“A strong marriage requires two people who love each other even when they struggle to like each other.”
The wedding season is in the air. A stack of invitation cards waits on my desk. I log in to Facebook, and happy couples smile at me from dreamlike pre-wedding videos. I wonder: Do they always remain this happy? One peek into my own parents’ lives and everything gets clear. That’s true; every new couple of the present is a bickering old couple of the future.
It doesn’t take a genius to observe that the charm and good spirit of the newlyweds doesn’t always stick around. At some point, the youthful romance fades (though never erased). The marital relationship reaches its maturity phase. And before the couples realise, life becomes an endless cycle of running to work, struggling to make dinner, pining for sleep and changing diapers for babies. Mushy love and romantic dates take a backseat.
And that’s when the problems sneak into a marriage, one by one.
What causes a marriage to wear out?
So, why do two people who once vowed to die for each other, after marriage, swear to kill (not literally, of course) each other?
- Monotony pays a visit: No one is spared from the mundane nature of life at a point. Not even the most romantic couple of the decade. The couples must accept that real marriages are not like fairy tales
- Couples drop the effort: Once the courting phase is over, spouses often tend to relax their efforts to woo and please each other. They start to take each other for granted
- Can’t cope with the changing personalities: Whether it’s an arranged marriage or love marriage, there is always something more to know about each other. With time, people change. And couples have a hard time dealing with the changes in their spouse
- Family issues: A marriage is a union of not only two people but also two families. Sometimes it becomes difficult to meet the needs, expectations and demands of both the families. Spouses accuse each other of not loving and respecting their family
- Work stress: A stable economy is the backbone of a stable marriage. When both the partners are working, very little time is left to spend with each other. This leads to frustration and disillusion
- Priorities and responsibilities: Once couples marry, life is no longer about each other. They have to take care of each other’s families, nurture their children and work for a better future. Amidst all this, escaping into the lovey-dovey world is a luxury which most couples can’t afford
Now that we saw why couples face problems after marriage, let us take a look at the eight most common problems that every marital couple faces.
Related reading: 9 simple things that can divorce-proof your marriage
8 most common problems in a marriage
Just like in every relationship, marriage too brings about some challenges for a couple. After the honeymoon phase is over, a couple returns to something called a ‘normal life’, and that is exactly where one’s expectations take a drill. It takes some real good effort to make a marriage work and last, and having a heads up on the common issues that could arise could prepare you to nip the problem in the bud.
1. Extramarital affairs
Threatening to shake the very foundation of marriage is the entry of a ‘third person’ into the intimacy zone. Boredom is a primary reason for infidelity. It’s natural to be bored of each other when there is no more a new or surprising element in a marriage. Remember the Hindi proverb – Ghar ki murgi dal barabar? So, once one’s own husband/wife starts to seem too bland, spouses often look for some spice in another man/woman.
Related reading: Effect of an extramarital affair on the partner
2. Lack of communication
At the heart of any relationship lies effective communication. With hectic work schedules, household chores and taking care of children, there is sparse communication between couples. There is no ‘real’ talking or listening. No deep conversations, no sharing of little joys and sorrows. It is quite silly on the part of spouses actually, since everyone knows that there is no problem which a strong cup of tea and a good conversation can’t solve.
3. Failure in appreciating one’s spouse
When you’ve spent five to ten solid years in a relationship, words tend to seem too superficial to express your love. But couples forget that a few words of appreciation always hold a tremendous power to bring a change. Take a pause and consider, how much effort is it going to take to tell to your wife – “Hey, thanks for staying up late with me. I appreciate the company.” And when he wears the shirt you gave him – “You’ll always look the best in this shirt.” With a few words, you can actually make your spouse’s day.
4. Dead bedrooms
The key to a healthy marital relationship lies under the blankets. Diminishing libido or emotional detachment leads to an unsatisfactory sexual life. The partners tend to seek sexual gratification from an outsider, leading to adultery, cheating and extramarital affairs.
Related reading:7 things no one tells you about married sex
5. Forked ambitions
Ask any married couple why they fell for each other and you’ll get the answer – “Oh, we’re so alike!” In most cases, before marriage, the couple has same goals, dreams and ambitions. Sometimes, this unity of ambition breaks. Husband and wife walk on different paths, wanting different things from life. Dealing with this change of ambitions is a difficult pill to swallow.
6. Money and finances
Couples might not admit it openly, but money always crops up as an issue. Both husband and wife claim to handle their finance according to their own wishes. Almost always, there is a loan to be repaid, an investment to be domadene, materialistic lust to be satisfied. And, couples often argue as to who should control the bank balance.
7. Playing mom and dad
Marriage takes a whole new turn after the birth of the first child. Husband and wife turn into father and mother. And that’s a whole new level of responsibility. Traditional gender roles dictated that a mother is the sole nurturer of a child. The father takes all important life decisions for the child. But these days mothers demand equality in child-raising and decision-making. This often leads to continuous tension in marriages.
8. Household chores
Everyone can’t afford a housemaid. Most couple fights, therefore, revolve around the question – Who’ll play the housemaid? After a tiring day at work, both the spouses are reluctant to cook and clean the house. Things turn worse when the wife is expected to take care of the cooking and the husband refuses to lend a helping hand.
Related reading: What to do when your husband doesn’t help with house chores
Well, no marriage is perfect. The phrase ‘happily ever after’ turns out to be so when both the spouses set aside their differences and work harmoniously to achieve that happiness. Problems come and go. What matters is how you approach these marital problems and get rid of them by some solid teamwork.
Always remember, in the end, it’s the person that’s important. Not the problem.