In marriage, it is common to have partners always having little fights. Often times, where a man walks away and hangs out till late to keep his temper in control, a woman will shout down the roof, writes Maureen Nakatudde
You don’t listen!” Jane stormed out of the house and Paul frantically followed her.
“And you are always complaining. Can’t a person have a break?” he shouted back at her.
Paul feels that his wife Jane talks too much, robbing him of the much needed quietness and peace he longs for at home. On the other hand, Jane believes Paul is not paying attention to her.
Cause of conflicts
Most arguments where a woman loses it are over cheating, money spending and time spent with each other. Some women are just plain mean and are naturally talkers.
Eva Kangawo, a teacher at Namugongo Model Primary School, says: “All the time, men want to be right. They do not want you to speak to them about anything.”
Though peace is the desire of every couple, adultery will quickly blow it away. “A woman can always bear anything, but when she suspects that her husband has another woman somewhere, the behaviour will automatically change,” says Michael Mugabi, an accountant in Kampala.
Daisy Lumu, a housewife in Wakiso, says some men go too far. If he has another woman, he does not care much for his wife once they are married. “He comes home towards morning every day drunk, yet there is hardly enough to provide for the family. Such a man should never expect peace in a home.
“Some men believe they are above the women since they are the heads of the homes. So when a woman tries to get at the depth of an issue, they feel she is infringing on their God-given right of superiority. Instead of fleeing the home, the man should ask what he is not doing right. He might be ignoring his wife’s needs and his responsibilities,” says Brian Mutebi, a community officer.
Though sometimes women can prove to be a headache, Mutebi says men should know that women are weak vessels and they should devise ways of dealing with them.
According to Christopher Acan, a counsellor at Compassion International, money is one of the major factors that cause marital conflicts. “When one person gets a higher salary than the other, especially if it is the woman, the man might feel insecure,” Acan says.
He adds: “When there is no disclosure on what each partner earns, it can be a source of conflict. If the couple does not have adequate finances to take care of the children, then conflicts will emerge.
Differences in personality can also cause conflicts. When you are courting, it is hard to know the true colours of a person since ‘love is blind.’ Besides, Acan says, the difference in vision can lead to conflict.
“If a man wants to go to a certain place and the woman does not see the reason why, then a quarrel might emerge,” he says.
Another thing couples fight over is the children. Lack of consensus on disciplining children can bring about a heated argument. Men tend to leave the parenting and disciplining to mothers, yet they tend to be overwhelmed.
Why women are so argumentative
Paul Nyende, a counseller at Makerere University, says naturally women are more talkative than men. “Quite early in life, young boys are taught to control their emotions, while girls are left to freely express them,” Nyende says.
“That is why women tend to quarrel while men are withdrawn. Men are taught to be action-oriented and think through issues, while women act on impulse,” he adds.
Nyende also explains that sometimes, it could depend on what time of the month it is, as menstrual periods can get one raging because her hormones are playing up.
He explains that some women have low self-esteem, so if there is a lot of tension, they usually lose it, and of course, will not shut up. Some just have a breaking point, so when the tension gets too high, they snap.
Nyende says arguments between genders is common, and women are good at it as they know how to win and handle the men.
The reasons for arguments between men and women are different.
“In general, when women are upset, they want to be heard. Sometimes, when women are talking, it can sound illogical, but their purpose is just to let off steam,” he says. Once that is done, the real issue can be solved.
Some international studies also show that women have a faster mind compared to men. A woman can argue without taking a break and getting tired.
The best way to change a woman’s mind is to change her mood and her logic will change accordingly. As a result, majority of women are far quicker and way better at the so-called “mind-reading” and communicating than most men.
Effects of conflicts in a home
Conflicts can result into divorce, death and injury of one partner. They also result into domestic violence, where one partner’s rights are denied and abused. According to the Police annual crime report 2011, domestic violence topped the list with 9,343 cases.
Maureen Atuhairwe, the acting commissioner, Family and Child Protection Unit at Kampala Metropolitan Police, says domestic violence is a big player in the spread of HIV/AIDS, since people who do not get peace at home tend to seek solace in other relationships.
Domestic violence can also lead to divorce, which results into the battle of custody for the children. “As you take the case to court and the Police, more money is spent, hence depleting the family of its finances,” Atuhairwe says.
Nyende also says if one is very quarrelsome, it might drive potential suitors away. “Some of your friends who love you desert you since they cannot stand the tendency of making arguments out of the simplest comments,” he says.
How to control anger
Whichever way you look at it, all troubles in a relationship spring from the fact that one party is not understood. Annette Kirabira, a counsellor, says when couples learn to communicate well, they can be able to deal with the conflicts in homes.
“Instead of starting with an accusative tone, be calm and start with ‘I’ instead of ‘You,’ for instance, ‘it makes me sad when you do this….’ In that way, your partner will respond to you other than react.
You also need to study the mood your partner is in. You might talk to them in the calmest way possible and your needs are sincere, but because of the person’s sour mood, they will just not respond the way you want,” he says.
Furthermore, Kirabira says both the husband and wife should be mature and know which fight to engage in. “Do not pick on anything and declare war any time,” Kirabira cautions, adding that couples should decide on vital issues that need to be dealt with.
She says quarrels and fights would be avoided if couples learned to say sorry. Kirabira notes that asking for forgiveness is very hard for most people because of pride.
“Usually, the humble person is the one who asks for forgiveness even when they are not at fault just for the sake of keeping peace. When you do this, you risk being stepped on all the time,” Kirabira says.
She adds that people should always express their feelings to avoid a situation where they are overwhelmed by anger.