According to a study recently published in Family Process, it is the way we argue that makes a difference in whether we believe ourselves to be happy in our relationships. 

Essentially, couples who tend to maintain a solution-oriented approach when facing conflict are happier than those who don’t. This study also found that the longer couples were married, the more likely they were to “choose their battles wisely.”

One way to “choose wisely”? Focus on issues that are easier to solve first.

What Exactly Does “Solvable Issues” Mean?

Smaller problems. Issues with clear, concrete solutions.

According to research, it seems to work – researchers in the study mentioned above found that those who dealt with problems that had concrete solutions first tended to have more successful relationships.

Here are common situational conflicts that, when “solved,” can not only provide immediate relief to a strained relationship but also make you feel more satisfied and connected.

Household Labor

Rebalancing chores automatically lends itself to clear-cut answers. If there’s a sense of inequality between you, successfully balancing these scales could lay the foundation for a deeper conversation down the line.

Family Time

Deciding to designate device-free family time is easy to do. When there are deeper issues about choosing work over intimacy, successfully spending a day each week as a family for a while could pave the way to a regular date night soon enough.   

Monthly Budgeting 

This one isn’t exactly easy, but it’s certainly concrete.

You have a certain amount of income each month. Setting a budget together could make it easier to talk about planning your financial future in the months ahead.

So, why is deciding not to resolve a bigger issue (for now at least) and to instead focus on those guaranteed successes a good idea? 

Focusing Small Now Sets the Stage for Big Success Later

Experts say that focusing on difficult, perpetual problems can undermine each partner’s confidence in the relationship overall. In contrast, solving surface issues together rebuilds eroded confidence. Small successes strengthen partners’ sense of security in their relationship together. 

Note, however, that this doesn’t make the heavier stuff any lighter. Once you feel ready to tackle some of the heavier stuff, consider involving a marriage counselor. They have the experience to carefully guide you toward success and provide thoughtful mediation throughout the process.

How the Center of Marriage and Family Relationships Can Help

At the Center of Marriage and Family Relationships, Imago Relationship Therapy is a cornerstone of our philosophy. 

We counsel committed partners through conflict in order to rediscover bonds, strengthen communication, and ultimately find common ground again. 

Couples often find our workshops and private office settings to be a comfortable neutral ground for working through tougher conversations as well. 

Whether you want to learn more about how our couples counselors can assist you in focusing on your solvable issues or how our couples workshops can help you open up those harder-to-reach spaces, reach out. We’re here to help!