7 Causes for Conflict in Marriage and How to Resolve Them

A marriage is not a relationship in which one partner easily adopts the qualities of the other. Because marriages bring together people with their own unique set of quirks, values, ingrained behaviors, backgrounds, interests, and preferences, common disagreements arise frequently.

But it’s critical that these marital disputes are settled as soon as possible because research indicates that marital disputes generally have a negative impact on health and can even exacerbate eating disorders and severe depression.

The renowned American psychologist and clinician John Mordecai Gottman hypothesizes that a constructive or destructive approach to conflict resolution in marriage makes all the difference. Gottman has conducted substantial study on divorce prediction and marital stability over the course of four decades.

The good news is that you may learn to fight fairly and communicate well with your spouse to resolve problems in the marriage and maintain a positive bond.

Typical marital disputes: Pull the bull by its horns

Conflict in marriage is not the culprit.

Think of disagreement as a chance to isolate the urgent problems that are disrupting your marriage’s harmony. As a team, resolve these conflicts and strive to improve as married partners. Never assume that a marital dispute will resolve itself. Take care of it. Autocorrect is not an option, and stalling is not recommended.

As stated by LCSW Maggie Martinez:

Couples that are able to resolve a disagreement amicably jointly tend to become closer and have more mutual trust.

You can avoid potential future disagreements and the extent of harm if you are a recent marriage and have not yet experienced the post-honeymoon letdown.

Alternatively, if you and your spouse have been finding it difficult to bring some joy and harmony into a troubled marriage, this is the ideal time to mend the damaged union and start over on your exciting voyage of a married life.

1. Unmet expectations – unreasonable expectations

Unmet and perhaps irrational expectations can lead to serious problems in a marriage.

One spouse believes the other can read minds and has similar expectations. When things and situations don’t turn out the way we had hoped, frustration might seep in.

Couples become angry with their spouses over a variety of issues, such as disagreeing over a lifestyle choice, staying home instead of going on vacation, sticking to a budget versus going all out, complaining about not being appreciated, family expectations, splitting domestic tasks, or even the spouse’s inability to support the other person’s work choices.

Finding a compromise, or a shared understanding, is not something that a couple naturally develops. Particularly in a marriage, it requires effort and practice to make sure you don’t destroy your relationship with your partner. However, you would want to go ahead and do it to avoid severe heartburn and a crippling, long-lasting resentment in your marriage.

2. Conflicting standpoints on the subject of children

A family is blessed with the addition of children. However, since they are seen as an extension of you, the same kids may serve as a flashpoint for more significant marital discord. While one partner could feel compelled to grow the family immediately, the other might choose to put it off until they feel more secure financially.

There may be differing opinions about educating, saving for future education, and defining the boundary between what is an essential, non-negotiable childbearing expense and what is unnecessary. Parenting is not without its difficulties.

Even though both parents want the best for their child, consideration must be given to other household obligations, the child’s best interests, emergency savings, and the possibility of increasing the family’s income.

Additionally, it helps to view your spouse’s intentions to give your child the best care possible with a little kindness. In the midst of a heated dispute, easier said than done, you say? But it’s definitely worth a try if you want a happy marriage and a comfortable environment for your child.

3. Inability to manage marriage finances

Even the most secure relationships can have their foundation shaken by unsolved financial issues.

Money problems can cause a marriage to fail and ultimately result in divorce! A survey has confirmed that marital finances account for 22% of divorces, ranking closely behind adultery and incompatibility as the main causes.

Some key factors that might cause stress in a marriage include not being completely honest with your partner about your financial condition, overindulging on the wedding day, unpaid alimony, or unpaid child support from a prior marriage.

Conflict in marriage can also result from a shift in financial priorities and preferences, a temperamental difference between the partners—one being a big spender and the other frugal—and a simmering sense of resentment on the part of the working spouse towards the non-working, non-contributive, financially dependent spouse.

Having a budgeting diary on hand is the best course of action if you and your partner have different financial objectives or significant differences in your spending patterns. As a general guideline, avoid keeping secrets! These two behaviors can help you overcome dispute in your marriage and produce long-term advantages, just like all excellent habits that are hard to create but easy to sustain.

4. Allocation of time to marriage and personal pursuits

The lavish wedding day and honeymoon are followed by the sobering realities of married life.

You have the same number of hours in a day as you did when you were single or unmarried, but how do you divide it up between your spouse, your job, your interests, friends, and family? In addition, since your friends and family have given you unwelcome but helpful advice—marriage needs work—you now have the difficult responsibility of fostering your marriage with your partner to the fullest extent feasible.

Did you mention it was somewhat exhausting?

Key Responsibility Areas, or KRAs, accompany marriage. But keep in mind that it’s not a tedious task.

Assume responsibility for your fair part of the housework, follow your personal interests, and nudge your partner in the same direction by explaining the advantages of engaging in healthy activities. Spending quality time with your partner, regardless of duration, is the most devoted way to build a relationship with your spouse.

According to Maggie Martinez, LCSW:

Maintaining your pre-marriage hobbies is one of the finest methods to make sure your marriage works out. This avoids relationship entanglement and demonstrates autonomy and independence.

You don’t have to stare at each other like a mushball or crane your neck to spend the entire day staring at your phone. Put away your phone and other distracting devices. Pay close attention to what your spouse has to say, offer thought-provoking anecdotes, and communicate with them on an occasional basis at a reasonable time during the day.

5. Incompatibility in sexual terms

Sexual impulses that aren’t aligned, such as having a higher desire to have sex more often than your spouse, can cause tension in your relationship.

Stress from the workplace, family obligations, low self-esteem, intimacy fears, and a lack of open sexual communication are just a few of the major, urgent problems that cause marital discord. Breaking the surface reveals that bonding and enjoying sexual connection with your partner depend greatly on developing an emotional intimacy with your spouse and embracing other forms of intimacy.

One cannot overstate how important it is to plan sex and go on weekly date evenings. It is really beneficial to have an open discussion with your partner. The ideal preamble to developing sexual compatibility with your spouse is cuddling up with them, talking about your fantasies and wishes, and expressing your earnest attempts to satisfy their needs.

6. Communication breakdown

Do you often find yourself expressing things that you wish you had done better at the time? If you prefer to let things go rather than engage in conflict, you will discover that this boiling, seething passive aggression becomes your archenemy. It will blow up in your face in one horrible fight with your partner.

In either case, you position yourself for a failed relationship.

Conflict in marriage can be caused by a variety of behaviors, including choosing an inappropriate time and location for the talk, acting insensitively, feeling threatened by your spouse’s opinions, and being silent.

In a marriage when there are so many barriers to open and honest communication, how can you settle a disagreement? Take a problem-solving mentality while approaching communication in a marriage. Don’t use defensive tactics to try to make your argument. Acknowledge and recognize your role in the disagreement. Only when you have given your spouse your whole attention can you ask for explanation. Setting expectations in advance is a fantastic strategy to prevent miscommunications.

Avoid using resistance or ceasing to communicate. Take a moment, at most, to gather your thoughts and analyze the sequence of events. Connecting with your partner through nonverbal clues is a great method to strengthen your relationship. Your readiness to engage in an open-ended, relationship-building conversation is demonstrated by an affirmative nod and a comfortable stance.

Lastly, it’s critical to discuss the things that are just non-negotiable. Decide what your must-haves for a happy marriage are.

7. Unbalanced powerplay and mismatched dynamics in personalities

Both spouses are equal partners in a marriage. However, this idea is frequently dismissed as a utopian one. Relationship dynamics between two people are frequently drastically out of sync. In these situations, one partner may be the dominant one, and the other, the submissive one, will almost always conspire to take care of their spouse. This eventually causes resentment to grow and an unhealthy, unfair powerplay, which ultimately causes a marriage to fail.

Marital counseling is absolutely necessary when there is such an unbalanced spousal equation. For both parties involved, a marriage counselor can assist in putting things into perspective. A marital therapist has the ability to educate the submissive spouse on the value of self-respect and assertiveness.

They will also highlight the harm that an abusive or manipulative relationship does to their stressed partner, whether it is known or not. Following realization, the counselor might move on to corrective actions aimed at resolving marital dispute and restoring the partnership.

Different kinds of disputes in marriage

Reasons contributing to marital conflict include issues resulting from the “living apart but together” situation in marriages, incompatibility, perceived insurmountable differences, and love loss between the couples who grew apart over time.

Nonetheless, the path to marital dispute resolution is less difficult if the couple believes strongly that they want to remain together and puts forth an equal amount of effort.

Your marriage doesn’t have to be a source of conflict.

Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, are one such shining example. They first became acquainted while attending St. Andrews University in Scotland as undergraduates, and in 2004 they made their relationship public. The pair took a holiday in March 2007 before their final exams at St. Andrews. Their romance took a brief hit and they chose to break up due to pressure from the media and the need to achieve well in their academics. Four months later, they reconciled, and by April 2011, the royal couple had exchanged vows. For couples just starting out in marriage, their love is a beautiful thing to copy. Their marital discord did not stem from the discord in their relationship.

Persist in striving to maintain a pleasant marriage.

While achieving 100% conflict resolution may seem like a tall goal, Dr. Gottman’s study indicates that 69% of disputes in marriages may be handled satisfactorily. By treating your partner equally, you can help them embrace each other’s differences, defuse conflict, save your relationship, and help them come to terms with disagreeing.

Don’t give up on your marriage because it’s too much work when things are tough. The whole point of your marriage was to create a joyful environment for you and your partner. A happy marriage is when you fall but get back up together, hand in hand. Furthermore, you don’t just walk into a happy marriage; you have to work at it.

Marriage is just the start of a journey; maintaining harmony and hard work together is what makes it successful!

Read marriage quotes with your partner beside you to create a happy marriage when things are not going well in your union and you need motivation to pull through.