Maybe when you’re in the middle of a family or relationship issue, you feel alone; but after talking with friends, you realize you’re definitely not the only one. It’s true that there are many common issues that couples and families face.
It’s all part of being human. We get scared, bored, selfish, lazy, tired, passionate, and careless. As we share a space with other people on a daily, we are bound to bump into each other—literally and figuratively. Basically, none of us are perfect. We all make choices everyday that affect not only ourselves, but those around us.
Relationships definitely take work. They take proactive thinking and choosing. So think about how your life could change if you paid attention to many of the common family and relationship problems and changed how you approached them. Here are some common issues and how to work through them:
Isn’t it funny that in an age where we can call, text, IM, fax, mail, etc., each other messages, we still fail to truly communicate? Nowhere is this truer than at home with your family and spouse. By the time we get home from our many responsibilities away from home, we are just tired. We are irritable. Sometimes, we just want to be left alone to relax. Other times we want to connect and talk and feel loved. Often we are out of sync and just plain don’t talk to each other.
How do we deal with this communication gap? Structure your home environment to be more open to communication. Sit down at dinner together and actually talk. Ask each other about their days. Really listen to the answers. If you feel frustrated about something, don’t just keep it inside until it boils over. Set aside time to talk about those types of things, perhaps at a family meeting.
Spending Enough Quality Time Together
This is such a hard subject because everyone has different ideas of what is “quality” and what is “enough” time to spend together as couples and as families. “We are always together,” one family member may say, but another may not feel like just sitting in the same room is actually spending quality time together.
So it’s time to talk about what constitutes “enough” and what constitutes “quality.” Not everyone will agree, so try to meet somewhere in the middle. How often should you do something together with the family at home, like play board games? How often should you do something together outside the home? Perhaps as a couple, a once a week date works for both of you. The key is to discuss it and come to an agreement rather than leave it to chance.
When we live with someone, we see them when they are tired and sometimes a little careless. They don’t want to pick up their socks or clean up after themselves; maybe they told you they would do something for you, but forget. There are a number of ways our loved ones can let us down. And that can lead to one very common relationship problem: nit picking.
“Why can’t you do this?” or “Why are you eating that?” are some things we would never say to our friends, but because we are so comfortable with our spouse and family, we tend to forget our tact. It’s just so easy to say those things. How can we let go of nit picking?
Challenge yourself to just go one day without saying anything negative to your spouse or children. It’s only one day, right? Even if they say negative things to you, resolve to be positive. Your mindset will have a huge influence and your household. When you start a new day, challenge yourself to again not say anything negative, even if you get the urge. The more your practice, the easier it will become.
How to Parent the Kids
This can be a big cause of contention between the parents because there is no one effective way to parent. But that is also where it gets complicated. Maybe one spouse grew up with parents who did things one way, and the other spouse grew up with parents who did things very differently. It’s only natural that each spouse would stick with what they know.
How do you deal with this problem? It’s time to pick and choose the things that work for your current family. And that means lots of communication. Talk about how you want to parent your children, including how you will deal with issues as they come up. What punishments are appropriate? Also decide together what you will do when something unexpected comes up. One idea is to excuse yourselves from your child so you can discuss the issue behind closed doors, and then come back to your child with a united front. Like anything else in life, it takes practice. So decide what you want, and take action every day.