Half of all marriages end in divorce. Many of those failed marriages are due to six common problems. Being aware of these problems gives you a head start in avoiding them. And if you can’t avoid them, perhaps awareness will help you identify them and seek help to solve them.
- Discovering Different Core Values. Your spouse complains that he can never catch a break. He is forever taking risks to win big in life, and often those risks fail. He believes hard work is for suckers. You, on the other hand, were taught to put your head down and work hard every day, making slow, but incremental progress. Eventually, you achieve your goal through hard work and persistence. You and your spouse have different approaches to life, which could lead to problems. You have different beliefs about right and wrong, how your children should be raised, how you should behave as a moral human being. Such cultural and religious differences and bound to spark conflict within your relationship.
- Surviving Trauma. Weather it’s a serious health issue with you or your spouse, or the death of a family member, or the loss of a job or whatever major life problem you face, it can be a challenge to your relationship. Maybe your spouse can’t or won’t admit there’s a problem while you were taught to face situations directly. Maybe the responsibility of handling the situation is overwhelming. Maybe one or both of you finds it hard to function under pressure. When one spouse doesn’t handle trauma well, it creates a greater burden for the remaining spouse. Better to face life’s traumas together.
- Handling Stress. The same thing that applies to trauma applies to stress. It’s better when you’re united as a couple. But when one or both of you breaks under stress it creates even more stress for the other spouse. Often people self-medicate in an effort to avoid or reduce stress. They drink too much. Or take drugs. This destructive behavior puts a further strain on the relationship.
- Dealing with Jealousy. Some people think being jealous of your partner is a sign that you care. Perhaps a little jealousy adds some spark to your relationship. But when one partner is overly jealous, things can turn sour in a hurry. An over zealous, over jealous partner can be overwhelming and downright tiresome. When the jealous partner tries to restrict the other’s activities, or is constantly mistrusting and accusatory, then your relationship suffers.
- Avoiding Boredom. When your good old reliable spouse, who is always dependable, is also always predictable, you may have an issue over time. Trying new things together is a great way to bond as well as to keep your relationship lively. Don’t wait for your predictable spouse to suggest trying something new. Find a new restaurant and make a reservation. Go see a new play together and don’t take no for an answer. If you’re the predictable one, get up off the sofa and go. Just do it. It’s good for you and good for your relationship.
- Differing Sexual Desires. A good sex life is important in most successful marriages, yet it’s a common cause for problems. If your spouse has a greater or lesser sexual desire than you do, then you feel out of step. The greater the degree of difference, the greater the problem in your marriage. Compromise is always a good idea, but when the difference is so great that you cannot seem to give and take with equanimity, then you have a problem. Sometimes that problem is resolved through extramarital sex, and that creates additional problems.
Next week we’ll talk about one of the most common and most difficult problems in marriages—infidelity.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact