Every relationship has its ups and downs and sometimes, a relationship can be taken for granted. To maintain and sustain a happy and healthy relationship, it’s important to recognize ahead of time what problems might be causing your relationship some issues so that you both have a better chance of getting past them.
Even though there are bound to be bumps in your relationship, successful couples have learned how to manage any problem areas and keep their love life going strong. Lots of couples manage their relationship with guidance from self-help books and articles, attending seminars, going to counseling, observing other couples they admire, or simply by trial and error. Let’s take a look at the common relationship issues and how to best resolve them.
Lack of communication: All relationship problems stem from poor communication, according to Elaine Fantle Shimberg, author of Blending Families. “You can’t communicate while you’re checking your BlackBerry, watching TV, or flipping through the sports section,” she says.
- Make an appointment, something you actually mark in your respective calendars, to talk to each other. Put the cell phones away, put the kids to bed, and eliminate any other distractions. Find a quiet place in the house away from the TV and have an honest, open talk.
- If you can’t communicate without raising your voices, go to a public spot like a library or a restaurant where you’re forced to be quiet or don’t want to embarrass yourselves.
- Set rules and guidelines for your talk. Don’t interrupt until each partner is through and don’t start with phrases like “you always” or “you never.”
- Look at each other in the eyes. Don’t doodle or look away. Use body language to show you’re listening – nod or rephrase if needed.
Loss of sex drive: Even partners who love each other can be a mismatch, sexually. Mary Jo Fay, author of Please Dear, Not Tonight, says a lack of sexual self-awareness and education worsens these problems. But having sex is one of the last things you should give up, Fay says. “Sex,” she says, “brings us closer together, releases hormones that help our bodies both physically and mentally, and keeps the chemistry of a healthy couple healthy.”
- Plan. If it helps, make an appointment but not when you’re both tired and know that you’ll be working long hours.
- Change things up. Meet for lunch but make it sex instead lunch and have sex in a different area of the house.
- Plan a romantic night in. Figure out what each of you like, create a list of what turns you on, and plan to target each area for a fun night in.
Money woes: Money is probably one of the biggest relationship problems and this problem can start even before the relationship begins. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have money woes take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.
- Be honest about your current financial situation. If things are going south, it might be time to change up your life style.
- Acknowledge who’s the saver and spender in the relationship. Understand that there are benefits to both, and agree to learn from each other.
- Don’t hide any income or debt. Bring all financial documents, including recent credit reports, pay stubs and bank statements to the table for an honest, open talk about your finances.
- Take a deep breath and don’t place any blame. Listen to your partner’s woes and figure out a plan to save more money and pay off any debt.
Household Chores: When both partners are working outside of the home, the last thing they want to do is continue working when they get home. However, it’s important to maintain a clean home for a healthy lifestyle.
- Make a list of all the chores and divide them up. If that doesn’t work, trade off on who does what each day and week to make it easier to manage.
- Be open to other solutions. If you both hate cleaning, and have room in your budget, hire a cleaning service. If one of you likes housework more than the other, the other person can be responsible for something else like grocery shopping, yard work, or whatever you both decide on.
Lack of trust: Trust is a key part of a relationship and it can be lost and gained so easily so it’s important to focus on making trust a main part your relationship.
Here are some ways to maintain trust in your relationship:
- Be consistent
- Be on time
- Do what you say you will do
- Don’t lie – even white lies can be harmful
- Be fair, even in an argument
- Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings
- Call when you say you will
- Call when you’ll be late
- Carry your fair share of the workload
- Don’t overreact when things start to go wrong
- Don’t dig up old wounds
- Respect boundaries
- Don’t be jealous
- Be a good listener
Problems in relationship can come and go however if you encounter these common relationship issues, don’t overlook them – it could cost you your relationship.