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My Husband and I Fight All the Time

What You Can Do when It’s His Fault

Kathy Murray, Certified Master Relationship Coach

My husband and I fought about everything all the time.

Every day I told him what to wear, what to do professionally and around the house. I controlled all the money–how we spent it and invested. I would even redo the laundry he had folded or the way he’d set up the online banking because I didn’t think he had done it right.

He responded by shouting. Our home was tense and volatile, but I was sure that if Doug would only see things my way we could save our marriage.

I started going to therapy, where I would complain about how much I resented him because he never took initiative. I was exhausted from working full time, managing the household budget, and raising four children and my husband too!

There was so much distance between us that we slept in separate bedrooms. I was lonely, unhappy and devastated by the thought of a second divorce, but I also felt powerless to fix things.

I thought our failing marriage was entirely my husband’s fault, just like I believed that my first divorce was entirely my first husband’s fault.

It turns out I did have the power to save my marriage–and even to make it blissful again.

1. A Painful A-ha Moment

One night, I was complaining about Doug to my girlfriend–again–when she shocked me by saying, “Either shut up or else get a divorce.”

I was devastated. I booked a flight to visit my mother. I knew she would listen, and she would know what I should do.

I brought some books with me. One of them was The Surrendered Wife. Upon reading that book, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. For the first time, I realized that I was responsible for my failed marriages.

It was very painful. I sobbed that night and all the next day. I felt that Laura Doyle understood my pain because she had made the same mistakes and still saved her marriage.

But under my pain, I felt a glimmer of hope.

2. An Experiment in Intimacy

When I returned, I decided to experiment. When Doug asked which cell phone service plan to pick, I said, “Whatever you think.” Those were completely foreign words to me, but I wanted to test the principles I’d read in Laura’s book, so I just said what she suggested.

My husband was nervous because he was sure he would blow it and hear about it from me later, so he asked again, “No, really–what should I do?”

I said, “Whatever you think. I trust you to make that decision.”

That night we crawled into bed together for the first time in months, and Doug said, “Boy, you have been so nice tonight.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought, “Oh my gosh! This works!” I felt like I turned my marriage around in one night. That was in 2001. I fired my therapist and hired Laura Doyle for coaching instead.

I let go of how my husband managed his life, the kids and chores, and I started taking better care of myself. I even handed over the chore of managing the finances, which my husband took on because he wanted to please me.

Soon we were blissfully happy again–just like when we’d met. He surprises me with presents and romantic trips. And this is as our 27th anniversary approaches!

It seemed so simple once I learned the 6 Intimacy Skills™.

If you feel like you are in charge or you’re lonely or you can’t figure out why your husband no longer pays attention to you, I certainly know what that’s like. I had a blind spot worth uncovering to restore the intimacy in my marriage.

What made all the difference was investing in myself, seeking support and surrounding myself with a group of like-minded women. Now I’m on a journey to end world divorce.

What can you do differently this week, even if your relationship problems seem to be his fault? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

20 replies on “My Husband and I Fight All the Time”

Me and my husband are going through a divorce we no longer live in the same house under no contact order it’s hard..

Hi, I enjoy reading these articles because I think it is the best advice I’ve come across regarding relationships, only I find that not many of these scenarios relate to me. I have a really great partner, he always tries his hardest, he is a wonderful provider, a hard worker, a great father and loves me dearly, however we just constantly butt heads, we never get eachother and so the message always comes across wrong and turns into nasty fights. We are both working so hard to try and avoid that but just can’t seem to get it right, I don’t know what else to do, perhaps we are just not very compatible? Any advice is welcome ??

Same here my husband and I are going through a divorce and i really don’t want to sign this papers, …he i’s no longer in the house he repetitively blames me for oir family or marriage being broken. He wants the house and not to give me child support but says i can stay here with my girls and maybe within the time He sees i change maybe he moves back in and we get married again i don’t know what to do to either agree or go to trial i don’t want him to hate me either he says if we go to trial I can forget about another chance…HELP!!

My spouse and I have been friends for 22 years and as a joke between friends, we went on a date 3 years ago, we have been together since then. We have nearly everything in common except his anger. He is easily angered, easily irritated, and seems to take it out on me pretty often. Our friends and family have noticed and brought it up to me but no one will really say anything to him. I pushed him to see a therapist and he did two years of therapy and was put on depression/anxiety medication. I started reading your book a few months ago, started putting things into place, “whatever you think” “I hear you” “I trust you” and things seemed to be going well. I started doing more for myself as I realized I was burning the rope at both ends. I’ve since went back to stressing about everything, running around like a crazy person, (we have a blended family with 5 kiddos) and it has left us with very little time together. This last weekend was a breaking point for me and now we are on the brink of a break up that neither of us truly want. We went 5 days without speaking because of how mad I’ve been at him for yelling at me and embarrassing me. I’m at a loss on how to fix this. He says I need to go to counseling so I can learn more about myself, which i am starting today. He has agreed to do marriage counseling because he doesn’t want to lose what we have. I’ve often wondered if I don’t love him correctly. What if he wants more time with me and I’m too busy taking care of work, kids, house, appointments, finances, planning and he feels neglected. I don’t want to lose my best friend, my spouse, and my family.

Worriedandscared, that is worrisome and scary for sure. I can see why, with 5 kiddos, you feel stressed and crazed. You absolutely have the power to put this whole situation right with the help of a relationship coach. You can stop feeling overwhelmed, scared and hurt and start feeling desired, cherished and adored. Marriage counseling will likely make your situation worse, not better, as that’s what we’ve seen with thousands of women who fixed their marriages and became happy wives on our campus. You can be next. Here’s where you go to take the next step:

Hi Laura
Thank you for your greatest book i got recommended from my therapist.
I do find myself sometime controlling over him.
I read it ones, and now i can finally start getting things to practice, hope it won’t get too hard the journey.
Question: my husband washes the kids hands and face every day before they go to sleep but every time again he is not careful and get their PJs all wet ,badly wet. i told him so far to stop doing by rolling up their sleeves and only then wash their hands ,as its not fair for the kids and its considered neglecting- abuse. because this poor kids go to sleep wet and uncomfortable especially when my 4 year old complains about it.
hubby then said sorry about it but it repeats daily.
if i stop telling him things will continue! and bedtime is his job! so …?

What do you do when your husband is rude to your family (not most of the time, but maybe when he’s having a stressful day)?

We got married a year ago after 9 years of a relationship. We were in a long distance relationship for almost an year because of work, now my husband has moved with me. He was jobless for a while but soon he found a new jobs and things have settled for now. But these days I feel like he has lost interest in “our” life together or maybe it’s both of us, maybe we have lost interest, I don’t know. I try to talk things out but he ends up getting angry or throwing things here and there so we hardly get into any arguments. I’m so tensed, everytime I come back from work I feel atleast after a hectic shitty day I’ll relax in peace at home but after reaching back I realise this is another mess. I just don’t know what to do.

Help, Laura!

I have an amazing, proud, African husband. He is a leader and knows what he wants. I grew up in Kansas, and our cultures are very different. My undergrad degree had a women’s studies focus, and I am a total advocate of feminism. WOMEN POWER!!! I love that we have that esteem in common! After reading Surrendered Wife, I realized I was terrified of his business failing. I had to work to support us both, while he gave all of his energy to his entrepreneurial ventures. He promised a lot of things that never developed, and I was resentful and felt lied to and trapped. He is my second husband–I have two beautiful boys with my first. They both live with us, but it’s never felt like family. I understand now how I was afraid he would damage them with his intensity, and their relationship is broken. They’re teenagers, and their biological dad is in their life, and while I see the errors of my ways, I believe it might be too late to repair. He’s helped them be better men, and I will always be grateful for that!

We’ve been fighting for all 5 years that we’ve been together. And this is our main problem: He cuts me off, which I despise, but he feels since he is a ‘man,’ his behavior is justified. My undergrad is in journalism, and I always have amazing things to say!! (haha) He cuts me off, which makes me decide to amp up and yell over him, which makes him lose it and amp up at me, and everything continues to break down from there. I love him to pieces, and I know he loves me, too. This is our only problem! I loved your duct tape chapter, but my brain is too quick! Or I’ll catch myself, and my breath will catch in my throat, and when he hears that, it angers him even more than if I would have spoken because he knows I WANTED to speak!

*And I do handle the finances because I have a Masters in Finance! Is that okay? The odd thing about that though, I always do feel better when we discuss and decide bills together. I asked him to take them over, and he looked at me like I was crazy, which I felt crazy asking. Ha! I’d love some advice on this, too.*

And the crazy thing is, I know he is this way with everyone, and do understand that his wife is supposed to respect him MORE than anyone else, and my behavior isn’t changing fast enough! I’m running out of time. I know him. I actually tried your ‘ouch’ technique, and instead of softening to my vulnerability, he drove 7 stakes into my SOUL. He went for my jugular with his words, and I felt so defeated. And I get it–he’s hurting, too. I tried double duct tape, even triple. I am still having a really hard time getting ahead of my mouth.

Good news–I’ve been focusing on self-care a lot more. Happy Facial Friday!! Woohoo! And I am a yoga head–it is Zen for me! And it does all make me feel better, but there is still so much stress and tension that I know I have to diffuse. I’m searching for a way to think about this situation in the moment to stop my speedy tongue in its tracks. I appreciate your wealth of knowledge and your time, Laura!

Akilah, It sounds like we might be sisters if not twins! You have a beautiful writing style.

I sure relate to having a speedy mouth, and not knowing how to make it stop when I first started. But it does get easier with practice, just like your yoga poses. I admire your accountability and humility in this post. I know you just want to be a happy wife to your amazing, proud husband but first, you have to make it peaceful a have to feel and right now it feels like it’s impossible. You shouldn’t have to live with those recurring, exhausting fights. That’s not right. I still remember living like that. That’s why my coaches and I have helped over 15,000 women fix their relationships. We can help you too. You may even be a future coach. You sure sound like one. Get some coaching so you can stop feeling defeated, hurt and pressured and start feeling taken care of, treasured and heard. You can join the waitlist for the Ridiculously Happy Wife program here:

My husband moved out 2 years ago. We have been together 26 years. Things blew up when my fears became reality and he admitted to an affair with an employee that is 20years younger. She was actively pursuing him when she knew our marriage was stressed. She left her husband and kids to be with mine bc he has $. My husband didn’t stand up for me and our family. I was beside him all through medical school, residency, fellowship and starting a new practice. She comes along for the $$$ and acts needy. He saved her and felt great about it while destroying us.
I thought he would let her go but still hasn’t and has filed. Up until he filed he was telling me he still loves me and is attracted to me but in limbo. I am heartbroken. I know i wasn’t perfect but I believe our 4 kids and I deserve some effort. I just can’t get him to see the light. He doesn’t think couples fight and holds on to every fight even after we have made up from it.
I have read so many books and tried so many of your suggestions and would see a tiny glimmer of hope so kept trying. The problem is that he doesn’t live here and he is too proud to fire her for me. I feel like the more I try the more he pushed away. Do you have any suggestions bc time is running out. I know when the Divorce becomes more active he will be out to win.

I’ve just read your book but I need some advice for my situation. I feel really unappreciated and unloved. I’m the one who is constantly criticized in my relationship. I can’t seem to do anything right by him. He also micromanages me. I look after all the finances and admin stuff at home – he prefers me to because he works more than I do and I am happy to but I am a very capable woman who works in a senior level management role. I’m not an idiot and don’t need advice on how to deal with the bank. I am also the breadwinner. I think it might his way of dealing with this imbalance that I’m certain he feels but for me is not a problem. I have no idea what to do about this. I take his advice on board, he makes his own decisions about things on his own ‘paper’, I don’t offer unsolicited advice or opinions. He just seems so wound up and angry with me all the time. One example, recently I took a wrong turn when we were driving and he berated me for 10 minutes saying I should know my way around, how did I miss it. I just listened and said “yes you’re right, I zoned out for a sec, I’m sorry” but he just kept going and going. Meanwhile I was trying to drive so I said “look, I said I am sorry can you please be quiet so I can focus?” but he kept going “well if you were paying attention in the first place I wouldn’t have to say anything”. I cried when I got home (which he hates). It was so upsetting. I realized that I feel more appreciated, trusted and valued in my workplace than in my relationship. He expects absolute perfection from me.
I don’t know if your program can be applied in my situation or if it’s a lost cause. I’m very aware that this is his problem but I still don’t like being on the receiving of it. It really hurts me and I feel myself closing down after an episode. I don’t know how to respectfully call out his behavior. I don’t want to be a doormat and keep ignoring it and making excuses for him. I am desperate. I love him very much. I just want us to be happy again.

Selena, what did you end up doing?

I’m in a similar situation. I’ve even thought about it as a role reversal my husband nags me all the time about the everything. I can’t seem to make him happy (I can’t even breathe right lol) and bc we’re fighting we miss a day or two having sex and then the gloves come off and he’s really mean.

I don’t complain, I let him live his life and he resents me for it. He tells me how a woman should be and it’s just hard because I’m smart and independent.

Hi, need some advice.. Im a newly wed engaged to an amazing ambitious hardworking man… But here lately we’ve been fighting over the tiniest things that are completely pointless we can never agree to disagree… And we say mean and hurtful words to each other dont get me wrong i love him with all of my heart im tired of treatong him us treating each other this way when really we should b loving each other…

I’ve been with my husband as boyfriend and girlfriend for 5 years. We recently got married 9 months ago. At first things were so good we were still in the honeymoon phase then things started getting out of control when I quit my job after so many years due to my mental health and my ex boss was the one who triggered it the most. I still have money saved up and I use it to pay bills but stuff needed for the house etc. A cousin of him moved in with us right after we got married and we don’t charge him rent I know my husband is stressed
Cause he’s the only one working. But I try to help with what I can plus I’m studying to be a dental assistant soon so I can go back to helping him. But me and him we’ve been fighting over the smallest things he leaves me alone half the time to be with the cousin (male) and hangout in the garage and watch sports etc but I feel like we’re not connecting anymore I feel sad lonely and tired and I don’t know what to do. And when we fight we say the most hurtful things to each other all the time. And we stop talking and ignore each other throughout the whole day. We are both hard headed so that makes it very hard. I try once in a while to cooperate do him a facial give him a spa surprise him with a small gift. But it seems like it’s never enough he always says I’m messy I don’t clean. Etc which I do I clean but he never likes how I clean and always cleans after I clean it’s so annoying. I’m getting irritated all the time. We never spent anytime alone cause his cousins, aunts are calling him his mom to go visit to go eat so we go.
Every time I try to spent time alone with him he wants to go outside in the garage play video games and watch movies with the cousin that lives with us (male) all the way till 3:00, am or sometimes 4..need help

Most of you women in the comments still seem to be a bit toxic. Those saying like “Whatever you want” are the key. It’s that you are verbally beating your husband’s down. Allow them to make decisions.Don’t treat them like children. Let them take care of themselves, you, and the children if you have any. The same goes for you. Make sure you take care of yourself also, but if you are in the mindset that everything is on you or that your man does everything wrong than you are the problem. You are not always right, sometimes it you that isn’t listening. You should both be treating the other like adults. Finally, take some advice or counseling from a man along with a woman. You may be surprised. We do think differently, so keep that in mind.

What’s soooo hard is trying to get to couples counseling as we are both eager ! He works crazy hours. It’s expensive. And then we have no one to watch our toddler and even if we can bring her, how hard would that be??? Don’t suggest daycare. We don’t let strangers take charge of our children and that really all daycare is. It’s just so hard. Sigh . I even tried online as I thought somone in the USA time zone would be perfect as that’s our after hours but the therapists online a lot of them do the online stuff during THEIR after hours which won’t work. So stuck! GRRRRRRRR!!!

Going through hoops just to get some support must be so frustrating! No wonder you’re feeling stuck. I admire your commitment and eagerness for support.

I hear you! My husband and I spent thousands on counseling, only to learn that… we didn’t have to do that. The best marriage-counseling tip I got is right here

Standing for you!

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