“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 don’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 realize it, 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? Here are a few common reasons:
- Monotony pays a visit: No one is spared from the mundane nature of life. Not even the most romantic couple of the decade. Couples must accept that real marriages are not like fairy tales
- The effort drops: Once the courting phase is over, spouses often tend to cut back on 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 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
Related Reading: Conversations You Must Have Before Marriage
Now that we see why couples face problems after marriage, let us take a look at the eight most common problems that every married couple faces.
8 Most Common Marriage Problems
Just like in every relationship, problems in marriages bring 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 as one faces the real challenges and problems in marriages.
It takes some 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. So, without further ado, here is a list of marriage problems and solutions that can help you bridge the distance and keep your relationship from crashing:
1. Extramarital affairs
Extramarital affairs are one of the most common marriage problems. Threatening to shake the very foundation of marriage is the entry of a ‘third person’ into the intimacy zone. The effect of an extramarital affair on a partner is tremendous and creates serious problems in marriages. It can cause a loss of trust and mark the beginning of marriage issues.
Boredom is a primary reason for infidelity and behind consequent marriage issues. It’s natural to be bored with each other when there is no new or surprising element in a marriage. As the marriage starts to seem too bland, spouses often look to spice up their life with another man/woman.
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 spouses. One of the more common marriage problems is that 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.
Related Reading: A True Account Of Infidelity In A Marriage
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. It is one of those common marriage problems. Couples forget that a few words of appreciation always hold a tremendous power to bring a change and keep marriage difficulties away. But marriage problems and solutions go hand in hand.
Just remember to take a pause and consider, how much effort is it going to take to tell your wife – “Hey, thanks for staying up late with me. I appreciate the company.” And when he wears the shirt you gave him, tell him, “You’ll always look the best in this shirt.” With a few words, you can actually make your spouse’s day and keep marriage issues at bay.
4. Dead bedrooms
While no one really talks about or prepares you for married sex, know that the key to a healthy marital relationship lies under the blankets. Diminishing libido or emotional detachment leads to an unsatisfactory sexual life, causing marriage difficulties. The partners tend to seek sexual gratification from an outsider, leading to adultery, cheating, and extramarital affairs.
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 the same goals, dreams, and ambitions. Sometimes, this unity of ambition breaks as the responsibilities and challenges pile up. Husband and wife walk on different paths, wanting different things from life. Dealing with this change of ambitions is a difficult pill to swallow and can be the primary reason behind couples growing distant, leading to marriage difficulties.
6. Money and finances
Couples might not admit to it openly but money always crops up as an issue and is one of the biggest and most troublesome marriage difficulties to handle. Both husband and wife claim to handle their finances according to their own wishes. Almost always, there is a loan to be repaid, an investment to be done, 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, while the father made 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
Not everyone can afford domestic help. 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.
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.
The biggest issue that causes problems in marriage is a lack of communication. In any relationship, communication is key. Remember, partners cannot read your mind so you have to tell them what you need, want, or lack instead of waiting for them to catch on. Another big reason behind marriage problems – especially when couples live in joint family situations – are issues with in-laws. In addition to this, two of the biggest problems that young couples find themselves facing these days are the questions of sharing household responsibilities and financial contribution.
While it varies from case to case, the signs of a failing marriage or one in serious trouble are constant arguments, lack of action in the bedroom, the same arguments making a near-constant comeback, feeling the lack of the need to communicate with each other and sharing your feelings, getting attracted to other people to the level that you even consider having an affair, etc.
Studies claim that the three biggest reasons behind divorce are a staggering lack of commitment, extramarital affairs, and constant conflict, with a lack of commitment being the biggest and number 1 reason behind it.