Couples who are struggling to keep the marriage fresh may think there are too many problems to fix. There is often the temptation to use these issues as a scapegoat. One reason may be to avoid facing the bigger problems under the surface. There could be recurring problems that couples don’t see while they focus on the little irritations in life.
One of the common problems that couples don’t recognize is their inability to handle conflicts like adults. They may have fallen into a pattern of criticizing and fault finding rather than dealing with the reasons beneath the conflict. One spouse or the other may feel that his or her needs are getting overlooked or dismissed. This perception can cause resentment and hostility that comes out in arguments over seemingly small things like taking out the trash or choosing the evening’s entertainment.
Another problem might be letting kids or other obligations to take over couple time. Partners may find themselves pouring all of their time and energy into meeting all of the kids’ wants and desires. While this seems harmless, placing children in the center of a marriage often snuffs out the closeness between the couple. Spouses might feel neglected and lonely which pushes the couple farther apart. These feelings might be behind the leap in ‘gray’ divorces. Once the kids leave the nest, couples find themselves living as virtual strangers.
Husbands and wives engaged in power struggles over money or home life may become fall into emotionally and verbally abusive. These behaviors often cause animosity and resentment which is difficult to overcome. Couples who are struggling in this way find it impossible to work as a team. When this happens, everything in the marriage becomes a struggle. All of these problems may lead a couple to a divorce lawyer rather than the “happily ever after” they dreamed about.
Not all is hopeless. Most of these problems are fairly common in any long-term relationship. Everyone desires to feel wanted, loved and cared for and they often seek to fulfill these needs in the only way they can – through controlling their partner. There are healthy ways to fix these problems. The first step is to make time to sit down and have a frank discussion. Use “I” messages instead of finger pointing. Try to frame the conversation in neutral tones without accusations or trying to shift blame. Marriages are the backbone of society and they are worth the effort to ensure that they are as healthy as possible.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. Music and writing drive me and, if combined, then life is nearly perfect. A Maryland resident for years, Minnesota is now home where I hope to find new adventures and hopefully, that elusive gift of wisdom.