Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 16 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Disagreements between spouses are inevitable, but they don’t have to be mean

Monkey Business Images - Shutterstock

Mathilde De Robien - published on 05/16/20

All marriages experience conflict. These tips will help keep your arguments constructive.

While getting through the coronavirus-caused quarantine, spouses may find themselves arguing more than usual. According to a study in France, the top three topics of conflict are household chores, childcare, and the management of children’s screen time.

If we’re going to argue, we can try to do so constructively, following the advice of Dr. Nicolas Duchesne, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Criticizing an action is very different from insulting a person. The secret to a “healthy” argument lies in the distinction between these two.

Denouncing a specific action or situation, not the person, is a way to identify the problem so a solution can be reached. But an insult or personal criticism targeting your spouse and not just their actions is more hurtful, and makes your spouse less likely to want to reach an agreement.

If we want an argument to be constructive and not too hurtful, we should “limit ourselves to a precise, specific, describable fact,” explains Dr. Nicolas Duchesne. More general criticisms “attack the relationship and the person.”

In other words, we should make comments like, “I’m angry because last night you didn’t put your dirty clothes away,” rather than, “You’re a such a slob; you never put your dirty clothes away!” “Always” and “never” statements should be avoided, as they put your spouse on the defensive. Don’t worry: Pointing out only one incident doesn’t mean your spouse won’t make the connection next time.

“Our mind generalizes,” psychiatrist Duchesne assures us, so the chances are that he or she will think about it again the following day. Another benefit of formulating our complaints in this specific way is that our spouses will be more receptive to the message. Most of us are more likely to listen to an objective description rather than vague allegations without specific facts.

It’s only natural to come into conflict when you’re in close quarters and under so much stress. But the disagreements of marriage don’t have to become a wall between you. If you focus on specific incidents and avoid insults, you can solve the problem as a team, bringing you closer together during this time.


FUN

Read more:
Advice from a marriage counselor for couples in quarantine


WOMAN AT THE WINDOW,

Read more:
Extroverts vs. introverts: How to get through quarantine and self-isolation

Tags:
CoronavirusMarriageRelationships
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.