How to resolve marital arguments when both people won't budge

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by JustADude, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    My wife and I have zero'd in on a problem in our relationship. There are certain topics that we both feel very strongly about and unfortunately we have conflicting feelings about those topics. What keeps happening is that one of those topics will come up and we end up having a huge fight because neither one of us is willing to capitulate to the other on those topics.

    In the end... when the fights get bad enough, I usually capitulate and resent my wife for it. I let her know that I am NOT OK with capitulating and that I feel resentful. She doesn't like that I feel resentful and says things that make me feel bad that I am holding onto resentment.

    Personally, I think that at a minimum we should each take turns capitulating, then, I wouldn't be resentful. I told her this and she said, "I capitulate all of the time, you just don't notice it." And... I responded... "So do I. I am only referring to the handful of situations in which we feel so strongly that we wind up in a big fight about decision."

    I am curious how other married folk handle these situations.

    A couple of other relevant pieces of info:
    • A little background... in the past I used to secretly hold onto my resentment, these days, I am very open about it, which I think is healthier
    • Both my wife and I clearly recognize these situations as one of the biggest causes of angst in our relationship, but we both don't know how to deal with it
  2. Have you tried nonviolent communication? Using "I-statements"? Instead of accusing each other you say something like "I feel hurt when you say this to me because it makes me feel that you don't value our relationship." Stuff like that. It really takes the anger out of the conversation when you start talking about emotions and needs, your need to feel valued by the other, your need to feel like you are making a contribution to the relationship. And because you aren't so angry, you don't feel so invested in holding your position come hell or high water, and so compromises are much easier to make.
  3. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    We try to do that. And, for most topics, we are doing a better job keeping small disagreements from escalating. But... the issue isn't really about us saying mean things to each other, rather, it is our inability to capitulate to the other person's desires because we feel strongly in achieving a certain outcome.

    I guess, another way to ask the question is... I imagine most married couples run into situations a few times a year in which an acceptable compromise is not possible AND neither person is even remotely OK with not getting their desired outcome, and thus, one person ends up getting the outcome they desire and the other person gets screwed over. How do other married people deal with this? Is one person in the relationship required to be the better person and always give in? Do you find ways to right the imbalance in the outcome? Does the person who got their desired outcome verbally agree to capitulate the next time?
  4. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    I guess, I think, that in some situations, "holding your position come hell or high water" is important. Maybe I should not feel that way.

    For example, in our recent argument, I feel that visiting extended family on a regular basis is very important and my wife doesn't value it as much as I do. Thus... we miss out on a lot extended family events even though we could have made them work logistically. At some point, I feel like I have to say... "enough is enough, we are not missing another one of these events when we know we can make it work logistically". My wife has her own reasons for not wanting to go. Although I don't agree with her reasons, I can sympathize with her right to have a different and equally strong opinion. So... if neither of us will budge, what do we do? How do we avoid the feelings of resentment?
  5. When I was married I tended to approach such situations by believing that our relationship and my love for her was more important than some positions I was taking. So usually I ended capitulating because I loved her. Then again I am able to let go of things I want easily, so I never felt and resentment. That's just my natural disposition. So it might not work for you. So I don't know whether to recommend finding someway to make your needs and desires less important, or sacrificing something you really want to do for love. Don't do the latter if you're going to resent her for it. That's what is called passive-aggressive fighting. You are trying to hurt her with your resentment, trying to make her miserable even though she got her way. Maybe the next time you have an argument where you both are intractable you could bring up your resentment. You could say "I love you, and I don't want to resent you getting your way. Is there some way we can find a middle ground?" And if she really is interested in making things work, you'll find some way to work it out. Or if you can't work it out, then try to find a way to let go of what you want without resentment. Doing that will show your wife how much you really love her, you love her so much that you aren't even going to snipe at her after she gets her way. That might make her think about your needs and be more willing to do something to satisfy those needs that you are always sacrificing.

    I don't know, sorry, I'm rambling. Obviously since I'm separated I'm not some kind of relationship guru that knows exactly what you should do in this sort of situation.
  6. The Eleven

    The Eleven Fapstronaut

    There has to be a compromise here. There just has to be. How often do you want to visit extended family? How often does your wife want to do so? How often do you actually do so? Would other parts of your life be shortchanged if you visited as often as you want? And perhaps most importantly: Why does your wife not want to visit as often as you do? This is critical.
  7. 8BitsOfStuggling

    8BitsOfStuggling Fapstronaut

    Sometimes you do things for the people you love because you love them. That includes swallowing your pride. It goes both ways, I don't say this saying you should immediately compromise. I can't help much in these because you don't give enough information as to why she doesn't want to go. Try to look at it from her point of view.
  8. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    I was intentionally vague, because I wanted to avoid talking about a specific situation. Rather, I'm interested in how other married folk handle situations in which both parties are "intractable" (thanks for the perfect word @Buddha Punk Robot Monk). I'd love to swallow my pride and not be resentful, but, when it happens too often, I get resentful. I fully admit it could be a problem on my end, I don't think it is, I think my wife and I are both hard headed and care too much about specific situations.

    Yeah... there is a lot of compromise on both sides about a lot of things in our relationship. But... are there not sometimes when compromise (or at least enough to make both parties satisfied) is not possible? If so, how do you deal with those situations? Really... I'm just looking for ideas, as these types of situations seem to come up 4 or 5 times a year. Since we have lots of children, there are lots of opportunities for us to disagree on situations. Back when we had no kids, things were simpler (but not happier :)).
    Acky31 likes this.
  9. The Eleven

    The Eleven Fapstronaut

    Compromise is always possible if both sides are being reasonable and sensitive to each other's needs. For instance, it would be unreasonable for your wife to refuse to visit your extended family ever. It would also be unreasonable for you to insist on visiting your extended family every weekend. There must be some number between zero and all the time that will work. Finding that number will require the two of you to examine the reasons why you want to spend SO much time with your extended family, and the reasons why your wife is reluctant to visit them.

    I know nothing about the situation, of course, but is it possible that you are allowing members of your extended family to manipulate you into spending more time with them than you really need to in order to maintain the relationship as you want? Is it possible that someone in your extended family has done something to upset your wife, so she doesn't want to spend time with them? You need to figure out why there is such a disconnect.

    If you are both reasonable and sensitive to each other's needs, there should be some middle ground that works for everyone. It's undoubtedly less than you want and probably more than she wants.

    In the end, though, you are married to your wife. She is the mother of your children. That, and not your extended family, needs to be the primary relationship in your life, and sometimes that will require you to do things you don't want to do (or to not do things you want to do). You can view this is as a zero sum game -- she wins, you lose -- but I don't think that's going to be very helpful to you in the long run.
    Trappist likes this.
  10. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    Read the seven levels of intimacy it talks about how to get through different point of view when a couple disagrees. It's very helpful
    Jennica likes this.
  11. Jennica

    Jennica Fapstronaut

    One book I highly recommend is from The Gottman institute, “ the 7 principals to make marriage last”. You would be amazed at how this book helped us and quite frankly helped to save our marriage at a critical time. We learned how to fight, disagree and recognize our own toxic behaviors towards each other. I highly recommend this book for tools and information it has.

    Everything from the four horseman, bids, love maps.
    Understanding flooding in ourselves and each other.
    Turning towards each other when you don’t see eye to eye.
    It also helps give the tools to overcome or at least handle the example situation you have posted about.
    It takes practice and I would urge you and wife to work this little book together. My husband and would set aside 1hr to do at least one chapter every Sunday night together.
    Trappist likes this.
  12. samnf1990

    samnf1990 Fapstronaut

    When both people will not budge, there is no resolving the argument. You can avoid the argument or you can avoid each other. I would imagine that the first is preferable.

    No two people are going to agree on absolutely every issue, all of the time. However, it feels nice when the person closest to you agrees with your perspective on things, whatever they are.

    If the issues that you disagree on can be avoided, then maybe they should. My wife and I disagree on who makes the best music. Who cares. We disagree on which local pizza place makes the best pizza. Who cares? Is it really important that I always listen to my favourite band or eat my favourite pizza? We can take turns on that and not hate each other about it. I don't feel compelled to convince her that my favourite music or pizza should also be her favourite.

    There are issues that I cannot imagine disagreeing on with my spouse. Fundamental things around values and beliefs. But the more fine detail you get into in these areas, too, we are bound to find differences in opinion. What is more important to you in these situations, making your wife into a female copy of all of your beliefs and values, or learning to understand each other's perspectives and reasons for having those particular perspectives? At the end of each argument, I often find that the thing I am most upset about is that my wife and I are not as similar or as close as perhaps I would like, but there are views and beliefs of mine that have been challenged and changed as a result of debating things with my wife. And the same goes the other way around. When the debate is just about being right, though, and proving the other wrong, without any respect for their expressed perspective, what is the point in the argument? I am happy with the distance between my beliefs and values and those of my wife, and we fit together well enough. Try to establish if you can be happy with the gap between you and your wife. Chances are, since you are married, it is something you can deal with, and something best not obsessed over and resented. (Just let go!). Avoid discussing topics that you know will descend into arguments.
  13. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    Compromise. What if you visit family and she stays home?
    samnf1990 likes this.
  14. Numb

    Numb Fapstronaut

    This post was started a few years ago. I wonder if the OP is still around. Though there is some good info for others that may have a similar problem.
    Jennica likes this.
  15. It was a spambot post which has since been deleted but I guess this thread still stayed where it was?
    Jennica likes this.

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