The 10 Reasons Couples Argue

The 10 Reasons Couples Argue January 3, 2015

couple in bed frustrated


If you’ve been married longer than an hour, chances are that you and your husband or wife have had at least one disagreement. Sometimes, those disagreements can evolve into emotionally-charged arguments and potentially create deep scars in the marriage.

Working through disagreements in a productive way is vital to the longterm health of your marriage.

Below are the tens reasons couples argue the most. I hope these principles compiled from feedback from thousands of couples on our “Marriage” community on Facebook will help you approach disagreements in your own marriage with new perspective.

Before I reveal the list, I want to share the one singe principle which could revolutionize your approach to arguments in your marriage…You and your spouse are on the same team, so your arguments will never have a “winner” and a “loser.” You’ll either win together or lose together so work together to find a solution!

For more on how to “win” an argument with your spouse, check out my free, 3-minute video (by clicking here).

In no particular order, here are the 10 main reasons why couples argue (and what to do to make it better):

1. Miscommunication (or a lack of communication).

Many arguments in marriage are simply a case of miscommunication. Make consistent, transparent communication in your marriage a priority. Communicating does for a marriage what breathing does for your lungs!

2. Unmet expectations.

When we have an expectation for how things are supposed to happen, and then they don’t happen that way, it creates frustration and that frustration often leads to an argument. We tend to “blame” (either out loud or subconsciously) our spouse for the unfulfilled expectation. Instead of blaming each other, focus on serving each other.

3. Sexual frustration.

Many marriages are in a constant state of conflict because one of the spouses (usually, but not always, the husband) feels the sexual need is being unmet. If things are going well in the bedroom, there will usually be fewer arguments in all the other rooms of the house! For more ways to build sexual intimacy and satisfaction in your marriage, check out our brand new video series, “Best Sex Life Now” by clicking here.

4. Money.

Financial stress is one of the main causes of divorce (though, ironically, divorce usually causes much more financial stress for both spouses). Money stress can kill your marriage if you don’t get on the same page with a plan. For more on this, check out my post on 4 simple ways to remove financial stress from your marriage.

5. In Laws.

This one really relates to anyone who is imposing their opinions or demands on your marriage (friends, exes, etc.). Often, these stresses come from in-laws. To improve these relationships and establish healthy boundaries, check out my post on How to have a healthy relationship with your in laws.

6. Lack of appreciation.

This one is HUGE. Feeling unappreciated causes hurt feelings, resentment and ongoing conflict. Find ways to encourage, celebrate, appreciate and validate one another. Thoughtfulness is one of the most practical ways to show love.

7. Different parenting styles.

Raising kids is the hardest (and most important) duty a married couple can share. It can be very rewarding, but it can be incredibly stressful and it’s vital that the couple establishes a parenting plan and carries it out with mutual respect and consistency. For more on this, download a FREE chapter on marriage and parenting from my new book “The 7 Laws of Love” by clicking here.

8. Past hurts.

Some arguments are the result of wounds from the past that never fully healed (or perhaps they were never fully forgiven). If this is a struggle in your marriage (or life in general), check out this wonderful encouragement from my wife, Ashley, on Things to remember when life hurts.

9. Exhaustion.

When you’re in the trenches of life, parenthood, work, etc., you’re probably exhausted. When we’re exhausted or doing life at an unsustainable pace, we tend to have a short fuse. If you’re in an exhausting season of life, take a minute to read this “Encouragement for the Exhausted.”

10. What to watch on TV.

If you can compromise on who gets to hold the remote and what to watch on Netflix, you can figure out almost anything. 🙂

*As an addition, “Blended Families” have some additional dynamics which can create tension and conflict. For more on this, check out my post on The 7 keys to a successful Blended Family.

For daily encouragement, please connect with me on Facebook by clicking here and you can also connect with me on twitter.

For more ways to build a rock-solid marriage, check out our new Marriage App on iTunes and my new book “The 7 Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships”

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  • Jimbony

    I would add jealousy to the list.

  • Crystal Keith

    Yea what happens if your spouce refuses to work on what he knows he has to work on? What if your spouce tells you they will work on it multiple times and leads you to a promising thing and then doesn’t follow through? Thus causing resentment. What if you suggested marriage counciling with your spouce and they refuse it? Because they think they can fix the issues. If they could then why are they not fixed? Looks like they should consider the marriage counciling because it is going no where.

  • Debbie Demulling

    I’ve decided to finally unsubscribe from all of this. You talk about what a priority sex is…how most fights stem from sexual frustration. Of course it is important, but other forms of intimacy must be found. Is a military marriage where there CAN’T be sex for seven months to a year, unhealthy? Occasionally, my husband and I work on alternate ways to be close because we know that at some point, we will be forced to be separated and we want to know what works and how to be close when we’re thousands of miles apart.

  • Debbie Demulling

    We are celibate during times apart. What other option is there. I’d rather be with my husband sometimes than with someone else who is home every night. Its difficult, but we do it. We are committed to our marriage.

  • Debbie Demulling

    Sex isn’t the most important part of our marriage. It is a priority, but not #1. We married two years ago at 37 and 38. We don’t argue due to sexual frustration. How many shoes I buy, yes. Do I miss sex when he’s gone? Of course. But him coming home safely is more on my mind than sex. I admire him for his choice to serve and wishing he didn’t so we can have more sex is just insane.

  • Crystal Keith

    The issue is that he is not on my side when his mother crosses my boundaries. If she don’t feel something is right or the way she would do it with her kid she says something to him, then if she don’t feel it is right he suddenly will find it not. I have ask him to tell her not to tell us what to do and what not to do with our kid. He says he knows he has to stop it and will but has not and now says because he is afraid to. Seems like his mother has him so wrapped around her opinions. She constantly offers to help him with anything like she is the other wife because I am not working but he is and has a great job that makes good money for us to live finacialy. He smokes pot in a daily basis all day long and blames his mother having to help on hiss addiction but I know what he has left after buying it and I still don’t see why her help is needed. She gets a jealous reaction to my son being really close to me but I am his mother we are supose to be close and she pulls him away from sitting by me and loving on me when she is around by telling him you want to come sit by grandma and then he dose. If I want my son to see a certain movie she says oh no he can’t see that he is to young, it was a pg movie. Just sick of having to live by her rules. Like I am not here or what I want to do with our son I can’t. I lobe her and I think she is a great mother in law and mother but this makes me and my husband argue because he does what ever she says and never on same page as me. Husband and wife should be on same page with everything.

  • Steven Day

    My sister is a military wife and has been for a decade. Being apart is the hardest thing they go through, but their relationship is FAR from being sex-free while they are apart. She regularly sends him explicit photos of herself, and do phone-sex as often as possible, and they have sex toys to assist in taking the edge off while they are apart. And this is all centered around making love to one another. God has blessed us with so many ways to fulfill each other sexually, even when we are apart to keep intimacy alive and the fires burning. With the miracle of modern day technology and access to adult toy stores, there is simply no excuse for having a sexless marriage even when separated. Thank God! 🙂

  • Debbie Demulling

    We all have ways of staying close. My husband and I avoid porn, even homemade. We also spend time snuggled in bed in front of the TV some nights to forge a closer relationship. We won’t have sexy conversations or exchange racy photos while he is away. Whether digital or Polaroid, they can end up in the wrong hands. I also don’t want my husband preoccupied with these thoughts when he’s with the Marines he’s medically in charge of. We will be fine because when he’s home, he’s all mine. I understand his commitment at work. I know I’m in his heart.

  • Debbie Demulling

    Celibate, yes. What’s the alternative? Cheating so I can have some sex when he’s gone? I love our sex life and it will still be there when he returns.

  • Steven Day

    Just FYI, I didn’t mean to sound like I was referring to using any porn. Not at all. Well, other than of themselves. ☺

  • Debbie Demulling

    I know. There’s very little privacy, so we don’t use those things. My husband knows what I look like. If you can’t live without sex for seven months while your spouse is serving, there’s something drastically wrong with the marriage.

  • Beth Nagy

    Debbie I’m compelled to address your comments because sincerely I get a vibe of bitterness coming from them. My husband is on his way back to Afghanistan as we speak, where he spent the majority of the last 3 years. While he’s gone sex isn’t really an issue for me it just seems unimportant of her not here so I get caught up with everything else in my life kids, full-time school ,Murphy’s lawlaw. However my husband gets very sexualfrustrated. My husband and I do get digitally intimate there are ways to secure that stuff but to my point. Are the we avoid comments actually mutual I ask because threat doesn’t sound very much like any of the Marines or Army service people I’ve encountered. It’s my heartfelt suggestion that you ask yourself out of the 10 things on this post why you honed on in Sexual frustration? If there’s an issue you there it’s very important to address it openly and honestly. Does your husband really feel the same way about it as you do? You may be innocently denying him one of his most important needs and putting a wedge between you, that you’re not aware of. k Science and God provide evidence that men and women think differently about many things. Sex is in the top five. I wish you luck! And will say a prayer for the two of you? 🙂