Sunday, August 19, 2012

Couple Fights and Resolutions

Question: What did you as a couple seem to fight about the most and how did you resolve those things?

Summary:

Money - "We discovered within a couple of months that discussing finances was going to undermine our marriage....Trying to follow the teachings of the time about making family budgets meant constantly pushing each other's buttons and insecurities....We have kept separate accounts for more than 30 years, allowing us to talk about money much less often." "The subject of money seems to be the biggest thing that bothered us in the beginning....We are able to have a quiet discussion now and since he was in the frugal state for so long we are able to enjoy our lives now." "We finally had to agree we could each spend so much money on anything we wanted without the other spouse making comments.  Anything over a certain amount of money we needed to consult with each other."

Schedule - "We fought (and continue to disagree) on when to work and when to play." "our approach to doing things is very different.  He’d rather do things later (results in never sometimes) and I want to get them done now, off my list and enjoy the results. The greatest solution to this problem has come from hiring out the things that need to be done or just doing them myself."

Stress - "But we did fight about stupid little things, which I am sure was caused by stress. We are type A personalities and we were always wanting to do our best, sometimes to the point of frustration and exhaustion." "We learned to get the 'real cause' of frustration out on the table, and then the petty disagreements were much easier to handle."

Communicating Needs
- "I didn't want to have to tell him when I needed compliments and validation.  I thought 'he should just know.' He didn't!" "We really didn’t fight in the traditional sense though that might have been healthier.  Our approach seemed to be to clam up when we got angry which never did resolve anything....In recent years we have learned to discuss things in a much more healthy manner.  The key is to discuss them at a time that is not filled with emotion and to introduce the subject with 'I messages', not to tell my husband what he is doing wrong but how I am feeling about something or ask about the possibilities of something different." "I think many times you think someone is acting towards you, when in actuality they are reacting cause they are unhappy or unsure of themselves."

Kids - mentioned briefly

Answers:

Samantha (and Thomas)
We didn't "fight" much.  My parents had a troubled marriage, and as a child, I remember crying when they would argue.  I think angry, accusatory, verbal disagreements are harmful.  We disagree regularly, but we try hard to be respectful, calm and careful to avoid personal attacks.

Our disagreements early in our marriage were often about how to spend money, how to raise the kids or how to meet each other's needs.  It helped to have a budget we'd both agreed to and some general rules about how we would discipline the kids. 

It took us longer to learn how to communicate about hurt feelings or unmet needs.  Most of those difficulties stemmed from the difference between men and women--women need more verbal interaction; men need "down time; " women like romance; men are more physical.  There was a Nova special about men's and women's brains that helped us a lot!

It was also a great help when I learned to be more direct (but kind) about what I was feeling.  For example, I didn't want to have to tell him when I needed compliments and validation.  I thought "he should just know." He didn't!  And vice versa.  We learned to get the "real cause" of frustration out on the table, and then the petty disagreements were much easier to handle.

Brianne and Spencer
We discovered within a couple of months that discussing finances was going to undermine our marriage.  We came from such totally different experiences and ideas. Added to that the paychecks in sales are inconsistent at best.  Trying to follow the teachings of the time about making family budgets meant constantly pushing each other's buttons and insecurities.  We had to find something that worked for us, and let go the advice.  We have kept separate accounts for more than 30 years, allowing us to talk about money much less often.  We have matured a great deal, and grown to understand each other.  We coordinate finances very comfortably almost all the time now.  We have learned from each other and changed our views, meeting in the middle on many concepts.  It has been a gradual process.  I am so glad we found a way to shelf the issue in our early years.

There were a lot of other opportunities to play on each other's insecurities.  I think many times you think someone is acting towards you, when in actuality they are reacting cause they are unhappy or unsure of themselves.

My advice to my younger self = build up your spouse's confidence, be appreciative, help each other finish growing up the way you would a child that you want to grow confident and happy.  Just like with a child; if your spouse knows you think they are wonderful, they will strive to do more to please you and not want to disappoint.  You are responsible for your own happiness, you married a human.

Cynthia (and Brad)
We never fought about big issues. We tried to have those settled before it got to that stage, but I am sure there are couples who have totally different philosophy about certain things and this requires cooperation, perhaps counseling from an outside source, etc. But we did fight about stupid little things, which I am sure was caused by stress. We are type A personalities and we were always wanting to do our best, sometimes to the point of frustration and exhaustion. That's when the results were "kick the dog. " So many of those issues were totally stupid and a waste of time. But in the heat of the moment they seemed important.

Danielle (and Jake)
We fought (and continue to disagree) on when to work and when to play.  We have different backgrounds; I love to work hard around the home and yard and receive great joy from a nice looking home.  My husband likes to take it easy.  He never does anything today that can be put off until tommorrow.  Believe it or not, we are a great team, we have a lovely home and yard and we plan play days, because it does not come easily for me. 







Abigail (and Martin)
The fighting question is a tough one.  Both my husband and I are strong willed and determined people.  I like to say that the person who is in charge of something has the final say in how involvement is handled.  For example, I’m in charge of the kitchen so I get to say how it is organized.  Unfortunately, when my husband volunteers to help, he doesn’t always want to do it my way.  It is a struggle because I know I should be happy for the help.  There are also disagreements about how things should be filed or if we should spend more money on an item like cheese for example, that tastes better than a less expensive brand that no one will eat.  I don’t really know how these issues get resolved.  Mostly, I think we just agree to disagree.

Karen and Lance
We tried to have a "discussion" about spending money or saving it. He has always been very frugal as far as money goes. She was used to spending "her" money when she was working, saving half for a Savings Bond (during WWII) and half to spend. When we got married we really had to decide what was what as far as money was concerned. We had a "budget" of what we had and what we could spend. Her money she had saved went into the "pot" along with his that he had earned at his job. We were able to buy a home from his brother right away. He worked as a Park Director organizing kids games etc. She stayed home to care for the children. He had custody of his two children by a previous marriage and then we had 6 more. While he worked at the park he taught school and early morning Seminary. The subject of money seems to be the biggest thing that bothered us in the beginning. He still is pretty frugal but he has learned to "give" a little for special things or occasions. We are able to have a quiet discussion now and since he was in the frugal state for so long we are able to enjoy our lives now. She never really realized how it would be in the future and now that it's here it is such a blessing to be able to repair things, get things, and go places when we have saved up a little for that purpose. If we could all just see the future it would make it so much easier :).

Marsha (and Richard)
We really didn’t fight in the traditional sense though that might have been healthier.  Our approach seemed to be to clam up when we got angry which never did resolve anything.  In our earlier years I found that when I approached my husband with a suggestion about how I thought things ought to be run differently than they were being done, his response was to laugh it off or get angry and defensive.  In turn I folded and gave up, internalizing the feelings.  We honestly did not know how to resolve differences and I opted for peace and leaving it alone.

In recent years we have learned to discuss things in a much more healthy manner.  The key is to discuss them at a time that is not filled with emotion and to introduce the subject with “I messages”, not to tell my husband what he is doing wrong but how I am feeling about something or ask about the possibilities of something different.  Once I wrote my needs and feelings in a letter so I could have the time to think it through.  Another thing that was intimidating is that my husband would give evidence that I was wrong in my feelings.  I then felt selfish about my needs, but, again, it didn’t really resolve the feelings.

We lately have been setting a time aside each week to sit facing each other and discuss my goals and the progress I am making.  This has lead to discussing a miriade of things in a safe non-emotional atmosphere.  We both have grown in our trust with one another.  I still don’t want to hurt him so don’t share all my feelings and needs, but sometimes I do get the proper setting to share some.

I have a great husband and have no room to complain.  Luckily, we have not had a problem with relatives or money, which are common subjects, but our approach to doing things is very different.  He’d rather do things later (results in never sometimes) and I want to get them done now, off my list and enjoy the results. The greatest solution to this problem has come from hiring out the things that need to be done or just doing them myself.

I truly have so little room to complain.  My husband is an optimist and I’m more inclined to see the problems involved in a plan.  He resolves my concerns and I’ve learned to trust him.

Rachel (and Bennett)
We disagreed on finances and disciplining children.  My husband had such a heavy work schedule, that I did most of the disciplining, so I basically just did it the way I felt was best.  He was rarely involved.  I also paid the bills, and kept an eye on our money.  We had a few major disagreements when he spent money on something big without consulting me.  We finally had to agree we could each spend so much money on anything we wanted without the other spouse making comments.  Anything over a certain amount of money we needed to consult with each other.  That sort of worked!

Next week's question: Did Mom work for monetary compensation at any point when raising kids? If so, how old were the kids during this time and how many hours per week were worked? How do you think it affected your family?

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