Marriage Arguments: Fighting About Little Things Can Mean a Lot

Arguments about small things are a signal that it's time to find the big issues and firmly, but lovingly put an end to them.

When I was working on my degree in clinical psychology, I lived in a small apartment with paper thin walls in Vista, California.

The neighbors who lived on the west side of my apartment were a young couple in their twenties. To say that their relationship had problems is like saying if you fall into Niagara Falls you will get a little wet. Their marriage arguments were hard to drown out with my TV.

When they were mad at each other, there was constant shouting and when they were very mad with each other, there was complete silence.

Being their neighbor rather than their counselor, I found myself hoping they would be very mad at each other so that I could have some peace and quiet in my own apartment.

The interesting thing was that when they were shouting at each other, they were always blaming each other for things that did not seem to be very important.

In the time it takes to drive to the store and buy a whole cart load of groceries, the husband could repeatedly blame his wife for forgetting to buy the milk and always forgetting things, while the wife could spend the entire time blaming her husband for always expecting her to be a mind reader.

Why would a couple spend so much time blaming each other for small things?

It certainly wasn't helping their relationship and it wasn't really fixing their problems. I got the answer one day when I noticed that a woman would sometimes visit their apartment while the wife was working. The husband's routine with this "guest" seemed quite different from that with his wife and from the sound of things, they had quite a good time.

Sometimes fighting about things creates an emotional distance that people actually want.

It is very hard for the average human being to cheat on someone he has a good relationship with. But if the rela