You have the same fight repeatedly
Whether it’s dishes in the sink or late nights out with friends, couples often have a recurring source of conflict in which they’ll “seem to have the same fight over and over again, says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist in New York and Connecticut. “This annoyance can certainly manifest in the form of a complaint (‘Why do I always have to remind you to do your dishes/help with the dishes?’), which can certainly lead into a fight.” But there’s more to it than feeling grossed out over the sight of caked-on tomato sauce on plates. Dr. Amsellem explains that ignoring a partner’s request, even if it’s something as seemingly trite as dishes in the sink, conveys a sense of disrespect to the other person who may feel they’re not being heard. These are our favorite 28 marriage tips from grandmas.
A heated argument over something little
Did your partner leave the empty yogurt container on the counter? Samantha Boardman, PhD and founder of Positive Prescription, says being thrown for a loop over little things can be normal, but it’s important to take stock of what likely set off the annoyance in the first place. “Stress, fatigue, and hunger often provide the spark to set off a heated argument,” she says. “Discovering your partner left the cap off the toothpaste after a fun evening together is one thing, making the same discovery after a long day at work and a horrible two-hour commute home in the rain is quite another.” Rather than light into the other person when stress strikes, which Dr. Boardman says can stir up questions about criticism, control, blame, or partner negligence in the relationship, she suggests focusing on kindness and compliments throughout the relationship.