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You may not have a crystal ball or a psychic on speed dial, but there are ways to predict what you and your significant other are most likely to fight about once you tie the knot. Not only do most couples fight about certain hot-button topics — such as money, flirting, cleanliness, and striking a work-life-relationship balance — but you’ve already got clues based on your own relationship about what unique issues you could face.
“If a particular issue comes up repeatedly during a dating relationship, it’s likely to continue into the marriage,” explains psychologist Lauren Napolitano. “If the topic elicits humor, that’s probably fine — but if the issue has caused tears or screaming arguments, it’s time to figure out a better way to manage the issue.”
For example, if your flirtatious nature gets under your fiancé’s skin, “that’s not an issue that is going to improve just by getting married,” Napolitano says. So if you can take an honest look about the behaviors you have that bother your main man — and those he has that bother you — you’ve got a measuring stick by which to base your married life fights on.
“The best way to navigate these issues is to start brainstorming now about a compromise that might help both parties to feel happy,” says Napolitano. “For example, if one partner is messy and the other is neat, a compromise is to allow the messy person to be messy until weekends, when both parties to agree to clean up the entire house.”
And don’t be afraid to honestly, but constructively, express how your significant other’s behaviors affect you. “Instead of saying ‘messiness is gross,’ it’s better to say that it hurts your feelings that your partner isn’t taking the time to clean up when he knows that it bothers you,” explains Napolitano.