My husband picks fights with me all the time! The cycle of conflict between you and your husband can be all consuming. It’s hard to understand sometimes why he picks fights with you. Many times it really feels like there is no reason for it. Like he just wants to fight. Or wants to win. But you don’t want the competition. After all, what happened to make love not war?
It often feels like you can’t do something right with all the fights. You try to solve something one way and it may seem like it worked but then another issue popped up. If it’s not something about the finances, then it’s about the kids, and sometimes it’s something so trivial like what tv show you picked to watch. Why does he care anyways?
The reality is that many couples get caught up in this cycle. Fights are started and when you ask yourself what it was really about you stumble to find the answer. It feels like he’s unhappy. Unhappy with himself? Unhappy in the marriage? Something is off and you want it to change but you aren’t sure how.
Maybe your husband picking fights with you looks like this:
You come home from a long day of work and your husband is relaxing on the couch looking through the mail. You drop off all your stuff on the couch and the first comment comes. “Why don’t you ever put your stuff away?” You brush it off and put some things away. You ask about his day. He responds with a few words, not too much.
Then you walk over to see what you can pull out of the fridge for dinner. He then screams across the house asking about a credit card charge. You roll your eyes because this is the same old same old. I can’t even have 5 minutes of peace before some shit comes up you tell yourself. You decide to keep your cool and answer the question.
Carrying on with preparing dinner. You take out everything that you want to prepare and he walks into the kitchen. Wait for it, wait for it, you know it’s coming. “Why are you making salmon? We had that two days ago!” At this point, you don’t have the patience. You snap.
Does this sound familiar? The truth is that many couples struggle with this type of scenario. You keep it together because you don’t want to fight but then it builds and all hell breaks loose. You just don’t have it in you. Deep down you feel the pain of being in this type of cycle with your husband. And you want and NEED it to get better.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to make it better. A really important first step is to truly understand the question of “Why does my husband pick fights with me?”
Husband picking fights REASON ONE: He’s going through his own anxiety and/or depression
As you may have an inkling already but a reason why your husband is picking fights with you is likely because he’s going through something himself. Is he stressed out with work? Is his boss riding him about not getting things done correctly or on time? Maybe there is nothing actually happening at work but he’s just one to be hard on himself. He doesn’t know how to transition from one part of his life to another. And he can take it out on you (maybe not so knowingly).
Is he having trouble sleeping at night due to anxiety? Are you recognizing anxiety symptoms that are hard to deny? The truth is that anxiety is human. People experience functional anxiety all the time. We often grow this place when we are ready to no longer experience the anxiety and want to make a true change. But there does become a problem when anxiety becomes overbearing and seeps out into our relationships.
In marriage counseling in our Simi Valley Therapy Practice we work with couples on understanding what is underlying the tension and conflict. By understanding how underlying anxiety or depression is affecting the relationship we can work on the real stuff. This will allow more space for connection and intimacy and less picking fights!
My husband picks fights with me REASON TWO: He’s not feeling good enough
So often the underlying thing that happens when we get caught up in conflict is not feeling good enough ourselves. He may be struggling with not feeling good enough as a partner or in other areas of his life (or both). When this happens the defense may be to point fingers which can superficially make someone feel better about themselves (not really….).
When someone doesn’t feel good enough about themselves it becomes much harder to see the good in others. It’s hard to come from a place of love and acceptance when you are internally beating yourself up. This is all too common since this is a core belief that many people struggle with.
In couples therapy, we work with couples on building their own confidence and challenging negative core beliefs. We understand that in order to truly connect with your partner it comes from internal happiness and connection as well.
Husband picking fights REASON THREE: Intimacy and sex is lacking
How is the intimacy and sex life in your marriage? It’s a chicken and egg situation. Lots of conflict reduces intimacy and sex and lack of sex also increases conflict. When sexual frustration is high this tends to get misplaced into picking unneeded fights. The reality is that there is likely so much that goes into why a couples sexual connection is minimal. However, when thinking about how to better the marriage this should definitely hit the top of the priorities to work through.
Sexually intimate couples are more likely to be lighter in their relationship. They are more likely to let the smaller things go. And overall tend to have more patience for one another. This leads to a more playful and less serious dynamic between a couple.
Make sure to check out the books Intimacy & Desire: Awaken The Passion In Your Relationship & Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch. You won’t regret it!
In marriage counseling with us we make sure to incorporate sex therapy practices to ensure that we are addressing a vital part of the marriage. When this topic is ignored then there is a huge disservice to growth of the couple.
REASON FOUR: He’s not feeling heard or understood
When we revert to a more conflictual or reactive communication the underlying reason may be that we don’t feel heard. The truth is that it’s hard to feel heard when you approach things with reactivity. It’s hard to dig down and be vulnerable about what you do truly feel. Reactivity can become one’s comfort zone in terms of communication.
Maybe he feels that he has tried to share how he feels but nothing changes. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration. Being able to hear and understand him at the deeper level will help get at the core of the conflict. Ask yourself the question of, “what is this really about?” And you may need to ask the question again to go even deeper. The most important thing is to not stay on the surface.
Our team of therapists and psychologists in Simi Valley, ca work with you at getting at the core of how your partner feels. We then help you communicate the core of what is coming up for you. When we work on truly hearing one another much of the fire goes down and there is much more space for understanding and kindness.
Your husband picking fights with you can become an old story that leaves you feeling helpless and frustrated. Although this can feel overwhelming keep in mind that understanding why your husband picks fights with you will give you a lot of valuable information to make real change in your marriage. He may be going though his own anxiety or depression. He may not be feeling good enough. Sex and intimacy may be limited which can significantly impact happiness in a marriage. He may also not feel heard or understood leading to more reactivity and resentment.
So I leave you with a question, what do you want to commit to trying now that you know some of the possible why’s…?
About the author,
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more
Therapy services offered at Simi Psychological Group
At our mental health practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing.
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