If you’ve ever been shopping at IKEA with your spouse, you may have found yourself fighting and not realizing why.
There are so many dynamics about IKEA that therapists have spent time studying how the environments trigger conversations. Not to mention that you have to take the furniture home and put it together.
What’s been your experience at IKEA?
- Afton: IKEA impacts us because when I go in, I go for a purpose. I go in for a kitchen table and then see a whole dining room setup and I want to walk out with a whole new house.
- CJ: One of the things that makes Ikea stressful is that Teri and I’s opinions are clashing. We’re also clashing with the ‘ideal’ scenario that they’ve put together.
- Ted: Not to mention you throw in the spender versus saver dynamic.
What’s really going on when you and your spouse go to a store like IKEA?
- Ikea is a house of triggers. It took time to drive there. The store is crowded. You can get tired while shopping. All of these things overwhelm you and the primitive brain takes over.
- It also feels like there’s a lot at stake. You’re making choices about things in your home and if you don’t pick right you have to look at it for years to come.
- Then you get home and have to work together to put it together. That can really push some buttons in your relationship. Plus, the directions can be difficult to understand.
- Small things—like putting shelves together—can lead to fighting about deeper issues. In fact, many of our fights are triggered by small things.
What do we do about it?
- One of the great things is that going to IKEA may bring up some important topics or insecurities. If you ask why it’s pushing your buttons it can help get to some good conversations.
- There’s a lot of opportunity to be unselfish, if you choose it.
- Get curious about your own feelings and your spouses feelings and you can learn a lot. Notice the triggers going on with you and your spouse.
Whether or not you ever go to IKEA, everyday things can trigger us and cause fights that seem really silly. If we can be grace filled toward ourselves and be curious, we can learn a lot through these situations—like IKEA shopping.
Maybe you need to decide that one spouse can go to Ikea when they want and the other doesn’t necessarily need to go.
Your one simple thing for this week
Pay attention to what triggers you and your spouse.
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