third wheel in many relationships, and their constant presence can make a spouse feel ignored and neglected. “I’ve seen couples fight over spending too much time online texting or on the phone,” says Tessina, “but fighting will not get the job done. It’s better to come up with a solution that works for just the two of you, ignoring anyone else’s needs.” And for date night ideas sans devices, try these 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time without a Smartphone.
Spats over shower length.
You’ve explained to your wife countless times that she can’t spend 20 minutes in the shower, and yet every morning without fail you’re running late for work because of her prolonged bathroom session. But next time, instead of screaming your head off about how irresponsible and selfish she is, try to make your spouse see the situation from your point of view in a calm manner. “You should be able to put your mate’s position in your own words, and vice versa,” explains Tessina.
The classic blanket-hogging spat.
Nobody likes a blanket hog, but something this minuscule is hardly worth fighting over. And if sharing the blanket is that difficult for your spouse, then just invest in two separate blankets. Voila! An easy solution that avoids a fight both now and in the future.
Anything to do with spending habits.
Finances are one of the most common issue among couples. However, most of the time, the issue isn’t the money itself, but what it represents. “Sometimes there’s no good reason why you’re fighting about money,” explains Tessina. “It’s not really about who’s spending what—it’s about fairness or respect.” While you’re certainly not out of line to get frustrated when your significant other spends so much there’s no money left for bills, if you’re financially stable, your decision to berate them for buying a cup of coffee instead of bringing their own to work likely stems from a deeper issue. If finances are a common fight in your relationship, sit down with your spouse and figure out what the real problem is. And for some tricks that will help you tighten up, try these 20 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Money.
Why your partner won’t quit their obnoxious eating habits.
If you’re noticing your partner’s obnoxious chewing or loud slurping, then you’re probably not the only one, and it’s your right as a loved one to point this bad habit out. But when you do this, keep in mind that there is a fine line between helpfully mentioning something and being hurtful, and crossing that line could put your partner on the defensive and spark a meaningless fight.
Your partner forgot to pick up more milk (again).
Your spouse knows you tend to be forgetful—that’s why they remind you a million times about important events in the first place. But when it gets to the point that they’ve texted you every hour on the hour for the past day about grabbing milk at the store and you still don’t remember, then they might be mad not because you forgot, but because they feel like you don’t care enough to make an effort to remember.
While the fight over forgetting the event is dumb, it might help for the two of you to talk about why your poor memory upsets your spouse so much, and what the both of you can do to avoid future conflict. And if you (and your relationship) suffer from absentmindedness, try these 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory.
A fight over opposite-sex friends.
If you’re accusing your spouse of spending too much time with a member of the opposite sex, you might be projecting your feelings of insecurity onto them, creating a fight where one doesn’t exist. Instead of hurling accusations in your partner’s face, talk to them about your self-doubts—likely you’ll find that your worries exist for no valid reason. And if you’re seriously worried that your partner is spending too much time with someone else, read up on the 30 Subtle Signs Your Wife Is Cheating or the 30 Subtle Signs Your Husband Is Cheating.
Someone shoulders all the responsibility.
If you get stuck booking vacations and date nights every time they come up, then you’re more than justified being upset about it—but unfortunately, starting a fight is not going to solve anything. Instead, a more constructive solution is to have a conversation about why this isn’t fair, how this makes you feel, and what your partner can do to help. Unless you enjoy being responsible for planning everything, the scheduling responsibilities should switch from partner to partner, and you need to make that known.
In times when your mother-in-law is driving you crazy, it’s important to remember that this woman is your partner’s mother, and any criticisms about her probably won’t be taken lightly. Of course, if your in-laws are legitimately harassing you or threatening you, then it’s worth bringing up with your partner—but if you just find them annoying or intrusive, then you might want to hold your tongue to avoid creating unnecessary distance between you and your spouse.
Whose turn it is to turn off the lights.
Either invest in some voice-activated lights, or switch off between who’s turning them off every night. This seriously does not warrant an argument.
Why they eat off your plate.
You literally asked your spouse if they wanted anything to eat, and they said no. But nonetheless, they’re still reaching over and picking food off of your plate like they haven’t eaten in days. Is this annoying? Absolutely. Is it bad enough that it should turn into an hour-long argument with your S.O.? Probably not.
Many women (and men) will argue with their significant others about how they know they are too fat or too ugly. If you find yourself constantly battling with your spouse over whether you’ve gained weight (and get upset when they won’t tell you that you have), then it might be time to look a little deeper and consider that the problem isn’t their perception, but your own. And if you struggle with self-confidence, try these 50 Easy Ways to Be Nicer to Yourself.
“You’re being so moody… you must be on your period.”
Newsflash: A woman doesn’t have to be on her period to get mad at you, and it’s offensive to suggest otherwise. Saying something like this to your wife—especially in this day and age—just makes you look misogynistic, so just don’t.
Why there are empty containers in the fridge.
This is yet another household hindrance that, while annoying, doesn’t deserve a full-blown fight. Finding empty containers in the fridge is an absolute pain, yes, but it barely takes you any time to recycle them. Plus, it’s much easier (and less destructive) to gently remind your spouse that empty containers belong in the bin—repeat this enough in a loving tone, and eventually they’re bound to catch on! And for ways to have an argument-free relationship, try these 50 Relationship Quotes to Reignite Your Love.
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