Every relationship has its own set of problems and issues. While conflicts can test the strength of a relationship, successfully navigating troubled waters can bring a couple closer and strengthen their bond. While you may wish you never have any problems with your partner, it’s a better use of both of your time to learn about the most common relationship issues and what you can do to work through them.
Lack of Communication
Communication is one of the most common relationship problems, but lack of communication can also lead to a number of other unresolved issues. Couples must communicate. On the surface level, partners should talk about their day, what’s going on in their lives, work, current events, etc. After all, successful partners want to share their lives with their significant other.
Underneath the surface level, couples need to communicate more complex things like feelings, needs, expectations, and insecurities. Many problems can be avoided by open communication. For example, if you’re upset because you feel like your husband leaves all the housework for you, make sure he knows how you feel.
Don’t assume he can sense your growing resentment, talk to him about how you’d like to share some of the household responsibilities. “Talk to each other,” Better Health Channel advises. “No matter how well you know and love each other, you cannot read your partner’s mind. We need to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings that may cause hurt, anger, resentment or confusion.”
When you communicate, you get things out in the open and then the two of you can work together to resolve any issues that come up.
Remember, all communication is not the same. Criticism, for example, can cause more harm to a relationship, because it involves placing blame rather than addressing the underlying problem. If you constantly criticize your partner or he or she criticizes you, it can lead to negative feelings, animosity and resentment:
“Criticism in close relationships starts out, in most cases, on a low key and escalates over time, forming a downward spiral with increasing resentment,” according to Psychology Today. “The criticized person feels controlled, which frustrates the critical partner, who then steps up the criticism, increasing the other’s sense being controlled, and so on.”
When working through problems in your relationship, try to be objective. Communication doesn’t just mean talking, you also need to listen. Your partner wants to know you understand his or her feelings, so make sure you take turns talking and listening, and try to work through your issues together.
Another issue that can cause even more problems, there must be trust in your relationship. You need to trust your partner and he or she needs to trust you. “Trust in a relationship is a must,” according to Ashley McIlwain from Start Marriage Right. “With it, there is freedom and security to experience the full potential of intimacy, love, and vulnerability the relationship has to offer. Without it, there is fear and insecurity, dampening and limiting the relationship’s potential.”
If you don’t trust your partner, it can change your behavior. You will constantly feel like you need to check up on him or her and you will always want to know his or her whereabouts.
Knowing what your partner is doing is part of open communication, but if there isn’t some level of trust, you or your partner will act out.
This behavior could be because one or both of you aren’t naturally trusting, or as a result of a past incident or experience, like infidelity. If there’s no trust, however, it will be difficult for your relationship to survive.
If yours or your partner’s lack of trust stems from yours or his/her personality or pre-existing issues, you need to work together to move past this. Keep in mind, you can’t change someone, so rather than trying to fix the issue, you must first uncover the cause. Communicate with your partner, you may also want to seek professional help to work through trust issues.
Trust in a relationship involves trusting your partner and being trustworthy. If your partner has trust issues, you can help him or her by keeping your word when you say you will call or be home at a certain time. This consistency will help him or her to realize they have no reason not to trust you and this will help to quiet their insecurities.
Sex is not everything in a relationship, but it’s certainly important and it can be an issue if one or both partners is displeased with this aspect of a relationship.
Sex and intimacy are an important part of a relationship or marriage. “The only thing you uniquely share with your spouse that you don’t share with anyone else is sex,” according to Aaron Anderson from familyshare. “So sex is the only thing that sets you and your spouse apart from simply being roommates. It’s a vital part of marriage.”
When you become complacent in your relationship, it can be easy to forget about sex. This is especially true for married couples or couples who live together; you may find yourselves crawling into bed night after night without getting physical. Besides denying a basic human urge, lack of sex can make one or both partners feel insecure.
It’s important to make time for physical intimacy. Schedule it in advance if you need to. Communication is critical when it comes to sex because you must be open with each other about your needs and desires and what one or both of you can do to make sure you’re making sex a priority.
“As a couple, you need to make ‘intimacy & sex goals’ It is crucial to think about the ways in which you would like to enhance your connection with sex and how to maximize pleasure and satisfaction for yourself & partner,” according to Marissa Nelson from marriage.
“Include daily and weekly goals for kissing, hugging and affection & foreplay.” When you prioritize physical intimacy, you’re prioritizing yours and your partner’s needs, and when you have more physical contact, you will feel connected on a deeper level.
Believe it or not, couples fight about money about twice as much as they fight about sex. Maybe you and your significant other have different attitudes about money: he likes to save and you’re a spender.
Or maybe, one or both of you have a significant amount of debt that you don’t wish to discuss with your partner. If you want your marriage or relationship to last, however, you need to be open and honest about money, saving, spending and debt.
Money can be a hot-button issue, it can bring up insecurity, and it can be the cause of arguments if you both have significantly different views and goals when it comes to the finances.
Working together to pay bills and save, however, can strengthen your relationship and help both of you financially. “Discuss what you hope to achieve and what your financial priorities are for your future together,” James Nichols from Huffington Post recommends. “A heart-to-heart conversation about what’s important in life can pave the way to talk about the nuances of your budget: debts, cash management, emergency funds, insurance protection, retirement savings and more.”
Once you rip off the band aid and start the money discussions, it will get easier. Once you’re on the same page about money, you can work together to save, pay off debts and achieve your financial goals, together
Work ties right in with money and can be a cause of conflict in relationships. Maybe both of you work too much, leaving little opportunity for quality time. On the other hand, one partner could work more than the other, which can lead to detachment and loneliness. What are your attitudes toward work?
If one of you is ambitious and career-oriented and the other is not, this can lead to issues down the line. Your priorities don’t have to be exactly the same, but you need to discuss your views towards your work and your career if you want your relationship or marriage to work.
If you both work too much, schedule date nights or opportunities to spend time together. If one person works too much, what can you do to make the time you do spend together special? If one of you is more ambitious, you need to decide how to make that work for both of you.
If marriage and/or kids are a possibility in the future, you need to figure out how work and career ambitions will work while raising a family. Will both of you work outside the home or will just one of you work? Employment is actually correlated with lower divorce rates, according to a study, 38 percent of employed females and 32 percent of employed males get divorced, compared to 43 percent of unemployed females and 42 percent of unemployed males. The important thing is figuring out how you can both achieve your career ambitions, stay together and support each other.
Also, remember that throughout the course of a relationship, priorities may shift. It’s important to check in with your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page about family, career and future plans.
Issues between couples are inevitable, but if you work with your partner to move past these issues, you will have a stronger, happier and healthier relationship.