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Here’s Why Most Fights with Your Spouse Happen on the Weekends

·2 min read

Relationships—especially the marriage kind—usually have a rhythm: Monday through Friday afternoon, everyone is doing their thing (work, school drop-offs and pick-ups, dinner prep). In fact, maybe you and your spouse feel like even-keeled ships simply passing in the night to discuss logistics and where you did or didn’t your kid’s red water bottle. (Try the car, it’s always in the car.)

But when the weekend hits, so does the pressure. Anyone else feel like angry and frustrated feelings tend to erupt on Friday nights?

Jocelyn and Aaron Freeman, relationship experts and co-authors of the book The Argument Hangover, say there’s a reason for this: mismatched expectations about how to spend our leisure time.

I’m going to use myself as an example because this totally applies to me and my husband. As the week drifts toward Friday night, I am bursting with all my wishes and hopes for the weekend ahead–a combination of self-care, chores, family time, friend hangs and romantic reconnection. (It’s a lot, I know.) In other words, yes I’d like to clean the bathrooms and meal plan, but I also want to go for a run and finish Stranger Things and possibly/definitely meet up with my friend Barb.

What leads to fights is that my husband has expectations, too (usually a mix of family park time, grocery shopping, house chores and practicing guitar). And when we don’t align on how to spend our “free” time and he’s lecturing me on the importance of organizing a pantry…well, you can imagine the arguments that ensue.

Good thing there’s a solve: Per the Freemans, in order to counter the weekend marital meltdown, spend a few minutes on Thursday night or Friday morning plotting out priorities and how you’ll fit it all in. The plans can be loose, but the point is that you sort the schedule and agenda together. This minimizes anyone feeling neglected or short-changed, particularly when you’re in the moment and one person wants to clean the gutters while the other wants to veg on the couch listening to murder podcasts. (Totally hypothetical of course.)

RELATED: This 3-Word Phrase Can Defuse Just About Any Fight in My Marriage