By: Alex DeWoskin, Bill Farrand and Tyler Fortman
Marriage problems are bound to happen in almost any relationship. But are some marriage problems more common than others? According to a quick survey of the Chicago couples counselors here at the Center, the answer is – absolutely yes!
The good news is that most of these marriage problems can be generally fixed, provided you know what they are and are motivated to create positive change.
Keep in mind that just because your marriage may be experiencing these problems, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. As mentioned previously, problems are going to happen at some point for all couples. To believe otherwise is to buy into one of the many marriage myths!
Are you ready to look at our list of 5 common marriage problems with solutions? Let’s jump right in!
Problem #1: Money Problems
This particular problem should come as no surprise to you. Money challenges happen to be one of the top reasons couples seek out counseling in the first place. If left unchecked, financial problems can grow and turn into a behemoth, causing fighting, friction and a loss of intimacy. This is particularly true if one or both parties in the marriage are secretly charging things or hiding evidence of spending sprees.
Fix: Sit down and talk about money as a couple. Make a commitment to create a financial plan. Open up a household account for spending purposes and a separate account for long term goals such as savings and retirement. And it goes without saying that putting together a budget is paramount.
Problem #2: Housework and Chores
According to most of the research, women do half as much housework as men. We are sure this news isn’t shocking to you. What might surprise you, however, is that a major reason married couples experience relationship problems directly relates to domestic chores. The previously mentioned study suggests that women spend on average doing 10 hours of housework per week while the guys do around five (if that!). As you might imagine, it doesn’t take long for resentment to start kicking in.
Fix: Have a conversation as a couple about house chores. If need be, create a chores schedule and each of you sign the document at the bottom. As mentioned in the bestselling book, 7 Principles for Making Marriages Work by Gottman, couples who dutifully share domestic chores experience a more meaningful sex life!
Problem #3: Children
Let’s be honest – women do most all of the work when it comes to taking care of children and child rearing. If you are a guy reading this, you need to know that this is not easy work. Some research suggests that women become nearly 70% less satisfied with their marriage after the birth of a child. If there are multiple kids involved, these feelings can become amplifed.
Fix: One sided households where mom “does it all” is a thing of the past. There has to be an understanding that childrearing is a joint responsibility. This is why new parents need to have discussions early and figure out how things will work. If you are thinking of getting married and contemplating children, premarital counseling is a must!
Problem #4: In-laws
We have addressed the challenge of in-laws before in a previous post but it is worth mentioning here because of its importance. If you have a controlling mother-in-law who is competing for the attention of your husband, it can be a real source of problems. This point is particularly true if your husband has traditionally held the role of “momma’s boy”.
Fix: You and your man need to sit down and have a serious conversation about setting boundaries and creating a united front. Be forewarned that this could be difficult on your husband husband because most adult children will regress to a familiar childhood role with a parent. This is why individual relationship counseling may help your man move past patterns that are enabling your mother-in-law’s interference.
Problem #5: Intimacy
Challenges with sex and intimacy are not uncommon in marriage – particularly for couples who have been together for a long time or for folks who got married too soon. And it doesn’t help that talking about sex is difficult for many couples because they feel embarrassed and/or are fearful of being rejected.
Fix: Dialogue about sex is the first step towards creating positive change in the bedroom. In fact, this is one of the primary tenants of sex therapy as part of couples counseling. This point is particularly true if you or your husband seem to have long held fears of intimacy. Bottom line – if sex is a problem in your marriage you must talk about it. Be sure to check out our relationship books link if you are looking for ideas on how to start these kinds of conversations.
Marriage Problems Resource
The marriage problems listed here touched upon the biggies. Obviously, there are plenty of others that were not mentioned. In truth, if we had to list them all there would be no ending to this post. Notice that the common thread among all of the points mentioned in this post relates to couples communicating.
Summing Things Up
Some couples find that one of the best ways to improve dialogue between one another is to seek out the guidance of an experienced marriage therapist. If you are in Chicago and are struggling with marriage problems, we encourage you to talk to your husband or wife and explore the benefits of marriage counseling.
Remember, just because you engage in couples therapy doesn’t mean something is “wrong” per se with your marriage. In fact, we believe just the opposite and feel the decision to work with a relationship specialist is an indication of something being right!