16 answers

Are Weekly Arguments Normal in a Marriage with Children?

Dear Mommas, My husband and I are working on our relationship and are in counseling. Once a week or every two weeks we will have an argument. My husband has issues with his temper, and when he gets angry he yells and says unpleasant things, including in front of our 2 year old. On my part, I can be a perfectionist and critical, but am working on it, and try not to do anything unloviing toward my husband in front of our child.

Do most marriages go through such things? Do even good people fight in front of their children?

I ask, as I did not have a role model of a healthy marriage from my parents. Most of my friends all want for me to try to work things out with my husband but of course will support any decision I make. I just want to do the best for me and my son. I do not want my son to experience tension in the house or his father speak not nicely to his mother. but maybe this happens even in good families? I don't know.

any thoughts?

Thank you as usual. Jilly

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Dear Mommas, Wow! Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful, informative, insightful responses. I have learned a great deal already from your shared wisdom and feel energized to continue on our path, and yet to try new behaviors (and get rid of some of the old).

Blessings to all.

Featured Answers

My husband and I don't fight - there is never yelling and especially never unpleasant things said. We have disagreements and we will disagree in front of the kids (kids need to see that real life does not mirror a 1960's tv type family and different opinions are not a bad thing). The disagreements are discussed/argued over in a constructive way without yelling, name calling, or derrogative statements and usually a solution is reached. I think MIL would strangle him herself if she ever head of him being anything other than respectful to his wife and family.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

When first married, me and Hubby did that to a certain extent. We had very.... emphatic fights and conflicts.
We did counseling too. Not much help.
NO fighting, is NOT good for the kids. Any kid.
My Daughter, got affected by our fighting. I am not proud of that.

I have now been married 13 years... and for the most part... we 'matured' and grew up.
My Hubby had a temper too... which, on his own and my demanding it... he has improved. Mostly also because, HE wants to improve, himself.

It you are a 'perfectionist' and 'critical' (which my Husband is and was)..... it makes it REAL REAL hard, on the other Spouse... and they shut-down. I know, because I was on the other end.... and that is what I did. Then the person on the end of a perfectionist/critical person... gets real angry and it paralyzes them... because then NOTHING is ever good enough... for the other Spouse. It is REAL hard.
So, YOU have to work on yourself too.... self-improvement. Otherwise, it will affect your Husband further and your kids.
It is hard... being around a "perfectionist" and a 'critical" one at that.
AND... it takes a LONG time, for the other Spouse to then "trust" the Perfectionist/Critical Spouse... and to feel that they are NOT walking on "egg-shells" constantly.
It takes time... because the "legacy" you have instilled in your Spouse (ie: that you are perfectionist and critical) takes UNlearning that response.... and then being able to 'trust' that that person, will not be that way.

My sibling is like that too.. perfectionist and critical.... and it is nearly impossible, to please her.
Because nothing, is ever, good enough.

I am not dissing you... but just explaining what it is like, for the other person/Spouse... who is at the short end, of the stick.

It is workable... but you both need to work on self-improvement... NOT just pointing blame and irritations on each other. SELF-Improvement.
AND... especially if you do NOT want it to affect, your child.
THAT has to impact both you and your Husband. Or, your child will grow up learning Dysfunctional ways of socializing.

all the best,
Susan

6 moms found this helpful

I wish that when we became parents all of our former issues were just ironed out automatically. Unfortunately, we remain human and must work to grow and develop. Our relationships too must evolve as, as individuals, we are working on ourselves. Our relationships become great inspirations/triggers to do this work. In an ideal world we would all model perfect ways of dealing with our emotions for and with our children at all times. In a realistic world we get to mess up sometimes, own it and show our children that through progress, not perfection, we are becoming "better" people. That way, they will have a model for self improvement, which everyone can use. When I show emotions in a way that I am not proud of, or my partner and I have an argument in front of the kids, I make a point of resolving it in front of them as well. I also say things like, I felt really angry and I showed that by raising my voice. That wasn't okay because Daddy felt sad when I yelled. I am really, really sorry for yelling Daddy and I am going to work on not doing that anymore. I am also sorry kids that I yelled in front of you. It's okay to feel angry, but it's not okay to yell when we feel angry. Instead we have to learn to use our words, Etc. Good luck and don't beat yourself up.

4 moms found this helpful

You guys need to exercise self control. I FEEL LIKE yelling at my husband about 70 times per week, and vice versa, but we rarely fight in front of the kids and no disrespect is allowed. We fight sometimes, so as not to be fake aliens, but again, it's rare. Because we have made the choice to control ourselves for the kids. The same way people control themselves around others. Manners and respect shouldn't go out the window because you're home together. Work on not doing this so much or your 2 year old will grow to think someone verbally abusive to them is OK for a spouse.

3 moms found this helpful

Everyone disagrees sometimes. Marriage counseling is supposed to help you get through the disagreements without being hurtful and disrespectful to one another. But it can take a while to get there. Conventional wisdom says don't argue in front of the kids. But research actually shows if you argue and then resolve the argument in front of the kid(s) then they learn how to resolve arguments. If things are getting really nasty and hurtful or your child seems stressed when you argue then try and do it privately since 2 is too young understand.

On the other hand my parents have been together for 40+ years and still argue. Actually by the time I was a teenager I realized they were just rehashing several of the same old arguments. They eventually resolved some stuff in counseling but they may be still arguing about some of the same stuff (I moved out long since). My husband's parents, also married 40+ years, argue a lot less but my MIL just makes most of the decisions. My husband and I are somewhere in between. I'm more of a yeller but I try to put it aside and resolve things promptly and not be hurtful. It mostly works for us.

3 moms found this helpful

All marraiges have their ups and downs and share of fights, agruments, disagreements and spats. I can honestly say that my husband and I rarely fight or argue. We do however have our share of spats where we say things we shouldn't, nothing really bad, just not nice. Most of these just kind of happen on the spot, but whenever possible we try to avoid it in front of the kids.

I would say that arguing every week or two where yelling occurs is NOT "normal", but nobody's perfect. I'm glad to hear your working through your differences. Hang in there.

3 moms found this helpful

Fighting in a marriage is healthy, it just depend on how often you fight and if you fight fair. ANY one that says they never fight with a spouse is full of it. My husband and I have a good strong healthy relationship with each other. That being said we also fight fair and try our hardest to not fight in front of the kids. In our situation I am the one with the bad temper, but I have learned over my years that it is best for me to walk away and say we will discuss this later. Once I have had a chance to cool down I usually have a more clear head and can actually listen to what he has to say.

For people who do have anger problems I can say that it is really hard to control our temper, but it is doable. I would say to work the hardest to not fight in front of the kids. It sounds like you don't fight often enough to consider a divorce yet. I bet if you are both working on yourself it sounds like you both want the marriage to work. I wish you the very best and keep working on it.

3 moms found this helpful

You are normal. Embrace that you are both trying to be better people. There is no such thing as a good marriage where the partners didn't work super hard to make it that way. Focus on all the positives about your husband every day. Focus on all the positives about you. Sometimes, people who are perfectionists and overly critical need to let go of criticizing themselves so much too. You need to practice patting yourself on the back and your husband. Your husband and you will never be perfect. You don't have to be. Just be grateful that you are such a good person that you are trying, and that your husband is so good to you that he is trying. I am proud of you two for not giving up and walking away.

3 moms found this helpful

Yelling and saying nasty things in front of your two year old is harmful. Your husband needs to learn to contain himself.

Yes, we've fought in front of the children in later years, and it's not good, but we really tried to avoid it when they were little especially. I'm sure it's more "normal" that a lot of people will admit, but it's definitely a no no.

p.s. - I remember having an argument with my ex when my oldest wasn't even a year old yet, and my baby kept saying "no, no!," and he barely knew any words. That's how traumatic it is for them to hear their parents fight. And once a week in front of them is way too much.

3 moms found this helpful

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