Spending almost every waking moment with the same person for the rest of your life may alternately seem comforting and terrifying. Probably the thing you worry most about is getting sick of one another. It’s to be expected that every so often your marriage will fall victim to boredom. But boredom isn’t as hard to beat as you might think. You can keep things fresh by taking up new hobbies, traveling to new places together and -- especially -- by trying new things in the bedroom. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Speaking of financial stresses, you don’t need to own property to worry about money. The source of your money woes could be almost anything, from the fact that you always have to pick up the check at dinner to the fact that she’s helping pay off your student loans. Money may be the thing married couples fight about the most. The biggest solution to money problems is to talk about them. Be forthright and honest about things like your debt and adopt a policy of transparency when it comes to purchases.
House stress is the next item on our list of top 10 marital problems. Getting married often means buying a house, and houses come with all manner of hassles. First and foremost, houses are expensive. Besides the mortgage you have to think about property taxes and maintenance costs. Before you even think about buying your dream home, make absolutely sure you can afford it. Saddle yourselves with an unmanageable debt and you might doom your marriage to failure.
Whether it’s your nosy mother, or her mooch of a younger brother, in-laws can introduce some serious tension into your relationship. Recognize that it’s very easy for you to be critical of her in-laws, but not as easy to see the stress your family causes her. Yes, it’s entirely possible that your family is totally normal and hers is completely insane, but the more likely scenario is that your family is nuts too and you’ve just built up an immunity to their particular brand of craziness. Just try to remember before you make a fuss about going to her aunt’s for dinner, that your cousin comes over every Saturday to watch the game. Be respectful of her family time and she’ll be respectful of yours.
Inability to have kids
Perhaps one of the most stressful marital problems is the inability to have kids. Infertility can totally derail the vision you shared for your future. The other difficult thing about it is that it’s nobody’s fault. Unlike household chores or sex frequency, no modification of behavior will change the fact that you’re infertile. This is yet another thing that the two of you should contemplate and talk about before trying to get pregnant. Prepare yourselves for the potentiality that kids might not happen; then, if they don’t, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it.
Difference in parenting philosophies
Once you have kids, of course, they introduce 18 years worth of excitement and turbulence into your marriage. Kids spill stuff, break stuff and often steal stuff. The life of a parent can often feel like a constant struggle to get your children to eat their vegetables and, for God’s sake, put their pants back on! So what’s your parenting strategy going to be? Are you going to be cool, fun dad or the “just-wait-until-your-mother-gets-home” guy? Difference in parenting philosophies is another one of our top 10 common marital problems. The most important thing is to recognize that so long as you love your kids, they’ll probably turn out OK. You’ll quickly learn that presenting a united front on rules and punishments is more important than just about anything else.
Unwillingness to have kids
Many women (and some men) see children as a necessary consequence of marriage. Whether or not to have kids is a major decision, perhaps the biggest you’ll ever make, so some hesitation on the baby-making front is understandable. That said, persistently putting off procreation can introduce a lot of stress into your marriage and is one of the most common marital problems. If you’re the one putting the breaks on baby plans because you’re nervous about having kids, you might want to start doing some math. If you wait three or four years, how old will you be when your hypothetical future kids graduate from high school or university? Thinking in those terms might help you sympathize a bit with your spouse, who feels these time pressures on a biological level.
She's let herself go
It happens. Some women let themselves go after they get married. Maybe they lose their incentive to stay fit once they’ve bagged a guy. Maybe they have trouble bouncing back after having a baby. There are numerous explanations, but if her physical unfitness is killing your libido, you have to do something about it. Try working out together; take up an activity like cycling or biking. And before making any comments about her weight, you might want to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror too, Bucko.
Division of household responsibilities
Gone are the days when we can consider men’s work and women’s work clearly delineated categories. Men are just as likely to be captains of the kitchen and lords of the laundry room as women are. Problematically, this flexibility has left us in a nebulous space in which either partner could be doing any chore at any given moment, and by extension, neither of you thinks of any chore as your “job.” That’s what makes division of household responsibilities one of our top 10 marital problems. Be reasonable: Don’t let one person do all the work. Divvy up the chores. Try bargaining: If you hate doing laundry, ask her to do it, and in exchange pledge to keep the bathroom looking spic and span.
Infrequent sex is perhaps the most common marital problem. Married couples periodically stop having sex for all kinds of reasons: resentment, exhaustion, stress, you name it. The ironic thing is that having sex is a great way to relieve all the stress that is preventing you from having sex. If a lack of sex becomes an additional source of stress, it actually compounds the problem. To break a sex slump, try eliminating all the sources of stress in your wife’s life. Do the dishes, clean the bathroom and send the kids to Grandma’s. You’ll be surprised by the effect a clean and quiet house has on your partner.
The First Five Years of Marriage: Launching a Lifelong, Successful Relationship
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