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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: I’m Constantly Arguing with My Husband

December 11, 2021

Dear Stavroula,

I have been married for many years and my husband and I lived peacefully. Lately, however, we are constantly arguing for the slightest reason. When I noticed that this was happening, I tried to understand what was going on,  because from a young age I was very tired of quarrels and I avoided conflicts. I think he has a problem because he gets annoyed with the slightest thing and reacts more strongly than usual. I discussed it with him but he refuses to admit that his behavior has changed, he tells me that it is normal for a couple to disagree and that he does not understand why I make it such a big issue. But I have begun to pay attention to what I say, out of fear that I might inadvertently provoke an argument. What would you advise?

Evangelia

 

Dear Evangelia,

All couples disagree or argue in some way when faced with problems and this is one way to express dissatisfaction in the context of living together. Some erupt over something intensely, others grumble or hold a grudge.

The question is what can be hidden behind a quarrel and how can the balance be restored in the relationship. Things are easier to sort out when there is an event that they both understand as real and annoying and disagree about, such as forgetting to pay a bill or maxing out the credit card.

However, there are cases where conflicts occur without one of the two realizing that there is a problem, and this makes such problems more difficult to resolve. This usually happens in matters that have to do with principles or mentalities that everyone has adopted from an early age. For example, the son’s relationship with his mother, when he considers her intrusive presence in his life to be normal, or the wife accepts her personal boundaries being violated.

But conflicts can also arise because one’s behavior triggers the other’s individual sensitivities about other matters. That is why the fact that one forgot to screw on the toothpaste cap or did not put his plate in the dishwasher can almost never be a real cause of a quarrel. Behind this may be the feeling that his contribution to the family is not recognized, that his wishes are not respected, or anything else that has at times been a problem and has not been resolved.

This may be the case with you. Maybe some problems were swept under the rug and have accumulated and because you both avoid dealing with them and solving them, your spouse has an outburst reacting to simple everyday things. Problems are almost never solved when the partners avoid conflicts, but when the right way is found for the both of those involved.

The first thing that might help is to seek to improve communication with your husband. Talk to him calmly and honestly about how you feel every time tensions arise and what you would suggest, so that the tensions are resolved more easily. Admit your mistakes and make a sincere effort not to repeat them.

At a time when you are both calm and in the mood to talk, explain to your husband, without criticizing him, that you have noticed how lately he is more sensitive to certain things. Approach him and ask if something is troubling him at work or elsewhere and listen with love to help him. Ask him what you can do together to restore communication and the calm in your relationship, which seem to have worn out over time.

However, if you feel that the condition is getting worse and you cannot manage it, you may need to talk to a specialist.

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