Marital arguments are often about control over such topics as finances, parenting choices, career opportunities and relationships with extended family. If you are a man whose marriage feels like a constant battle over who does what, it's possible that your wife has control issues. Helping to calm her anxiety while focusing on what you can control is your best bet for marital peace.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Find ways to communicate to your wife that you are on the same side, such as by giving physical comfort, providing emotional support, offering praise and taking on additional responsibilities. The personality type that seeks to control others is often secretly lonely and in need of validation, despite the outward appearance of success. Your wife's anxiety may come from her doubts that she is really good enough. By building support into the relationship, you can help your wife to trust that she can be her real self with you.
Set boundaries by which you are both willing to live. If you need downtime with friends once a week, be prepared to negotiate for that position. If your wife wants to set goals for retirement savings, make a budget and let her know what you are (and aren't) willing to give up. The better you become as a couple about maintaining healthy boundaries, the closer you will feel together.
Find outlets for the tension. The reality is that your wife is a perfectionist and there will always be some friction in your marriage. By seeking outlets -- in friendships with other couples and in activities and hobbies you can do together -- some of that tension can be channelled into avenues for productive, creative engagement.
Communicate your needs in a clear, consistent and specific manner. If your wife is led by her insecurities to try and control her environment (including you), then trying to avoid the problem or placate her demands will only make the problem worse. Instead, you need to match her energy without letting the situation escalate into conflict. By communicating clearly what you need and want from her, you will help your wife to feel that she has an equal partner in the relationship.
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