When you’re married with children, date nights usually mean curling up together in the same room. Sometimes it’s reading a book, sometimes it’s watching tv, sometimes it’s chatting and having a drink. That’s our usual nighttime routine, anyway.

However it doesn’t always happen like that. I know things are frosty in the house when, after the kids are put to bed, my wife just walks downstairs to the PVR and turns on Young and the Restless – that’s not on our list of ‘time together’ shows.

What brought on this cold shoulder? Likely an argument earlier in the day that has yet to be settled. Fighting happens in a marriage. We know that. Studies have even gone so far as to create a Bicker Index to decipher the biggest sources of conflict in relationships.

Want to know what couples *really* fight about? Check out this list:

How To Load The Dishwasher

It’s our family’s version of the toilet seat battle. I can never do it right, and it always brings a fight. I put bowls in the top, I’ve done it that way my whole life, my wife likes them on the bottom. No matter how hard I try to halt the habit, I still put them on the top. We fight about it.

Thankfully The Oatmeal understands my frustration. Click the image to see the comic.

Oatmeal Load a Dishwasher Comic

What The Temperature Of The House Should Be

I like it cool, my wife likes it hot. Unless its the summer, then she likes it cool. I keep the temperature around 18 degrees on our Nest, if my wife wanders past it she will crank it up to 20. Thankfully I am the one with the Nest app on my iPhone, so I don’t need to get up and turn it back down.

Heating is expensive, the Nest is constantly challenging you to get it half a degree cooler, save some money, and toss on a sweater. I’m game for that game, my wife isn’t. With all of our temperature changing, the Nest learns how to be a negotiator and usually saws it off somewhere in the middle. Problem solved.

Setting Your Nest

How To Spend Free Time

Weekends are sacred. Our kids are not over-scheduled, so we usually get to pick and choose how to spend our weekends, especially in the summer. For me, it is time to get out and do something. I want to explore. I want to hike. I want to camp. My wife wants to shop. Sure, I can get down with a Costco run (especially if hotdogs are to be had) every now and again, but I going to the mall with 2 young kids to look at furniture, lighting, fashion, or ‘just browse’ is not my idea of a relaxing weekend.

So what usually happens? She goes east, I grab a kid and go west.

Hiking a mountain with Zacharie

What To Watch On TV

Sometimes my wife just wants to catch up on a few days worth of Y&R on the PVR, it has nothing to do with any argument, she just wants to see what Victor Newman is up to. That’s usually when I’ve planned to sit in front of the big tv with the HD and watch a sporting event. This is the only tv with a PVR box attached, I can always go upstairs and watch my program on the small 21″ set in the living room.

It usually ends with me going womp womp up the stairs with a scowl and muttering under my breath.

Who Does More Chores

Everyone in the house thinks they do more than the other. Even my 4 yr old will scowl when I ask him to pick up his LEGO. “Whyyyyy do I always have to clean up?!,” he’ll wine. We’ve basically solved this problem by a strict division of labour. I do the cooking and the groceries, my wife does the cleaning. I don’t know how much Windex costs, she couldn’t find tomatoes in the grocery store. It’s a division of labour that works for us – usually.

When a shift changes and a responsibility changes, the fights happen. It’s usually because I can’t keep it clean the way she would, or she can’t cook the way I would. (See also: loading the dishwasher.)

Where To Spend The Holidays

Every marriage is a blended family, really. You don’t need exes, or steps, or halfs to extend your family, just the marriage of 2 people brings in-laws into the mix that create conflict. Never mind trying to get along with your in-laws and the different rules for doing things, how do you plan for holidays?

Who do you see at Christmas? Where do you go in the summer? What about creating your own family traditions away from the extended family?

My Money Is Your Money, But It’s Still My Money

We don’t have a joint account. We don’t have joint credit cards. Everything has always been separate between my wife and I. Just like we divide the chores, we divide the bills. I take care of the mortgage, she takes care of the cable bill, I pay the utilities, she pays the nanny. It’s just how we’ve done it.

Still, every now and again, a debate over who should pay for what happens, usually in retaliation to a fight over the dishwasher or something. While our money woes are pretty well in check, other couples have trouble with secret spending. And it’s not the woman out hitting the mall and hiding it from her husband, but rather the other way around.

Are You Having Sex?

Chances are if you’ve checked more than one item off this list in the past week, the likelihood of any ‘private time between the sheets’ happening is slim to none. All the day-to-day stuff bogs us down, clouds our heads, and ends up dividing couples in bed.

Is it so bad that you have to create a spreadsheet documenting the trials and tribulations of trying to get back in the saddle? I hope not. Need a simple solution? Try the 7 Days of Sex Challenge. No matter what, get in there and give it a go and you’ll be surprised how quickly the stress of the dishwasher, the money, and the in-laws disappears.

Sex Spreadsheet

What about you? What do you fight about? And, more importantly, how do you smooth those bumps in your road?

Thanks to Direct Energy for supporting Team Diabetes Canada and sponsoring this post. They are supplying me with a Nest so I can share my experience with you over the course of the year.

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