Every marriage has its challenges. There are going to be moments when you both click and can just enjoy each other. You’ll feel like you are on the same page with life, and flirt just like you did when you were dating.
And then there will be moments when you are frustrated or irritated with your spouse. There will be moments when you wonder what is wrong with him/her or why you two decided to get married in the first place.
You’re not alone in your struggles. In fact, there are a few common marital problems we are going to discuss today along with how to fix your marriage.
Problem #1: Lack Of Communication
When a relationship has good communication, it flourishes. The people involved feel loved and respected. Everyone feels heard, and plans are in place. Anticipated minor problems are thus avoided because details have been shared in advance. On the contrary, couples with poor communication skills are more likely to fight with each other. Vague plans turn into arguments, and both parties become frustrated.
Since communication is necessary for all other problems within a marriage or relationship, it’s important to learn skills to help communicate well.
How To Fix It: Be sure to carve out time for you and your spouse to communicate. This won’t seem as necessary to do before you have children or if you only have one, but it is essential if you have several kids. You need to have time to talk things through knowing you will not be interrupted. Set up an “appointment” time to discuss any conflicts, issues, or other topics to be reviewed. To avoid interruptions, put your phone away, turn off all devices, and face each other. Set up some rules, such as only using a talking voice rather than yelling. Agree to avoid phrases using the words “you always” or “you never.” Use ” I feel _____ when _____” statements to avoid defensive feelings in one another. Excellent communication skills are the foundation of a healthy marriage.
Problem #2: Controlling Each Other
Nobody wants to feel like they are being told what to do. The only person you can control is yourself. If you’re single or a newlywed and reading this, you may be thinking “I would never try to control my spouse.” But trust me, it happens easily if you are not careful…especially during busy seasons of life (like raising children). When someone in the relationship begins nagging, it produces the opposite effect. Even if your spouse does what you were nagging (trying to control them) to do, they are most likely not doing it willingly or joyfully. It is still an unhealthy habit in marriage to try to control one another even if you are trying to be helpful, such as telling them they should do such and such before watching TV.
You are not your partner’s parent, and it is not your duty to control. If you allow this to become a habit, not only will it be hard to stop, but it will start to create an unhealthy mindset that you are better than your spouse. And it’s likely to cause your spouse to feel “trapped” if unable to make his/her own decisions.
How To Fix It: Give each other room to breathe and do not tell each other what to do. For example, instead of saying “take out the trash before you leave for work,” try asking if your spouse would mind doing the chore. If you know a chore or task needs to be done at a certain time, you could respectfully ask ahead of time if they could help.
This applies to more than just household chores. It is not your job to tell your spouse how to spend his or her time, how to dress, what to eat, etc. If your partner is doing something you both believe is wrong, sit down and discuss the issue instead of trying to boss him/her around. You may need help to determine specific examples in which to improve in, so another meeting with your spouse is necessary. Talk it through and remember that you can only control yourself. You will save yourself a lot of frustration if you remember that it’s not your job to tell your spouse what to do.
Problem #3: Trying To Change One Another
Remind yourself that you and your spouse were made differently and you will not act or think the same. You’ve each had different backgrounds and experiences that have shaped your personalities. Refrain from trying to make your partner act/ think like you and allow each other to make your own decisions. It’s not fair for you to try to change your spouse into someone else. Remember why you fell in love and that those differences are what brought the two of you together. It would be so boring if you both acted completely the same!
How To Fix It: Focus on your own improvements and allow your spouse to do the same. People naturally change throughout their life (hopefully for the best), and so it is unnecessary to try to change each other. Make a list of the good qualities in your partner and avoid focusing on the bad. This is serious, because if you only focus on the bad or what you want to change, you are more likely to have an affair believing that someone else is better.
Problem #4: Finances
One of the biggest stressors in marriage is money. And because so many are living paycheck to paycheck, this is one of the most common marriage problems. Whether the money issues are from having too much debt or because of frivolous shopping, the problems need to be addressed.
How to fix it: Ignoring the issue and living the same lifestyle will not erase the problem. Together you will need to create a realistic plan to get back on track. Again, set aside a time where you can calmly discuss a financial plan. Don’t blame one another, especially if one is a spender and one is a saver. Break apart the monthly expenses between the two of you if you decide that will work best. Create individual and family goals. Set budgets and have a close family member or friend help to keep you on track. For this issue to be resolved, you both have to be on the same page and committed to handling your earnings well.
Problem #5: Disagreeing On How To Raise Children
This is a hard one. Because you grew up in different families, you will have different ideas, traditions, and rules to bring to this new family. Some of them should align since you were attracted to each other, but there are bound to be some differences in beliefs. It is essential to be on the same page because it will create problems if you aren’t. Your children will catch on to the disagreements and inconsistencies. And it will not be healthy if one parent is viewed as the “good cop” while the other is the “bad cop.”
How To Fix It: If you are finding this to be an issue, consider researching parenting styles and techniques to create a list of what is essential to each of you. Think about what you hope to see in your children and formulate goals to help you produce that. This will probably call for some compromise.
Problem #6: Constant Conflict
A home should be relaxing. It should be a loving place where everyone can unwind and recharge. But this will not be the case if you are living in constant conflict. No one wants to live in an environment full of fighting or bickering. And if you have children, remember that your arguments are affecting them, especially if they are very often or hardly resolved. Your children need to learn how to fight fair and how to resolve issues.
It is also imperative that you understand and respect each other’s wishes. For example, my husband likes to joke about anything and everything. He wants to live a life full of laughter, and while I’m all about that, I don’t always find the jokes about me very funny. So, to avoid constant conflict in our marriage, we have had to come to an understanding. I need to remember he is only joking and not to take everything so seriously. But he is going to remember to not poke jokes directly at me, especially ones that wouldn’t seem funny once he stops to think about it. Because we have discussed this particular issue, we can move on and are less likely to repeat the same fighting cycle.
How To Fix It: Sit down with your spouse and reflect on the source of all the conflict. Is there a pattern with your conflict? Once you identify the conflicts and patterns within, you can begin to address them. Remember that you are not a victim and that you each have a personal choice as to how you react to each other. Therefore, just because one of you may start an argument does not mean it has to continue.
In the midst of the conflict, step back and evaluate the situation. Reflect on how you can best respond. If you are both unable to calmly address the situation right there, you need to agree on a time when you can revisit it without the presence of children or distractions. The time between the conflict and the discussion will probably help to calm both of you. Apologize and change behaviors as necessary.
Note: If you are finding yourself constantly irritable or angry, there may be something else going on. In this case, I would suggest either meeting with your doctor or scheduling an appointment with a counselor to find the reason. Remember that any unresolved past experiences will affect your mood and mental state, which will then affect your family. Get help so that you can be healthy for both you and those you love.
Problem #7: Not Spending Enough Time With Each Other
Another common relationship problem in this busy life is not spending enough time with each other. I can’t stress the importance of this one enough because I believe it can cause other problems. If you are not creating new memories with your spouse, you are more likely to: argue, compare your spouse to others, participate in activities you wouldn’t normally do, distance yourself, lose the desire to have sex, and feel a wide range of emotions, including feelings of unhappiness, feeling unloved, jealousy, anger, resentment, etc.
On the contrary, spending adequate alone time with your spouse creates an open communication, laughter, happiness, contentment, satisfaction, ability to solve problems together, less fighting, more intimacy, etc.
How To Fix It: Plan date nights, at least twice a month but preferably every week. It might seem expensive or timely, but it is worth it. Do the things you used to do while dating, like thoughtful gestures, complimenting, showing interest in your spouses’ likes, etc. Find a family member, friend, or someone else you trust to watch your children and schedule those date nights!
Problem #8: Lack Of Intimacy
Although many probably don’t want to admit it, lack of intimacy in a relationship is yet another common marital problem. It has been said that sex is the barometer of how a marriage is doing. When you’re hot and heavy in the bedroom, you’re probably doing well emotionally and in other areas of your marriage. But if you have not been physical with each other enough, there is probably an underlying reason.
How To Fix It: Now more than ever, you are going to have to talk this one out. Find the reason as to why you aren’t having sex. Is it because one of you is deeply offended? Do you feel too tired at the end of the day? Does someone feel unloved? Do you have too much on your mind or feel like you have too many other things to do? Once you find the reason, you can begin to come up with a solution.
You may want to begin scheduling it in. If that sounds unromantic to you, don’t let it because it still can be romantic! In fact, scheduling it in can build anticipation and excitement. Find a sitter if you have to and don’t be afraid to try new things to spice it up! Ignoring this problem will most definitely not make it disappear. Addressing the issue shows that it is a priority to you and that your marriage is worth it.
I hope this post has encouraged you to work through problems going on in your marriage. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but it is important to work through your relationship issues. Remember that you made a commitment to each other when you said your vows and that marriage will always take work. But marriage is a beautiful and enjoyable relationship when both parties are working together. I wish everyone reading this good luck as they start to go through conflict resolution to heal parts of their marriage!