3 Reasons & Ways To Stop Bickering In Your Relationship
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 I’ve heard 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” … and there so many more of mine own I could share, before I knew how harmful it was.
As it goes without saying that these kinds of petty arguments are exhausting, frustrating and increase distance between a couple. I’m now well known for my online programs that help couples to transform the way they connect, communicate and relate. Bickering is something I like to address early on. If you’re sick and tired of bickering then below are some tips for you. Insanity, as we all know, is carrying on the same and expecting things to change. So break-free from bickering today.
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?
Well, I am here to shed some light on how to stop bickering in your relationship for good. As I still find it amazing how so many of us (myself included) can get trapped in pointless debates that damage our relationship.
Reasons We Bicker
- 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 for more tips see below.
- 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.
One lady I worked with to transform her marriage said to me, “Nicola I am doing this but it’s not working, the bickering is continuing” I was surprised because with all the married couples I’ve worked with, when a person listen’s, empathize’s and let’s the need to be right go, the bickering always stops. Baffled I asked her to tell me word for word what was being said. She then let me know that after she agreed with him she would say: “well I know my way would have been better, but for the sake of peace I will do it your way.” For obvious reasons this is not going to reduce bickering only ignite it, as nothing has been dropped it in this example.
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.
Having worked with countless couples now online and in Dubai, one of the main areas I see couples struggle with is one person’s need for more space and freedom and the other needing more love and closeness. This is always at play in a couple because it is the natural opposing forces of the masculine and feminine energy.
David Deida has written many best-selling books on relationships and masculine and feminine energy. He explains that the masculine energy is constantly focused on achieving and that a person high in masculine energy (can be male or female) will care most about being a success and avoiding failure. This will drive them to be focused on their work, earning money, on being a success at everything they do in fact and seek perfection. The constant question a person with high masculine energy will ask themselves is:
Am I successful enough? Am I succeeding or failing? Am I a success? This will make them heavily focused away from the relationships at times. They will need their career, life goals, finances or fitness to be thriving and may seem like they are neglecting the relationship in pursuit of success. They will crave space and freedom from their partner and this can often lead to bickering if the other person is in high feminine energy. This is because the feminine energy craves love and attention and the masculine to have space to focus. They, therefore, may get agitated by requests for love and things that take them away from their purpose and what they feel they need to do.
It causes bickering because it is opposite to what the feminine energy craves and wants. The feminine energy needs to know they are loved and be shown, love. The constant question for a person high in this energy is “am I loved? am I loved enough? am I loved? am I loved enough? The focus of the feminine energy will be to seek more affection and attention from their partner to fill this void.
Bickering happens because they are wanting opposite things. Plus if the masculine energy person is told they are failing they may retreat as this is their worse nightmare to not succeed. So instead of more love being shown, more space and distance may occur.
So how can we use this insight to benefit our relationships?
- 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.
- 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 I guide is different, however, you may want to start with:
- How you feel
- What you would like instead
- Appreciation for them listening and allowing you to be honest without defensiveness
Hope you found something useful in this. The urge to bicker may occasionally override your ability to assess and ask yourself these questions. However, if you read this several times or listen to the podcast version of this, you will find that it will become more natural with time.
I’d love to hear what you thought and how you got on. Feel free to get in touch anytime, Nicola
From my heart to yours, Nicola
P.S If you liked this article, then there is a strong chance you will like my two free gift offers below:
Free 7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage
Free Marriage Secrets Masterclass