It may be about who calls the babysitter, who picks up the groceries after work or that family lunch you’ve arranged for the weekend. Whatever the subject, it feels like you’re fighting again about that same old issue that’s never resolved.
If this sounds familiar, take heart. Recurring arguments account for 69 per cent of marital conflicts, and the most common are about the mundane details of daily life.
“An argument over who turn it is to take the trash out is rarely actually about that,” says couple’s therapist Andrew G Marshall, author of Resolve Your Differences. “So if you want to stamp out these arguments once and for all, you need to identify the subtext to the tension between you – and then find a way to defuse it.”
Partnership is the constant negotiation couples have over the division of resources, such as money, time, sex or energy, says psychotherapist Professor Janet Reibstein. “The flashpoints occur over who makes the decision about how these resources are divided and whether each person believes that division is fair,” she says.