Toronto author Emma Waverman, who writes for the Canadian MSN Lifestyle Internet Portal, has come up with an unscientific list of the Top 10 Fights in Marriage. She’s ranked them in order of importance–ranging from a common squabble to an all out brawl:
1. Empty toilet paper roll fight
Overhang or underhang is just the start of it. An empty toilet paper roll can be a sign of so many other things that get left undone in the daily life of a marriage: socks that never make it to the hamper, phone calls that don’t get returned, dry cleaning that doesn’t get picked up, or stranded coffee mugs left in the sink for the other partner to wash. Whether due to a difference in personal tendency to be neat or messy or chronic amnesia for life’s little details, these seemingly small, random things can add up.
2. TV watching fight
Fights over the remote aren’t just limited to kids. The location and size of the TV and amount of screen time consumed can make for a surprisingly contentious issue among grown-ups too. Whose TV-watching preferences reign supreme? Is it sports night or chick flick or quiet time with no TV on at all? The resentment that can build over who holds the remote can be a nightly source of irritation. If your partner has as a video game addiction (or worse) or logs too many hours on Facebook, squabbles over screen time can lead to bigger fights about priorities.
3. What to do on vacation fight
Sun or ski? Drive or fly? One star or four star? A family trip with the kids or a couple-only vacation? Once you start to plan a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation, you may need a vacation just to get over the stress of planning.
4. I need me-time fight
Whether it’s a run to the gym, girls’ nights out, boys’ nights out or even longer trips away – finding some “me” in the middle of a “we” can be difficult to negotiate without hurting feelings. Who gets more time off? It always feels like the other person.
5. Your family bugs me fight
You thought it was a good idea to marry a mama’s boy and now you don’t want to fight for his attention. Or maybe you always feel judged by your spouse’s parents, or what your spouse considers close and nurturing feels a whole lot more like suffocation to you. Mother-in-law jokes sure don’t seem as funny when they’re all about yours!
6. Whose holiday tradition fight
Our own personal holiday traditions frame how we enjoy and celebrate special holidays. But since no two families are alike it can be tough to blend those loved traditions. Christmas morning can be a stressful time if one person has always opened presents at midnight but the other is used to waiting for daybreak. Holiday dinners can be contentious if one is used to long ritualistic events with family but the other likes to eat and get it over with (or, horrors, can’t stand turkey).
7. You’re working too much fight
Coordinating work schedules in the modern age requires both a spreadsheet expert and a relationship coach. There is nothing like sitting at home eating dinner by yourself because your spouse had to finish that report or go to one last meeting. Having your partner physically present but with one eye on the smartphone is not much better; attending a parent-teacher meeting with one parent in the hallway talking on the phone is just plain embarrassing. Trying to balance work schedules and family life is really about priorities, and no one wants to feel like they take second seat to work.
8. How to bring up the kids fight
Parents all come with their own thoughts, ideas and baggage when it comes to how to raise the kids and you and your spouse may not always be aligned. Everything from child care and schooling to how much to spend on the kids’ clothes can be loaded issues.
9. Sex (or lack thereof) fight
Even relationship-bonding sexual intimacy can be a source of stress, especially if the couple has mismatched levels of sexual desire. When a couple is fighting about sex, even the simplest signs of affection become loaded with deeper meaning.
10. Spending money fight
Somehow squabbles about other topics often lead back to a fight about money – especially when one partner is a spendthrift and one is a spender. Fighting about the cost of shoes or new TVs can lead to a more hurtful discussion about the feelings of value in the relationship, and differing values about money can jeopardize your financial future.
Let’s make it Scientific (sort of)
Did MSN get it right? I thought it would be fun to make it a bit more scientific by actually taking a poll. What do you squabble about most in your relationship? Pick your top 3, then click on the link to view the results.
What do you think about the MSN list or about our poll results? Are there any fights not listed here that are unique to Christian couples?