You Are the Marriage Ref for Marriage Disagreements

Have you seen the Jerry Seinfeld produced TV show the Marriage Ref where celebs judge between differing perspectives of a husband and wife and decide who is right?

It’s pretty good entertainment I suppose, though not the best way to resolve marriage conflict.

However, in marriage preparation, “solving” other couple’s arguments and differences can be a fun way to learn about each other’s perspectives in solving marriage problems.

How a person solves problems can come from how they saw their parents solve problems, or often has much to do with whether they have a male brain or female brain.

The Exercise:

You are the marriage ref! What would you say to these couples to help them resolve their problems? And these are real marriage arguments of couples I have worked with.

  • She likes her family to drop in anytime to visit. He thinks it’s rude and inconsiderate for them to do so.
  • He bought a new truck without talking to her about it. She’s upset because they are having trouble paying for their bills.
  • She’s ready to have a baby. He says it’s still too soon.
  • He likes to go to some of the old hang-outs with his buddies but she’s uncomfortable with the environment.
  • Think of other couples you know of at work, in the family, etc. and problems they have had and how you would solve them.


There’s an interesting looking book I came across in putting this exercise together. Though I haven’t read it yet, it looks promising and might be a resource you want to explore.

The book title is The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage.

The basic thesis of the book is that there are 7 hidden issues that lie behind the most common marriage arguments.

For example, underlying marriage arguments about money is the need for security.  Maybe he spends money now for fun, but she’s thinking down the road to retirement.

This is a book that can help a couple dig a little deeper to try to appreciate the values and perspectives of their partner  – which can go a long way to helping them come to workable solutions.

And for the non-readers or chronically busy, there are chapter summaries that bring it all together in a short space.

Contribute to the Learning with Your Reply:

What about describing some real-couple problems and real-world solutions.

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41 comments to You Are the Marriage Ref for Marriage Disagreements

  • Matt Jones & Shelli Johnston

    All of these examples of the couples arguments are reasons to why you discuss EVERYTHING before you get married. Relationships should be transparent – both people should know about all financial matters-how much money is available and what bills do we have and know about spending habits, kids-when to have them or if they even want kids, lifestyle/friends-couples should be able to interact with each other’s friends and understand what makes each other comfortable or not comfortable.

    Once again, communication is the most important aspect and the key to every healthy relationship. If the couple doesn’t have all important aspects of a relationship figured out before they get married then most likely they aren’t going to figure it out.

  • Andrew and Anna

    These examples bring to light just how important communication is in a relationship. Its important to know what the other person is thinking, especially when it comes to important matters like big purchases and deciding to have kids. Its hard to imagine making those decisions without talking first, since it has wide ranging effects.

    The other scenarios show the importance of setting ground rules. Something like the family dropping by on a whim could be annoying, but its something that is easily worked out. Talking through the situation with the family and with each other can clear up that problem. Same goes for something like going to a favorite hang out. If you do it sparingly and decide on a good time to go ahead of time, coming to an agreement both people can be happy with should be achievable.

  • thomas king and rebecca shreeve

    After Becca and I were engaged we both realized some of the future responsibilities of being married. We began to discuss money, children, future professions, dreams, goals, and activities. When we discussd each topic and came to a conclusion of how we were going tackle the situation or run our family we began to impliment them into our relationship. I feel by doing this we will be starting our marriage on the right track to many many happy years together.

  • K and D

    We both agreed we could have responded to these situations without even asking the other person because we knew we would agreed on what to do.

    All of our advice boils down to respect and communication.

    Family dropping by: He thinks its rude and inconsiderate for them to drop by without notice, he didn’t say it was rude for them to drop by period. Everyone has a cell phone these days and a quick call is so easy to make. Is there any real consequence to asking someone to call before they come over? You wouldn’t want them to stop by when you’re not home or stop by when you’re on your way out the door to an appointment would you?

    Bought a new truck without talking to her: His action was just plain disrespectful. You’re a team of two now. He was selfish because he completely cut her out of the equation. Now they need to work together and come up with a way to move forward. If they keep the truck they need to crunch some numbers or they need to make some other sacrifices.

    Having a baby: Where is his timeline coming from? Are they younger than his parents were when they started a family? Does he not feel financially stable yet and he’s worried about having another mouth to feed? Does he want to be more established in his career? Do they currently rent an apartment and he wants to own a house before starting a family? There’s probably an underlying insecurity or instability behind his wanting to wait. They have to get to the root of why he wants to wait.

    Old hangouts: They’re old for a reason. Your life is constantly changing and chances are those old hangouts have changed as well. Your reasons for going to those hangouts probably aren’t the same anymore and the experience isn’t going to be the same either. What are you trying to hang onto, your buddies or the establishment? Are these old hangouts from your single days? If so, how do they fit into your life now? Your buddies should be your buddies no matter where you hang out. If the old places make her uncomfortable there is no shortage of places where you can hang out and connect with your friends.

  • Wick & Ginny

    Like Andrew and Anna say above, communication is key to any successful marriage.

    For the wife who likes her family to drop in:
    We agree with the husband. It is rude and inconsiderate for her family members to show up unannounced. The wife needs to realize she is in a partnership and her family is not priority #1 any longer.

    Husband buys truck:
    There should be no major purchases made without the other spouse knowing (regardless of a couple’s financial situation). We have talked about setting an agreed-upon dollar amount that each individual can spend outside of the other spouse’s knowledge. That amount shouldn’t impact the couple’s ability to pay their bills. (However, I didn’t complain when Wick came home with a Cadillac! 🙂

    It’s common that after a couple gets married, whether or not they talked about and agreed on kids before marriage, disagreements can happen about timing, number of kids, or whether they adhere to their earlier decision about it. If the husband wants to wait a little longer and the wife is adament to start soon to have a family, he may resent the pressure she puts upon him to have children now. He also may not actively participate in child rearing (midnight feedings!) and she will bear the majority of caring for the child. Again, communication is key.

    Old hangouts:
    When you get married you should want to have a life partner that is your #1 priority. Not being willing to give up going to what the wife deems as an “uncomfortable environment” (bars, clubs, etc.) is not respecting and honoring to her. Putting yourself in an environment with old buddies, that might include alcohol or other influences, could potentially harm your marriage.

    Other couples’ problems:
    A close friend of mine came to me one day and said she had friended an old college boyfriend on FaceBook. She said after chatting with him and talking to him on the phone, all those old feelings came back and they wanted to rekindle their relationship. However, she was married to a wonderful man for 26 years. I counseled her and talked to her almost daily convincing her that no amount of romance from 30 years earlier was possibly worth ruining her life, her husband’s life and her kids’ lives. Having seen many marriages crumble due to infidelity, I begged her to not go down that path. She had become bored with her husband and there was no longer a ‘spark,’ she said. I suggested she come up with romantic ideas that she could surprise her husband with to bring the spark back to their lives. She perservered, managed to stay away from the old college flame, brought the spark back to her marriage and today (three years later) they are happier than they have been in years.

  • We both talked about these different situations and these were the best solutions we could come up with.

    Dropping In: We definitely think it’s pretty invasive to just drop in whenever. What she could tell her family is that her husband works hard and appreciates some time alone during his free time. The family could call the house phone or his cell phone to see if it’s okay for them to stop by, and if he doesn’t answer or says “now isn’t a good time,” they shouldn’t be offended. In exchange, they could set up certain times for a pre-planned “family get together.”

    Money: A truck is a very expensive purchase. We think the couple should set a price where if a purchase is made above that price the other one should be asked. (For instance, $200). Also, bills should be a priority. If they don’t agree on how money should be spent or savings, they probably shouldn’t get married because that’s the reason a lot of people divorce and it hurts both people.

    Baby: A baby should be discussed BEFORE MARRIAGE. Some people it’s really important to have a baby, and others it’s not. Both people should be on board with the “baby idea”, otherwise it’s just not going to work since it’s such a big deal. We think if they are already married, maybe the husband could tell the wife when he would be comfortable with having a baby (i.e. how long from then) and how much he wants saved up first. If she can’t agree- well, we don’t know.

    Old Hang-Outs: If the wife feels uncomfortable, the husband should care. Maybe they could compromise. For instance, if she doesn’t like them drinking at strip clubs or bars, maybe he could drink with his buddies at a buddies house or a sports bar. But she should also listen whenever he feels uncomfortable and respect him for it and not go to her old-handouts he doesn’t like. Overall though, a couple should trust each other.

    Other couples problems: She has a friend who has a live-in boyfriend where he goes out to bars and plays poker. It’s not for money, but you can win gift certificates or the tab paid off. Unfortunately, they often don’t have money for bills. When he goes to play in the poker league he gets drunk and spends more on the tab then he means to in order to get more chips. We think she should either talk to him about playing poker in an environment where he can’t spend money , or at least go up to the bartender and say “we only have this much to spend, cut him off after it reaches x amount of dollars.” Maybe try to find a hobby that they both enjoy together that doesn’t cost as much, and set up a savings account in order to make sure bills can be paid.

  • Heather and Alex

    The wife who likes her family to drop in: While it is great for the family to stop by, it is easy in this day and age to call to check to make sure that is is a suitable time to visit. It is important for the couple to have their space without the family always showing up.

    Husband that bought the truck: That was a bad move on the guy’s part. When you are in a relationship, big decisions should be made together.

    Baby: This is a life changing event, so both partners should agree before marriage that they want or don’t want children. If they do want children, then you should try to compromise on a timeline.

    Old Hang-out: It is not necessarily a bad thing to go to an old hang-out once in awhile. If you trust your partner, they should be able to go out on occasion without you. If it is happening every week, then there could be an underlying problem.

  • Connie Noward and Barry Thiessen

    We believe that someone stopping by should be with some notice, a phone call ahead of time is nice, after all if one of us is going to go stop at someones place, we will call first to make sure that they are home, so as not make a wasted trip. Connie’s family has a habit of stopping in without notice. At times they don’t even knock, they just walk in, which has found us in some embarrassing situations.
    We believe that any money matters need to be discussed, especially large purchases.
    Most of these conflicts revolve around respecting your partner and trusting them.

  • Michelle and Jeff

    They both need to understand they have created a new home and they must create new rules for their new home and not depend on how they have done things in the past. The wife should be considerate if the husband wants time to prepare for company. What if he has something special planned? The husband might allow certain days of the week for company and have times where the family is openly invited over to the house.

    They share the finances and must think about their responsibilities before they get what they want. If they are having trouble with bills, then they need to make mature decisions about wants versus needs. Did he need a new truck for work or does he just want a new truck? Is there other reasons for the financial hardship? Does she go to the salon a lot? They need to create a budget and talk to each other before making major purchases that affects both of them. A married couple I know has a rule that if it is over $50 they must discuss the purchase.

    They need to have a discussion about children in general. What is their ideal situation for having children? Is she older and feels pressure to have children? Does he see their debt and financial position as a struggle without children? Do either of them have children from previous relationships. They need to discuss why they feel the way they do. Perhaps each person has different perspectives on when they should have a baby and discussing the reasons will help them come to a plan they can both agree on.

    The husband needs to realize that he is married and not a bachelor. Discuss with each other why he wants to go and why she doesn’t want him to go. Is this a strip club or a bar where he would pick up a lot of girls? I would say those are valid reasons a wife would be concerned. If it is a bar maybe he can take her with him and create new memories there as a married couple. If it is a strip club or something of that nature, the husband needs to understand the wife may be self-conscious of her body compared to other women and how it would affect their marriage if he frequents these establishments. They need to make each other a priority and invest in each other so that there is no doubt how they feel about each other regardless of the environment.

  • Taryn & Andy

    While looking over the provided scenarios and trying to come up with solutions to them, it really helped us take a look at how we would solve problems such as these and others that may arise. We discussed issues about how to handle money once married-we have been practicing this for a few months now, how we should handle a retiredment fund (evening coming up with a plan), how to budget as well. We realized we still had a number of things to discuss before our ceremony. We especially wanted to look closer at how we will handle family issue, where we will settle down to,where we will raise our family (since he is English and I’m American), when we want to start a family, and many other things that could cause ruts, divisions and arguements in our relationship. It really helped to sit down and talk about the likely situations. Now, we have a more formulated game plan for these life situations as well as a better understanding of how each of us feels about these critical points. We must contiue to discuss these points throughout our relationship.

  • Michael and Terry

    We agree that these are definately things that should be talked about prior to making the commitment to marriage. Obviously respect and communication along with having the same expectations with the partner you are chosing to share the rest of your life with should be of major importance in making the decision to share your life with that person. Family, finances, having a family, or raising a family together are all factors of finding the right person to settle down with and should be discussed prior to making the commitment to each other in marriage.

  • Jackie & Mark

    We think a major issue that couples have trouble with is finances. We believe that setting and agreeing to a budget is critical in us not having this become a problem in our marriage. We have also mutually agreed that we need to both make an effort to live within our means in order for our finances and marriage to be able to succeed.

  • Brad and Kim

    Like most others on here, we agree that open communication is by far one of the most important things in a relationship. All of the examples above could be solved by simply talking about the situation before any decisions are made. We do agree with the earlier posts that the decision to have a child should at least be talked about before marriage to make sure that both people are on the same page.

  • John and Jessica

    We also agree that communication is key to solving each of these situations. Without proper communication between partners the level of respect and understanding can be jeopardized. Every relationship is going to have disagreements and differences, but the important part is that the couple can find a way to compromise and get through these things together.

  • Jessica and Andrew

    I think one key to having a long marriage is to understand that some issues don’t get resolved for a long, long time. It takes time and patience to work through the issues two people will have when they make a life together. Most issues have underlying, deeper origins for both people. Security/insecurity, trust, fear of abandonment, fear of intimacy. These are the things that take 2 people a lifetime together to heal and work through. It takes years of practice to learn how to navigate your partner’s personality and a continued commitment to improving communication and being willing to analyze your OWN behavior to figure out why you do the thins you do.

  • Katie and John

    John and I have had alot of issues, but for the most part have resolved them in a appropriate manner. We have learned that one of us cannot always have the final say so. We need to learn to agree on something together. As for me, I believe in the saying if it hurts ya, its a no. I don’t want John to be hurt in any shape, fasion, or form. That’s because I do love him. I want to be able to work through arguments, disagreements and conflicts we may endure. John has told me numerous times before that it would kill him to see something bad happen to me. He does everything he can to protect me. We have very similar personaility’s.

  • Dustin and Katie

    I think in all those examples, the biggest problem is lack of communication. That is why we always discuss big topics, so that there are no surprises. Doing things without communicating what you’re thinking or feeling is a bad idea. Your spouse doesn’t know all the time where your head is at, so you need to talk. Every decision that affects the both of you, should be talked about before being done. I would tell all these couples that they need to work on their communication first, and then tackle the other issues.

  • Lindsey and Rhett

    Many of these issues stem from a lack of communication and respect for one another. While Rhett and Lindsey don’t agree on everything, there has to be certain guidelines or boundaries set and established prior to potential arguments such as these.

    Family dropping by unexpectedly: even though she is comfortable with the family stopping by unannounced, he is not. Knowing this, they should set guidelines for how much notice is required because he shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable or invaded upon in his own home.

    Buying truck without consulting wife: Rhett and Lindsey have established that any major purchase needs to be discussed with one another prior to completing the transaction. One person may make more money, but that doesn’t give them the right to make purchases without consulting when the end result affects both of them. Our limit for “large purchases” is over $500 and this may be different for each couple but it is an example for what works for us.

    Timing for children: This should be discussed prior to marriage and while it is impossible to predict exactly when you become pregnant, you should have a good idea of when to start trying. The opposite is actually true in our relationship, Rhett was ready for children yesterday and Lindsey would like to wait until they are married and established financially. Nonetheless, we have established a time when we will start trying and see what happens!

    Old hang out: This sounds like more of a trust issue and not so much about the old hang out versus what the old hang out represents. Whether it is a bar, strip club, etc the couple should discuss the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of visiting the old hang out. If it makes someone uncomfortable, discuss why it makes them uncomfortable and either come to a compromise or avoid it out of respect for your partner.

    I second the previous comment in that every decision that affects both of you, should be talked about prior to being acted upon.

  • JoAnna & Dan

    The biggest problem we have faced has always been about money. The only way we have ever solved an argument about money is to sit down and talk about it for sometimes 45 minutes! All of the issues HAVE to be brought to the table and the other person has to listen. When we don’t do that then we never feel better about the situation.

    For instance – Our car broke down and it was going to cost $491 to get it fixed. He wanted to go and buy a new car and I wanted to get the one we have fixed. I thought we couldn’t afford a car payment and he thought we could afford to keep getting our beater fixed all the time. In one way or another both of us were right and it took a LONG time for either of us to give ground on the issue. Eventually we both decided a new car was the best option and we got one.

  • Keith & Katie

    While discussing the other couples issues we recognized that we have the same view points. We often discuss friends and families issues not to gossip but to discuss it together as if we were in the situation and see how we would resolve it. Some friends of ours recently got married and she wanted a baby right away but he didn’t want kids at all. To most this is a deal breaker and would be for us but we agreed that even a decision that big has room for compromise. It obviously wasn’t a deal breaker for them but it’s slightly obvious that he’s nervous about the new baby. If they had discussed waiting a year or two he may have become more comfortable with the idea and would be happier about his current situation. Keith and I communicated very early on about deal breakers and are quite compatable in this category.

  • Kelly and Larry

    Drop in:
    We both agreed that he should respectfully explain his opinions to his wife and ask that she ask her family to give them notice before them come over; however maybe they could schedule some time with their families in order to aid the situation.

    Big Purchases:
    We believe big purchases should be agreed upon by the couple prior to the purchase. The couple could perhaps agree upon an amount that they could spend without speaking to the other person to avoid confusion.

    We believe this should be discussed prior to marriage. We have set up a time frame for when we would like to start a family, and this is contingent upon our financial security.

    hang out:
    Trust in a relationship is key. We would discuss what is causing the one person to be uncomfortable and see what is possible to resolve this issue. We value our friendships and our time with friends so we would encourage spending time with friends but definitely resolve the issue to avoid resentment.

    We have seen couples who tend to have problems/disagreements with finances. We would agree upon setting up a certain amount of money that would go into savings, and agreeing upon consulting each other for big purchases to avoid problems.

  • lacey emmons and justin cox

    •She likes her family to drop in anytime to visit. He thinks it’s rude and inconsiderate for them to do so.
    we feel a good compramise would be for the family member to call before they come or are on there way that way they can still stop by whenever but still give the couple a heads up that company is about to arrive

    •He bought a new truck without talking to her about it. She’s upset because they are having trouble paying for their bills.
    we feel that all major financial decision are to be made as a team effort. we really don’t budge or argue about this we have similar financial goals and dont mind the sacrifices it takes to make those happen…we both have read several dave ramsey books and justin has taken a course lol

    •She’s ready to have a baby. He says it’s still too soon.
    wow did that hit the nail on the head this is justin and I to the T. however our comprimise has been to wait about 6 months after our wedding before we begin trying to accomadate his wants/needs and mine.

    •He likes to go to some of the old hang-outs with his buddies but she’s uncomfortable with the environment.
    we have also had a discussion similar to this and the decsion was made that he go to see his buddies one night a week and I go see my bff usually on the same night this works for us because the time apart helps give us some space to recharge and really enjoy one another when we are back together spending time alone.

    •Think of other couples you know of at work, in the family, etc. and problems they have had and how you would solve them.
    pretty much all the couples we know there problems are basic in nature they are just not haveing effect communication and would greatly benifit from the technique of repeating what they think the other is trying to say so they have a clear understanding of what they are each wanting the other to know and see from their perspective.

  • Sandi & Ken

    After some discussion, we’ve agreed upon the following:
    -Family dropping in-While a friendly visit every now and then is nice, boundries need to be established. Discuss pre-determined “approved” times, but more importantly, stress the importance to the family of checking before dropping by.

    -His buying a truck…oh boy. With the two of us being very finacially responsible individuals, we had harsh advise. We both said the truck needed to go back to the dealership right out of the gate. But as not a lot of information was provided on the circumstances, we began to question his reasoning. Was this a needed item, or a plurge purchase. Was a new vehicle needed? If this was a splurge expense & he would not take the truck back, then we would have him cut all his extra expenses to help ease the financial strain.

    -The baby. The requires a heart to heart conversation. Has something changed? Was this discussed prior to marriage, and if so, who is changing the “plan” and why? Are there fears of parenthood? All we can say to this scenario is talk, talk, talk, but more importantly, HEAR the partner out and try to come up with a compromise.

    -Old Hang-Outs. Another conversation required here. Why is it important to him, and why does it bother her? If there are insecurities, then what is driving them? Sounds like there is already an issue with trust? Perhaps take the spouse along and let them experience for themself and remove the reason for fear, or perhaps, end up building something else they can enjoy together.

    As for other couples we know, many of them are communication issues that have arisen when the couples stopped talking to one another about things that truly mattered above every day life.

  • We have both learned that communication is the key. There have been times where I have made planes without asking how he felt and there have been times where he has done it to me. We would have never had any problems what so ever if we would have just communicated in the first place. We also realized that we need to consider the others feelings on the whole situation…whatever it may be…instead of just telling the other that this is what we are doing and that is that.

    I am big on family…hes not…so instead of just letting the family drop by and blind side him I need to talk to him about it first and lay down some guide lines.

    This is one thing that we have never had problems with. When it is a big investment we talk it out and draw out a plan if we could afford it or not. Thank goodness he has never done this yet.

    yes we have had an argument or two about children. I am 24 and ready to be a mom…he is not so ready. I didn’t understand why until this exercise where we were able to sit down and he was more open about his feelings on the children issue. Yes he wants to have a child with me just not right now. he wants to be more financially stable and I can completely understand that.

    This is another area where we don’t have problems. We like to go out with other couples not just old friends but we always do it together.

  • Raychel and Peter

    She likes her family to drop in anytime to visit. He thinks it’s rude and inconsiderate for them to do so.:
    Raychel, “In my opinion this is a definite issue. I think a couple’s home should be a sort of refuge and anyone (family or friends) who are invited into this shared space should do so with the respect and invitation of both husband and wife.”
    Peter, “I hate when people come unannounced no matter who they are. I like things organized and planned. I really enjoy both of our families and they are welcome as much as they want, I just want to know when they are coming.”

    He bought a new truck without talking to her about it. She’s upset because they are having trouble paying for their bills.
    Raychel, “I think ANYTHING that is a huge investment needs to be fully discussed and agreed upon by both people. Both of us consider ourselves to be fairly financially sound and with our needing to save money throughout or relationship simply to buy plane tickets to visit each other, this seems like a clear disrespectful and unwise move.”
    Peter, “Buying something for a large amount of money for selfish reasons is very disrespectful to the other person, and big financial decisions like that need to be discussed and agreed upon.”

    She’s ready to have a baby. He says it’s still too soon.
    Raychel, “The topic of children is in my opinion one of the most important things to agree upon before any action is taken. I believe, it is unfair to bring a new life into the world unless both parents are willing to make a complete devotion to that child and their wellbeing. To many children do not know what it is like to have two parents who love and support them.”
    Peter, “I think that this is a topic that needs to be fully agreed on because children are such a big commitment that both parents need to want children and be willing to fully commit to their decision.”

    He likes to go to some of the old hang-outs with his buddies but she’s uncomfortable with the environment.
    Raychel, “I think that it is important the maintain healthy social circles and support systems outside the home. If I wished to go do something that wasn’t Peter’s cup of tea with my friends, I would expect him to respect that and I would support him in doing the same. We do know that each other come first, but friends and individuality is important as well. After all, our relationship being long distance had little room for jealousy and I hope that continues after we are married.”
    Peter, “I think it is important that you give each other room to enjoy your different interests and activities even if it is something you both don’t like. For instance, I like sports and would like Raychel to respect my interest in them even though she hates sports and I will do the same for her love of crafting. It is important to let each other enjoy separate interests.”

    In conclusion, we both agree that for little to big arguments or situations, communication is the most important tool for reaching agreements and solutions.

  • Megan & Vince

    Over the years, we’ve really had to battle back and forth before we came to an understanding about how communication really works. We’ve been together for almost 7 years, so we’re glad we’ve at least covered some of this stuff early on and aren’t going into our marriage blind. Luckily for us, we both agree on the boundaries of family not making surprise visits. We’d have to remind the members of that couple that the husband lives there too and has a right to knowing when to expect company. She might not think much of it because it is her family and she’s comfortable with them, but if it was his family dropping by all the time (sometimes in uncomfortable situations), she might have a different perspective and see his side more. We also have had to work out some kinks over the years with our views on money. I can see why that wife would be upset about not having been included in the truck decision, and thankfully, when I read him that situation, his response was “well that was dumb”. While the husband might just see the purchase as no big deal- a trivial object- she probably sees it as an object of betrayal that he would go behind her back and not even think her opinion was worthy for discussion about the truck. Maybe she’s also the one that usually pays the bills/ balances the checkbook and is more aware of the fact that their money is tight- they need to have a big conversation and lay down some ground rules for their finances.

  • Shannon Brunner and Jason Lawson

    Well Jason and I have different checking,savings account and than an account for the bills. We don’t have much family but his mother is a big problem when she comes and visits which is not very often so I try and work the whole weekend than stay in the bedroom the rest of the night.I have a daughter from a previous marriage and we have a 4 year so we don’t really fight about kids. We have been together for 5 and half years and we are getting married on our 6year anniversary. We still fight over communication cause he is a planner and I just take it as it goes but after so many years we have learned to adapt and only minor complain about the lack of planning.

  • D & S

    We basically had the same ideas on all scenarios, until the one about the old “hangouts”. He thought it was an issue of trust. She (I) thought it was a issue about doing things without each other. Had this been a real situation it would have been a good “stupid” argument. Talk about “different perspectives”

  • Richard and Sarah

    Richard and I discussed the exercise, and concluded that the majority non-trivial arguments (such as the above examples) require by their nature compromise by one or both parties. In reaching a compromise, the couple should be open to communicating their reasoning for their concern. I think it’s important for both husband and wife to realize that their point of view will not always be shared by their spouse all the time. Richard and I emphasis communicating feelings and opinions in a healthy and respectful environment when our conflicts arise.

    Some items we feel should be discussed prior to decision making are: large purchases, starting a family, change of career, any significant changes to household and/or lifestyle, household budget changes…..

  • Travis and Traci

    Thesae are good times to talk about and all can relate to these in one way or another.

    Family drop-ins…
    in this case he needs to talk to her about a conversation she needs to have with her family as to making a simple phone call saying is it ok to drop by today to vist?

    Buying new truck….

    Really he needed to think about the long term effects of buying the truck without talking about it first. Maybe they could have gotten rid of some bills first then made the decission to purchase the truck. Anyway the disscussion with his wife should have been the first thought after he went looking at the truck.

    Baby or not…

    We think with this one that she is ready for the next step in their relationship and he is just plain scared. They need to sit down talk about this issue together more, weighing the pros and cons about it and discussing the cons on both sides and what they can do together as a team to work through them and make the baby a reality.

    Old Hangouts…

    We all have these places and in away they can be a comfort zone from change and we all know how well we like chane in our lives. This place to him is where he can go to shoot the breez with friends and neighbors and fell like the ol’days again over and over and he knows that this will always be there. She want to be there with him but feels left out or uncomfortable as she might not know anyone there or feels a little jelous about an old girlfriend that hangs out these thinking he might be looking at her for a spark. He needs to explain why he lkes it ther eand needs to reassure her that it is only good fun and how can he make her feel more comfortable there.

    They need to set a priority level with their relationship and start building the trust level together or they will always have issues that come upthat wont get solved and they will not have a chance at making it together.

  • Amanda & Nate

    It was a great sign that we both had nearly identical opinions as to how to resolve all of the marriage conflicts listed above – conflicts that many new couples could be faced with.

    Family Dropping In: It’s hard for us to empathize with the man in this situation, since we love it when family drops by, but we do agree that there might be a point where it happens way too often. First, we would gather more information as to why he has a problem with it. Are they interrupting (ex. dropping by during dinner, time together, etc.)? Or is it perhaps a larger problem where he just generally doesn’t care to be in the presence of his in-laws under any circumstances – which is a much deeper issue that’s probably more than we can solve! Generally, perhaps it could be politely expressed to the inlaws that a phone call prior to dropping by would be best, or maybe just a certain day could be assigned where it’s cool to drop by whenever.

    Truck: We’ve read in marriage prep books that it’s a good thing to set a threshold on purchases that can be made without needing to discuss it with the other spouse. No matter WHAT that limit is, however, a vehicle is definitely well beyond that limit! To spend a huge sum of money under already difficult circumstances is reckless in the first degree! Someone who doesn’t understand that seems very immature, and it sounds like a very precarious situation to be in relationship-wise. Some realistic budgeting and finding common ground (and sticking to them!) is the way to solve this issue.

    Baby: We know the ladies love babies! Her position seems pretty straight forward. What we need to understand is the reason for his hesitation. Is he concerned about finances? Does he simply want more time to be able to spend with her, making memories and solidifying their young relationship? Or perhaps he’s just scared to take the plunge – when in actuality, they truly ARE ready. These issues must be discussed, and we agree that few things would be more stressful to a young marriage than to have a child before BOTH partners are ready.

    Old Hang Outs: We agree wholeheartedly that once a couple is married, a new life is ushered in and some things from the past simply pass on. If these hangouts are truly benign (i.e. not bars with lots of tempting women or other trouble), it could possibly be resolved by inviting her along (and perhaps his friends’ lady-friends/spouses). However, we feel that her concerns are probably well-founded, especially if there’s alcohol served at the establishment. Married couples should do their best to avoid situations where temptation may enter into one’s life – and this sounds like that situation. Perhaps NEW hangouts could be established for their new life. Definitely need to spend time with the old friends, but maybe in new, refreshing ways…?

  • Courtney and Spencer

    We agree with many of the comments above. Communication is the root of keeping these types of arguments at bay. Couples should definitely talk to each other and communicate on all of these topics prior to making a decision or a large purchase. In the case of the family visiting or him going out with friends, it would be worth hearing the other partner out to see why they feel that way.

  • Ryan and Morgan

    All of these arguments and issue bring to light how important communication is in a relationship. Even if you think something may not be a huge issue it is still important to communicate with your partner how you feel because they may not know your feelings. Just in any relationship but especially a marriage you have to be willing to accept each others view points and compromise when needed.

  • Angie and Nick

    We both agree that its considerate to at least give someone a call before stopping in on people. There has to be a middle ground and some limitations set for family member to stop in whenever they like.
    Buying any large purchase definitely needs to be discussed together and not acted on separately. When there are money issues not only does large purchases need discussed by both parties. But the couples need to be doing what they can to limit any extra spending and both be working towards the money issues together not separately.
    Having a baby is also another communication issue that should be discussed. Reasons why one is ready and one is not ready need to be discussed as well and both parties should agree on the timing. Flexibility and comprise should be involved by both parties
    we both agree that we don’t generally try to solve other couples issues. we listen and suggest more of a professional counseling approach if needed but otherwise we just listen

  • Kirsten and Matt

    Fortunately Matt and I have the same viewpoint on all the scenarios above with the exception of one. These very topics are ones we discussed at length prior to getting engaged and I don’t think either of us would have felt comfortable making that commitment if we weren’t on the same page about family, money and children. We disagree somewhat about the “old hangouts” but agree that it comes down to communication and compromise. This couple should take the time to hear out one another’s feelings and try to determine a solution that respects both parties. A great sign is that when privately discussing other couples’ arguements we are aware of, Matt and I are almost always on the same page about why that argument is occurring and we’re able to pinpoint what would be different if it were our relationship.

  • Rachel Leisner

    All of the above issues are simple things that could be solved by compromise between the two people. If your spouse is uncomfortable with your family showing up unannounced and you are aware of this, then perhaps you should at least have your family call first. If you don’t fell like this is plausible, then you might want to rethink your entire life. When you decide to become one with someone in marriage, its not all about you anymore. It’s about them as well. They have feelings and needs, just like you do. You may not understand why they feel the way they do, but as their spouse you must think about their side and decide what is best for the relationship, not what makes only you happy.

  • Aleah

    Aleah and I agreed to compromise in the situation on the wife’s family showing up unannounced in picking a mutually agreed upon day and window of time to visit with her family. Compromise and open communication are key in the particular scenario so both parties feel respected.

    In the situation with the big spender over extending his limits, we both agreed he should return the truck. We agreed that in situations involving any sort of substantial monetary value that it needed to be agreed upon prior to purchase. Be a man!

    If he’s not ready then there’s no point in bringing a child into the world unless both are completely on board. This is one of the most vague examples so without knowing the full story it comes down being on the same page with your partner.

    Old-hangouts are a slippery slope and are a way of hanging on to the past. Hopefully they remind of how sad your life once was until you met your partner but they don’t need to be re-visited. Treat it like old relationships and leave them in the past.

  • Thomas & Tiffany

    We both agreed that all these situations are things that should definitely be discussed in a relationship before marriage. We’ve already talked about children, money, friends, and family, and have a pretty good understanding of where each other lies in each topic.

    Family stopping by: In these modern times, it’s too easy to call or text when someone is on their way over to the house. We both agreed that our families should give us a heads up before dropping in and they definitely do that anyways. We wouldn’t spring this upon either of us, because we know sometimes it’s nice to be “anti-social” some days and just want to relax at the house without company stopping by.

    Bought a new truck without approval: This one shocked us both! Neither of us would ever do this ourselves, but we would tell the couple in this situation that a new truck is a very big purchase and if they are struggling to pay bills then a brand new truck is not necessary. We would suggest he return the truck and for the couple to sit down and discuss finances and start a budgeting system to which the both can commit.

    Baby: We both agreed that this one depends on a number of factors. Is the couple very young in their early twenties maybe? Then perhaps a baby can wait until both are ready – nobody wants to pressure someone into raising a child they are not ready for. Is the couple a lot older? Then maybe the woman wants to have a child before her body is no longer “capable” to have children.. it’s perfectly reasonable as to why she would be ready. The couple needs to weigh all factors and look at the situation from both points of view and decide what’s most important.

    Old hang-outs: This one was very relatable as it recently happened within a family marriage that we are close to. We believe that if one person is uncomfortable of the environment the other person is hanging out at, especially something like a bar or a club, then the other person needs to respect their spouse’s wish and let go of the “need” to hang out there. If it’s not appropriate for a married individual to be there without their spouse, they shouldn’t be there.

    Trust and communication is the key to fixing all of these problems. We have a great deal of trust with each other and we know that as long as we keep the communication line open in our marriage, then we should be able to tackle any situation like this.

  • Aaron & Chelsey

    After discussing these situations, we came to the agreement that communication and understanding are the key to seeking resolution or compromise. Sure these couples may stand their ground until the other caves in, however they will always find tension when the situation or topic of conversation arise once more. By discussing the underlying feelings and beliefs causing the conflict, you are better able to understand your partner and respect their point of view.

    Specifically discussing the individual situations, in regards to family stopping by unannounced, we agreed that she needs to understand where he is coming from. Though some are comfortable with family stopping by, it may not have been a situation he experienced with his own family, therefore it can be viewed as an invasion of privacy.

    As someone who works in finance, I see the argument over new vehicles more often than one would imagine. Although the initial feeling of excitement may be thrilling, you will (hopefully) be with your partner for more than 200,000 miles. When it comes to financial decisions, invest in your relationship before you invest in material possessions. Communicate with your partner and find a way to compromise.

    In regards to the child discussion…neither of us want a child so we are on his side. In all seriousness, starting a family is the biggest commitment of a lifetime, and entering that phase of your relationship should be something that both parties are ready for. My brother and his wife are currently going through this argument. My brother wants a family but she does not want to have children. Although I believe this should have been discussed prior to marriage, they have an understanding that he will not rush her into motherhood. Hopefully she is ready soon because I’m tired of being asked to bring grandchildren into the world.

    On the topic of hanging out at old haunts, luckily this is not something we have an issue with because this topic seems to cause an amazing amount of strife in relationships. I’ve joined a wedding preparation group on Facebook and I’m amazed by the women who find their partners habits to be unsettling. For their sake, I hope that their partners are open to discussing how uncomfortable they are with the situation and finding a solution. If your actions are causing your partners insecurities, then perhaps you need to reevaluate your behaviors, and if you are uncomfortable with your partners’ behaviors perhaps you need to rethink your investment in the relationship. If the two cannot come to an agreement, resentment will overtake the relationship.

    Unfortunately, being new to the area (I say new even though we’ve lived here for more than a year. We just don’t “socialize” with other couples very often), we can’t really think of any situations that other couples we know are facing to analyze.

  • Caroline & Sam

    Family Drop Ins- We both agree that it is disrespectful to just show up and an invasion of privacy to the other person.

    Truck- We both agree that when it comes to financial decisions, we will talk through the results with each other before making a commitment to a large purchase.

    Baby- We think that this should be a mutual decision and a decision discussed even before marriage. Though life is not set in stone, being on the same page time wise will help avoid this issue. We don’t think either couple is wrong in this scenario.

    Old Hangouts- Neither are wrong but communication, trust, and finding a middle ground would help. An example of a middle ground would be agreeing on terms of length of stay and how much alcohol is consumed. Though we respect and trust each others friendships and relationships- we don’t cross the line and majority of the time include spouses/gf.

  • Bethany and Jesse

    With these scenarios, Jesse and I agree that communication is key. A lot of these could be avoiding by communicating how you feel about things and situations. You can be clear with expectations. That would help. I feel like the big things we’ve discussed: respect, family, friends, money, kids….those types of things. It’s important to figure this out before getting married, but I feel like it’s important to keep the line of communication open. Things may change. Your perspective may change or life situations may change, so you always have to talk to each other.

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