Every relationship experiences issues and pressures at one point, or another, from arguments to intimacy problems or worries over money. Here are five of the most common problems couples have in relationships and ways to work them out.
Have rules for when there are disagreements, such as taking a time out, not swearing at each other and staying on the topic at hand. Make a time to talk about any issues before they build up. A weekly check-in is like a physical for the relationship. Ask yourself what you’re REALLY unhappy about. Arguments about whose turn it was to load the dishwasher are often about deeper issues that you have not been about to express, such as anger, sadness or resentment about something entirely different.
Some couples have different communication styles, such as talkers versus non talkers. There are many couples who used to communicated well but have stopped listening to each other, or hear things through their own mind’s filters. Others will mind read and not ask for clarification or more information. Sometimes every conversation becomes a battle.
All of these issues can be overcome if the couple is willing to identify their pattens and make some changes. Each partner must ask themselves: What happens when I want to talk about something important? When was the last time I really tried hard to listen and understand my partner?
It is helpful to think through what you want to say first. Choose a good time and place to talk. Practice “talk time” where you each have three minutes to say what you need uninterrupted and then your partner responds. Use emails or letters if you are unable to talk without escalation. Use “I” statements and avoid blaming the other person.
Life events and external pressures can have an impact on your relationship. Some people cope by pulling together, but its just as common to find that events pull you apart. Try not to shut down and battle alone. Let your partner know how you feel. Try to see life stressors as something you face together as a “team”. Also, remember, that in a long-term relationship other things can take priority at times and that’s OK. If your partner is worried about something and doesn’t have the same focus on the relationship, do not take that as them ignoring you.
It is common to end up feeling unappreciated or neglected when one partner is not giving enough time to the relationship due to work or children. It can also happen when one partner is not recognizing how the other contributes to the relationship, family and home. Discuss this. What do you both offer to the relationship? How does the division of labour work for you? Sometimes, it just communication. Let your partner know you would like to hear that he/ she values what you do. Always work on noticing and telling each other what you appreciate.
Financial pressure can be a burden for many. Most studies find that all couples will disagree over money at some point in their marriage and more often if their ideas around money are different. There are people who are naturally savers and naturally spenders. Full transparency around money is what leads to success. Discussing ideas around how much money is to be spent on certain things is helpful. Create a budget so everyone is clear on expectations. It is also helpful to have a shared account for non-discretionary spending and to have separate accounts for some financial independence.
For all the joy that romantic relationships bring us, it is needless to say that they are hard work.
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