How often do you argue with your spouse about driving, the television being too loud, their snoring, the toilet seat being left up, or needing to remind them repeatedly about social engagements? Some gadgets and technologies can help prevent these kinds of relationship conflict with your spouse!
Most couples complain to one another about the same things. What determines their marital satisfaction is not what they argue about but whether they voice their complaints productively. Alas, few couples know how to complain to one another without starting an argument (which is why I wrote an article titled: Complain to Your Spouse without Starting and Argument. For an in depth discussion of how to complain to spouses and loved ones in ways that will actually strengthen your relationship, see my book The Squeaky Wheel).
Ideally, couples Of course, it would be better to simply avoid an argument to begin with. Thankfully, certain products can help prevent five extremely common marital complaints and the hours of arguing that follow:
1. Problem: Complaints about Leaving the Toilet Seat Up
It’s the middle of the night and you got up to go to the bathroom. For a split second you feel as though you’re falling but then you hit the cold wet porcelain rim of the toilet. Wide awake, your heart pumping, you lower the seat while plotting revenge on your happily sleeping husband.
Solution: Motion Activated Toilet Night Light with Seat-Up warning
The LavNav is a motion activated night light that only comes on in a dark room: A red light if the lid is up, and green if the seat is down. The red light also serves to help men aim-great for middle-of-the-night-blurry-eyed conditions. Bid farewell to cold toilet rim encounters and the revengefantasies that follow.
2. Problem: Complaints about Forgetting Social and Other Engagements
In many marriages one person functions as the social secretary and often, resents it. Usually, it’s not the social planning they mind (although some do) as much as having to then issue constant reminders to their partners who seem unable to retain any information about social engagements.
Solution: Synced Electronic Calendars
These days, the task of the social secretary can be significantly simplified if not abolished altogether by employing electronic calendars (link hereand here) that will sync your calendar to your spouse’s smartphone and even send updates, details and reminders for you. Less work for you, no excuses for them!
3. Problem: Complaints about Driving
Many couples find it hard to get into the car without getting into an argument at the same time. Often, as soon as the motor starts, so do the complaints: “Slow down!” “Don’t tell me how to drive!”; “You’re tailgating!” “Don’t yell at me when I’m driving!”; “Now you got us lost-ask for directions!” “I don’t need to ask for directions!”; “I told you they’d be traffic but you never listen!” “I never listen because you’re usually wrong!”
Solution: GPS with Traffic Alerts, Lane Advisories, & Fuel Efficiency Routing
GPS is not new but some of its functions are. Today, many GPS systems update route information based on traffic conditions, suggest the best lane to take and the route that would save the most fuel (on average green GPS systems reduce fuel consumption by over 10%). Most cars are not equipped with GPS which can make driving smoother for the car as well as for the couple. The right system can save you not just time and fuel, but much aggravation as well.
4. Problem: Complaints about the TV Blaring
Whether it’s the big game, a dramatic movie or the excited squeals of a game show contestant winning a year’s supply of Cheese Doodles, television has plenty of loud moments; great for those watching but noisy for those not. Commercials are especially problematic as they tend to use the maximum volume allowed throughout the ad (whereas regular shows will use high decibels to emphasize only specific moments such as explosions, screams or Anderson Cooper giggling).
Solution: Wireless Surround Sound Headphones for TV
Numerous companies make wireless surround sound headphones that allow one member of the couple to turn up the volume to their hearts content without disturbing the other. Couplehood-wise, such headphones are probably best used in moderation. Make sure to discuss which shows you’d like to watch together so television viewing remains a shared experience rather than a divisive one.
5. Problem: Complaints about Snoring
I recently wrote about how snoring represents a significant problem for many married couples and one that can lead to marital problems if left unresolved (Is Snoring Harming Your Marriage?). But given how common the problem is, I thought it best to include it here. Here the solution is not electronic but technology based nonetheless.
Solution: Industrial Strength Earplugs Made of Beeswax
Seriously powerful earplugs can block the sounds of snoring, loud noises and even the drunk couple arguing outside your window at 2 AM. No more sleeping on the couch for you though possibly a night at the sleep clinic for them.
Guy Winch, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, keynote speaker, and author whose books have already been translated into thirteen languages. His most recent book is Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013). The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem (Walker & Company) was published in January 2011.
Dr. Winch received his doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University in 1991 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in family and couples therapy at NYU Medical Center. He has been working with individuals, couples and families in his private practice in Manhattan, since 1992. He is a member of the American Psychological Association.
In addition to the Blog on this site, Dr. Winch also writes the popular Squeaky Wheel Blog on Psychology Today.com, and blogs for Huffington Post.