We've all heard the phrase "pick your battles." And that certainly should be applied to marriage. After all, who really ever wants to go toe-to-toe over whose turn it is to take out the trash? But there are a few things we should always bring up to our spouses, even if we fear they could lead to a petty fight.
"We can always be tempted to stuff our feelings because most of us prefer peace and harmony over confrontation," says licensed marriage therapist Alisa Ruby Bash. "However, if we learn how to communicate effectively with our partners, and choose the right time to discuss issues, we can quickly deescalate conflict when it does rear its head."
Here are four issues you might be tempted to stuff down, and why you really shouldn't.
The issue: You're feeling disrespected.
Why you shouldn't let it fester: "If you do not set the ground rules for what type of treatment you will tolerate from the beginning, it will always get worse," explains Bash. "If you feel that your spouse communicates with you in any way that makes you feel hurt or angry, you must speak up."
The issue: You're dissatisfied with your sex life, whether it's lacking in quality on quantity.
Why you shouldn't let it fester: "If you are not content with your sexual relationship, you must communicate with your partner in a compassionate and kind way about what it is that you do want, rather than scolding them or lecturing them," says Bash. You can get out of a sex rut, and you — and your husband! — will be happier for it.
The issue: You're on a different financial page than your husband.
Why you shouldn't let it fester: "Resentment can quickly build in the financial arena," says Bash. "This includes issues of saving, spending, investing, as well as paying bills and who will handle the finances." Keeping quiet could mean big consequences when it comes to buying a house or saving for your kids college funds.
The issue: You're carrying more than your weight in the cleaning department.
Why you shouldn't let it fester:"There are few married women that have not gritted their teeth at some point while picking up their husband's dirty socks or underwear off the floor," Bash says. "Of course, the situation can be reversed in plenty of cases. When we put the toilet seat down, or pick a huge wad of hair out of the shower drain one too many times without saying something to our partner, it is guaranteed that we will snap over this one day. Talk about it when you are calm, and remind partners gently before it's too late."