The Top 10 Fights Couples Had in 2018
Every couple fights. We know it's true, and yet sometimes Instagram, with its perfect filters and smiling faces, makes us feel like we're the only ones. But not only do you fight like everyone else, your fights are probably similar in theme to all those couples you follow on social media.
So what are couples fighting about? Lasting, a marriage counseling app, asked 50,000 couples about their top 10 fights of 2018, and the list is fascinating—and familiar. Read through them and see if any resonate with you—and find out what you can do to avoid them in the future.
1. What "clean" really means.
If fighting about cleanliness in the home or other shared spaces has been a hurdle for your relationship, you're not alone. The majority of the surveyed couples named this as their most common argument. The definition of clean varies from personality to personality, but setting consistent expectations from the start will go a long way in avoiding this perpetual fight.
2. How cleaning duties get distributed.
If your definition of clean differs from your partner's, it's likely one of you feels that you carry more weight when it comes to the chores. These disappointments can lead to resentment, but there's hope. With help from tools like Lasting, which offers series on Communication, Conflict, and Expectations, you and your partner can find healthy ways to voice your values and address your differences. And a fun fact to note: Studies show that couples who clean together actually have more sex. So divide those chores quickly and get to cleaning!
3. How often to have sex.
Chances are, two busy people in a committed relationship will at some point be out of sync as to how they prioritize sex. And that's okay—the key is communication. Sixty-one percent of couples with kids said they don't engage in clear communication about their sex life, according to Lasting data. But you can change that. Talk openly with your partner about this area of your relationship. Ask him or her what they need and then express your desires as well.
4. How to spend money.
The struggle is real. Take some time to think about why you each value the things you spend money on. Most times, it's less about what you're spending on, but rather the emotional value you've placed on a certain thing or experience. When these values differ, expectations don't align. Finding common ground when it comes to money takes work, but it's not impossible. In order to create an environment of high trust going forward, make spending decisions for "we" instead of "me," showing your partner that you're willing to make financial calls that benefit the team.
5. Time spent on the phone.
According to Lasting, a staggering 77 percent of men and 79 percent of women agree that their smart devices distract them from connecting with each other. That's a huge number of distracted, lonely people. Kick this fight to the curb by scheduling times to set aside your devices and spend quality time with your partner, phone-free.
6. Being on time.
This one hits close to home. There's a good chance at least one of you is a stickler for being on time, and by on time, you mean 30 minutes early. It's a recipe for tension, but it doesn't have to be a fight. When you feel the time argument brewing, take a moment to understand that your partner's unique makeup and life experiences have wired them differently from you. Talk about why you value time the way you do, and ask your partner the same question. Productive conversations happen when you show your partner that their point of view is just as valid is yours.
7. How much alone time to have.
Married to an introvert? This one may sound especially familiar. Twenty-three percent of couples with kids feel that their partner isn't good at responding to emotional signals, Lasting found. Talking about your needs in an open way can make a huge difference when you set expectations for how you'll each spend your time, individually and together. Explain to your partner why you have a need for greater alone and/or social time. Then listen when they tell you their needs. Responding without judgment when your partner sends up a signal will make space for compromise in the future.
8. How to have fun.
This is an interesting fight for sure. Arguing about how to have fun comes with the territory when you marry someone with a different personality, but it's not an insurmountable obstacle. Talk about why you each love the things you do. Validate your partner's values in this area. And then look back. What attracted you to your partner in the first place? What did you do on some of your earliest dates? Remembering first love and compromise will go a long way to finding common ground.
9. How to spend the weekend.
Scheduling plans is a big deal. Be open about your goals and to-do lists on the days you don't have to go to work. Set realistic expectations and then state them clearly. Ask your partner about their hopes for the weekend and discuss this in advance, as this will give you each time to come to a compromise and a unified plan.
10. How to raise kids.
This is a big one, and likely made up of a ton of mini-arguments as well. Religion, in-laws, family values, education—all of these are huge deals when it comes to your kids. Creating a space of high trust, a place where you can recognize your partner's emotional calls and concerns, will hopefully allow you to address these issues in a healthy way going forward.
Maybe you identified with some or all of these in your own relationship. The good news is: you're totally normal. But as you look ahead into the new year, remember that you don't have to bring these fights with you. The strength of your partnership rests on intentional actions, so find resources that'll meet you right where you are and take Lasting’s relationship health quiz to get started today.