The top five topics couples argue about are money, sex, work, children and housework. A study, commissioned by Smart Money and Redbook states, “All couples argue from time to time, and, in a general sense, it turns out we’re all arguing about the same things.” These “same things” aren’t actually about things at all, but rather about seeking love, respect or attention within any relationship despite gender, age or culture. We probably didn’t need a study to tell us that we present what is truly bothering us through superficial outlets such as being outraged at finding teaspoons in the tablespoon tray.
In fact, research from the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver found that couples who argue are more likely to be satisfied with their marriages than couples who withdraw from conflict. A common factor in many conflicts is when one partner is a spender and the other is a saver. Another is sex. Relationship psychotherapist Paula Hall says “Arguing about sex is nearly always about feeling loved and cared for and deeper needs for connection and affection.” Balancing work, housework and family also create rifts in relationships and the biggest area of disagreement for couples who have children is balancing time for each other with other responsibilities. In all cases, discussion is the major key to any conflict. Hall believes the key to relationship preservation is “Talk, talk, talk and more talk.” Males worldwide are rejoicing at this news.
Having “discussed” all five of the subjects within the last five days, which I assume is the standard apportion, my husband and I will be happily married until one of us dies a natural death or from a gunshot wound in his sleep:
Him: What are you doing?
Me: I’m writing a list of all the “discussions” we have had this week broken down into the five most common subjects “discussed” by couples.
Him: What? What for?
Me: For an article.
Him: Bullshit you are. If I am in it you had better call me Bob or Jack so nobody knows it is me.
Me: I’m calling you “him.”
Him: What about Tom? Tom is a good name. You like Tom Hanks in that movie where he sooked about a lost volleyball.
Me: Fine, I will refer to you as Tom.
Him: The dog food bag fell off the shelf and went everywhere when I was looking for the flashlight.
Me: Did you clean it up?
Him: No, you put the dog food on the shelf.
Me: What’s that got to do with anything?
Him: It was like a trap. If I set up a bucket of water over the doorway for you walk under, you would expect me to clean up after we had a good laugh about you being wet.
Me: Just f*cking pick it up.
Me: Did you use my expensive foundation for something
Him: No, why?
Me: The bottle is empty and I found a washcloth hidden in the cupboard covered in foundation.
Him: Oh yeah, I did use that to fix my jacket…
Me: To fix your jacket how?
Him: Just to fix it, okay? Stop looking at me.
Him: Don’t throw that out, I was going to have a look.
Me: Oh really? What do you need to look through the Victoria’s Secret catalog for?
Him: To pick out something I think would look nice on you.
Him: … and then buy it for you. As a present. Because everything in there would look better on you than on the models.
Me: I’ll accept that answer.
Him: Would you be able to FedEx a parcel for me tomorrow?
Me: I have to be at work at 7am and have two meetings before lunch which I will have to eat at my desk because I have a brochure and changes to the website to complete before 5.
Him: Couldn’t you just drop it off on your way to the bank?
Me: I didn’t say I had to go to the bank.
Him: Can you go the bank?
Him: If we had a big enough house, I’d like to have ten children.
Me: And it would be me who had to change all the diapers.
Him: Yes, but I’d do everything else.
Me: What’s everything else?
Him: Everything. You could just relax until a diaper needs changing. You like reading so it’s a pretty good deal for you.