From sweet nothings to serious criticism, from daily chores to major life decisions, couples fight about everything under the roof. Life in Indian cities brings more choices, coupled with more challenges. “Family-work adjustments, financial management, knowing when to spend time together and when to give space, these are some of the issues that urban couples deal with in their marital world,” shares psychotherapist Gopa Khan (Masters in Counseling Psychology, M.Ed), who specializes in marriage and family counseling. Here are the top 10 reasons Indian couples fight:
1. Family: Indian couples primarily fight over each other’s extended family. In Indian joint family setups, the daughter-in-law is usually expected to live by the norms set by her in-laws and that is a major reason for differences cropping up between couples.
2. Criticism: Not supporting each other or pulling down each other, sometimes unknowingly, in the presence of friends and family is another reason why couples argue.
3. Jealousy: Flirting, friends of the opposite sex and social media involvements often cause jealousy and friction amongst couples. Also, unequal success at work or too much attachment of the partner to a parent or sibling may lead to jealousy and feeling of neglect in the couple relationship.
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4. Parenting: Differences in parenting methods is another important reason for conflict. This can also be an important factor when partners belong to different cultural backgrounds. Interference of extended families in parenting can cause distress amongst couples. Equally distressing is the extended family’s interference about fertility. One of the other issues is when partners have erratic work schedules that upset the family meal routine or the children’s study and sleep routine. Children end up feeling neglected by one parent or get way too attached to one parent, leading to conflict between couples.
5. Money: Bills, spending habits, financial priorities are next on the list. People rationalise expenses differently and couples might not agree all the time about each other’s expenditures. One may be a spendthrift and the other a saver. Also, a new kind of conflict is emerging in India, where in-laws and/or husbands try to control the income of working women and exclude them from financial decisions.
– Gopa Khan, Counselling Psychologist
6. Household chores: Distribution of domestic chores when both partners work is a common issue for small tiffs. Larger issues crop up when one partner feels that the family income is not sufficient to run the household or meet the demands being made by the children.
7. Drinking/Smoking/Gambling: These habits are often not revealed during courtship or not considered a big deal in a marriage. However, they can create adjustment issues between couples, if one partner is not comfortable with them or when they affect family finances and the health of the partner.
8. Personal habits: Day-to-day habits can also lead to arguments between couples, especially if one partner has a compulsive disorder about hygiene and cleanliness. Differences in general orderliness or discipline at home, toilet routine and TV habits can also lead to regular adjustment issues amongst couples.
9. Work routines and leisure: When both partners work, the issue is mostly about making time for the household and for each other. When it’s just one partner working, he/she wants to relax after a long tiring week of work. When the other partner expects an outing and children demand attention, it ends up leading to conflict between spouses. Also, conflicts arise with differing expectations regarding the quality of time spent together.
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10. Food: Handling the kitchen is mostly expected from the woman of the house and is often a bone of contention. What to cook can be a day-to-day issue between some of the couples. Also, some partners refuse to grow up and are very particular about their tastes in food. While vegetarianism or similar lifestyle choices are discussed during courtship, when one starts a household after marriage, finer details of taste can mar marital bliss. Modern urban lifestyles also come with diet choices. And hence, while one partner may have become a diet freak, the other may not be ready to change.
Have these issues cropped up in your marriage? Do you argue about them, or have you found a nice middle path to avoid discord? Team Bonobology has a short survey on this subject, and we’d love to hear from you.