Topics vs. Issues

Have you ever found yourself fighting with your spouse about something so ridiculous you don’t even know why you are fighting?  Many of us find ourselves there…and if you haven’t yet…you might one day soon.


The reason why this happens is something that I discuss with those that I am about to marry.  Please note: When I say “marry,” I am not talking about me specifically marrying someone, but rather me officiating a couple’s wedding.  I feel if we don’t get that out of the way, you might be thinking that I am marrying someone new several times a year…LOL!

What I explain to the couples is that we often can find ourselves frustrated with things about our relationship.  These items we are frustrated about are so deep and personal that many times we fear bringing them up with our spouse.  As items come up that are close to the heart of what we are really frustrated about appear, we attack those with our whole being.  Our hope is that our loved one will be able to figure out our frustration is not really about the item we are discussing, rather it something much deeper.  We hope they will be bold enough to ask us the right questions to get us to open up about our true hurts.

However, more often then not, our spouse will not be able to interpret our true issue.  So, in turn, this just aggravates us all the more and drives our frustrations and hurt deeper.  The deeper this goes the tougher it is to discuss our true issue.

All this means that we stay on the Crazy Cycle (Eggerichs, 2004), fighting over the topics and never truly getting to the heart of the matter (aka the issue).  To flesh this out, this is what it would like in your relationship…

Your spouse enjoys his work buddies and he is has now begun spending at least one Friday night at the bar after a long day’s work.  However, now he is spending two nights per week out with the guys.  His wife begins to question whether she still finds her attractive because he seems to want to spend more time out of the house then within it with her.  So, when he comes home a little late one night she attacks him for this inconsideration.  He has no idea what happened, but he is starting to feel like he can’t do anything right.  Therefore, he spends more time away from the house in the environments where he feels like he excels – which is either at work or at the bar with the guys.

When feelings like this come, we need to be honest with our spouse and get to the issue rather than trying to argue about the topics.  What are your issues?  Make a pact that you will quit fighting over the topics and dive deep to the issues.


Eggerichs, E.(2004). Love and respect: The love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.


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