Common Marriage Problems and Solutions

Sources of Marriage Problems

Couple planning their home budget
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Relationships offer wonderful benefits for well-being, life satisfaction, and stress management, but none are without their challenges. These issues can put a strain on a couple, but working through them can either strengthen their bond or push them apart, depending on how they handle the challenges they face.

Working through marriage problems in a healthy way can be very difficult, especially because stressors can come from many different sources. The following are some of the most common sources of marital stress and marriage problems.

Money Problems

The stress of fighting over money constitutes one of the most often cited marriage problems that couples face.

Generally speaking, when couples engage in conflicts about money, their dispute is really symbolic of something different—power struggles, different values and needs, or other issues that surround money.

However, in tough economic times, financial stress can actually cause more general stress, more conflict over things unrelated to money, and well as money-centered arguments as well. For example, when one partner is extremely stressed about money, they may be less patient and more stressed in general; they may then pick fights with the other partner about unrelated things without even realizing it.

Issues With Children

Children can bring another potential source of stress and marriage problems. Children are wonderful and can bring wonderful and meaningful gifts into our lives, but having children can bring additional stress into marriage because caretaking requires more responsibility as well as a change in roles, providing more fodder for disagreement and strain. Introducing children into your marriage also reduces the amount of time available to bond as a couple. This combination can test even the strongest of bonds.

Daily Stress

Daily stressors don’t need to equal marriage problems, but they can exacerbate problems that already exist. When one partner has had a stressful day, they may be more likely to be impatient when they get home, may handle conflict less expertly, and may have less emotional energy to devote to nurturing their relationship. When both partners have had a difficult day, this of course is only exacerbated.

As with financial stress, general daily stress can test patience and optimism, leaving couples with less to give to one another emotionally.

Busy Schedules

Marriage problems can result from overly busy schedules for a few reasons:

  • Couples who are busy are often stressed, especially if they’re not taking care of themselves with quality sleep and good nutrition.
  • Busy couples may feel less connected because they have less time to spend together and more separateness in their lives.
  • Couples may not work together as a team and might find themselves fighting over who’s taking care of which household and social responsibilities.

While busy schedules don’t automatically lead to marriage problems, they do present a challenge that needs to be worked through.

Poor Communication

Perhaps the biggest predictor of marriage problems is poor communication or negative communication that belies damaging attitudes and dynamics within the relationship.

Negative communication is so damaging, in fact, that researcher John Gottman and his team have been able to predict with a very high degree of certainty which newlywed couples would later divorce, based on watching their communication dynamics for a few minutes.

Healthy communication is key; unhealthy communication can lead to major marriage problems.

Bad Habits

Sometimes couples experience marriage problems that could be solved if the two could notice their bad habits and change them. People don't always make a conscious decision to argue over petty things, nag and be critical, or leave messes for the other to clean, for example.

They get busy or distracted, stress builds, and they go on autopilot. Then they find themselves following the same patterns they hadn't realized they were choosing in the first place.

People just get into negative patterns of relating, fall into lazy personal habits, or get into a rut that they perpetuate out of habit.

A Word From Verywell

Fortunately, these marriage problems can be worked on. Even if only one partner is consciously trying to change, any change can bring a shift in the dynamic of the relationship, which can bring positive results.

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