Normal Marital Conflict or Domestic Abuse?

Healthy Marital Conflict

Marriage is both a challenge and an opportunity; there will be times during any marriage when forming and maintaining an intimate bond is difficult. Couples who are able to meet and overcome marital strife can become better partners, lovers, and companions. Marriages face all sorts of tough challenges, but these are some of the more common sources of discord.

  • Conflicting methods of child-rearing 
  • Dissimilar approaches to handling finances 
  • Divergent sex drives 
  • Health issues 
  • Equal division of household chores 
  • Lack of communication 
  • Distrust 

When couples choose to handle issues without resorting to hitting, screaming, blaming, and belittling one another, they’re engaging in healthy marital conflict. Partners need to possess a willingness to work through conflict as it arises: Avoidance only leads to bigger problems, with psychological implications that can often morph into abuse.

If your S.O. enforces a budget, they aren’t abusing you, they’re looking for a solution to your financial problems. If your partner tells you that you’ve hurt their feelings, they’re not belittling or abusing you, but simply attempting to be “heard.” 

Domestic Abuse

If you feel as though you’re stuck inside a constant battle for your marriage, then step back and take stock: You may come to realize that you’re in an abusive situation. Some examples of emotional and physical domestic abuse include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Hitting, punching, and kicking 
  • Screaming and yelling
  • Name-calling, threats, intimidation, gas lighting, and shaming
  • Controlling a partner’s social life and/or time with friends and family
  • Restricting and/or controlling money 
  • Pressuring for sex and/or engaging in sexual acts that cause mental and/or physical pain
  • Withholding sex
  • Ridiculing a partner’s beliefs, religion, race, class, and/or sexual preferences.

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