While it’s normal to agree with your spouse or partner on many things, it’s also normal to argue with them. If you’ve been with someone for a long time, you’ve probably argued about many things. Whether those things were actually worth fighting about is a different story. According to experts and happily married couples, there are certain topics that simply aren’t worth fighting over. Here’s what they are.
1. The past
Unless it’s something major, or something that’s part of a pattern, it’s best to let past events stay in the past. If it’s something minor, though—your spouse forgot to pick up milk last week—it’s much more productive to focus on the future. There are exceptions to this rule, especially if something is causing you ongoing pain. If this is the case, though, it’s best to approach it as a conversation. What outcome are you hoping for, and how can you both work toward it?
2. Their intentions
It’s impossible to know what someone else is truly thinking. If you’re hurt by something your partner says, try not to assume it was said with the intent to hurt you. In this case, it’s best to explain why you were hurt, rather than accusing your partner of malicious intent.
3. Life outside of your relationship
It’s normal for two people in a relationship to have different hobbies, interests, and groups of friends. If what your partner does on their own isn’t damaging your relationship, arguing is just unnecessary strain. Again, there are exceptions here if it’s a serious issue, like if your partner is ignoring you in favor of other plans. Otherwise, though, it’s okay to have separate plans.
4. Day-to-day annoyances
Living with someone else means adapting to their habits. When two people have different habits or ways of doing things, though, it can lead to minor annoyances. Over time, those can build up and cause major blowouts. Often, it’s easiest to simply let these annoyances go. If something is really irritating, it’s best to try communicating calmly in a neutral environment instead of criticizing them while they’re folding laundry incorrectly, or whatever it is.
5. Who’s right and who’s wrong
Arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong may feel good in the moment, but it’s rarely productive. Blaming someone else hardly ever returns results. It’s more likely your partner will get defensive or argue. Instead, try using this as an opportunity to practice acceptance, even if you privately disagree.
Again, there are exceptions to all of these rules. If something is causing you emotional pain, or affecting your relationship in other ways, it’s worth communicating about. The important thing to remember that all couples—even happy ones—argue. It’s more important to choose your battles wisely and learn to communicate effectively with your partner. If it’s not a big deal, practice letting go.