Even the best of relationships run into problems sometimes. You’re both tired from work, or the kids are in trouble at school, or your in-laws are getting on your last nerve…you know how it goes.
Life throws all kinds of challenges at a relationship, from relocation to redundancy to illness. No wonder problems arise in even the strongest relationships.
To keep a relationship running smoothly, it is important to solve marriage problems before they snowball into bigger relationship problems.
Now, how to solve relationship issues?
Common relationship issues are not hard to solve; all you need for that is a strong will to work on your relationship issues, and love, of course.
Here are some common marriage problems and their solutions that you should know about.
When wondering about how to solve relationship problems, it can be useful to read first and then bring the conversation up to your partner.
1. Lack of trust
Lack of trust is a major problem in any relationship.
Lack of trust isn’t always related to infidelity – it can rear its head any time. If you find yourself constantly doubting your partner or wondering if they’re truthful with you, it’s time to tackle your trust issues together.
Relationship problems will keep mushrooming when there is a dearth of trust in a relationship.
Solution: Be consistent and trustworthy. Each of you should make an effort to be where you say you’re going to be and do what you say you’re going to do. This is one of the best solutions to marriage problems.
Call when you say you’ll call. Never lie to your partner. Showing empathy and respect for your partner’s feelings also helps to build trust.
When life gets too much, you get overwhelmed. Maybe you’re in the midst of going after a promotion at work. Maybe they’re dealing with a troubled teenage son or daughter.
Whatever the reason, your relationship soon takes a back seat. Then relationship problems keep building up.
Solution: Talk to each other about what’s happening, and about what kind of support each of you needs. Lean on each other instead of getting so caught up in other issues that they drive a wedge between you.
Poor communication leads to misunderstandings, fights, and frustration. It also leads to one or both of you feeling unheard and invalidated, and can quickly build into resentment and other relationship issues.
Solution: Communication is a skill like any other, and learning it can make all the difference to your relationship. Learn how to listen without judging or interrupting, and how to get your point across without attacking.
Communicate with each other as friends, not combatants. Figure out what your communication style is and how compatible it is with your partner.
Work your way towards the solution by understanding what communication style would work better for both of you.
4. Not prioritizing each other
It’s so easy to take your partner for granted, especially when you have a lot of things going on. Before you know it, the only time you get together is over a hurried family dinner, or while trying to get out the door in the morning.
Solution: Make time for each other every single day. No matter how busy you are, carve out fifteen or thirty minutes; that’s just for the two of you to talk and spend quiet time together.
Text regularly throughout the day. Add in a weekly date night to make sure your partner knows they’re your priority.
Whatever the issue, money can quickly cause problems.
Solution: Put those good communication skills to work here and have a serious talk about money. Figure out a budget that you both agree on and stick to it.
Work out a financial plan for your future and take steps towards it together. Make crystal clear agreements and keep them.
6. Changing priorities
We all change as we move through life. Maybe you were both ambitious once, but now you’d rather live a quiet life. Perhaps your partner is no longer enthusiastic about your shared dream of buying a house by the sea.
Changing priorities can cause a lot of conflicts.
Solution: Look for what you both still have in common, while allowing your partner to change and grow. Embrace who they are now instead of pining for the past.
If you have different priorities about major lifestyle issues, look for common ground, and compromise that you are both happy with.
7. Chore wars
It’s easy to lose your temper when it feels like you’re the one taking out the trash for the hundredth time in a row, or you get home from overtime to find the house is a tip. Chore wars are a leading cause of conflict in relationships.
Solution: Agree together on who is responsible for what, and stick to it—factor in a little flexibility for when one of you is much busier than usual.
If you both have different ideas of what constitutes a neat home, it might be time for a little compromise.
8. Different intimacy needs
Problems with your sex life are stressful and can have a big impact on your relationship. If one of you isn’t happy or you’re finding you have widely different intimacy needs, it’s time for a serious talk.
Solution: Carve out time for intimacy. Arrange for someone else to take the kids once a week, or make the most of any time you have alone at home together.
Sex keeps you feeling physically and emotionally close, so make sure you are both happy with your sex life.
Being taken for granted is one of the fundamental reasons for breakups.
Solution: Appreciation is what keeps us motivated and committed, both in our work and our relationships.
Remembering to compliment or notice the things our partner shows, we are grateful and increases the overall satisfaction with the relationship. Saying thank you goes a long way.
Having kids is a blessing, but it requires a lot of dedication and effort. This can cause a strain on the relationship when partners disagree on the way they want to raise children, address problems that occur, and spend family time.
Solution: Talk to your partner about why they think something should be done differently and share your reasoning. Often, we are repeating or trying to avoid patterns we were raised by.
Get together and spend some time understanding where the need to do things a certain way is coming from. When you understand, you can change and create a new way to parent that works for your family.
When we find the person, we love we want to share everything with them and to have them do the same. However, this can lead to the feelings of losing one’s individuality, feeling of freedom, and a sense of accomplishment.
Solution: What does it take for you to be your own person while being their partner? Think of areas that you want to keep to yourself that give you a feeling of achievement and freedom.
It might be a hobby or doing sports. Talk to your partner, so they don’t feel rejected by this new change and introduce it gradually.
What each of us defines as infidelity and where we draw the line can differ. Infidelity means various things for different people. Infidelity can encompass, besides the sexual act, flirting, sexting or kissing.
When infidelity has occurred, trust is broken, and a person can feel betrayed. This can snowball into many other issues and problems.
Solution: Talking about what infidelity is for you, and your partner is important. They may hurt you inadvertently because, for example, they don’t find flirting a problem.
When something has already occurred, there is a choice to be made. A couple can try to regain trust and rebuild or end the relationship. In case the first one is chosen, seeking professional help can be a wise decision.
Figuring out marriage challenges and solutions and learning how to work out relationship problems is much more productive with counseling.
13. Significant differences
When there is a critical difference in core values, way partners approach life and challenges; issues are bound to happen.
For example, it might be that they are more spontaneous or hedonistic, while you plan more and save rather than spend. Nonetheless, if your views and expectations from life differ considerably, you are bound to argue.
Solution: When there are core dissimilarities between you, you might wonder if you are suited for each other. The answer is – it depends. What kind of change would you both need to undertake for this relationship to survive?
Are you willing you make that change, and how much will it “cost” you? If you decide you can and want to change, by all means, give it a go. This is the only way you will know if the change is enough for this relationship to succeed.
You might be in a happy relationship for a long time before noticing the first signs of jealousy. They might act fine at first but slowly change.
They start asking for your whereabouts, distrusting you, checking up on you, distancing or stifling you, and demonstrating concern about your affection towards them.
Often this behavior is a reflection of previous experiences that were triggered by something that happened in the current relationship.
Solution: Both partners need to make an effort. If your partner is jealous, try to be transparent, predictable, honest, and share. Give them time to get to know you and trust you.
However, for this to be solved, they need to make a separate effort to change their anticipations and work out their concerns. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy, and this line needs to be redrawn.
15. Unrealistic expectations
If you are human, you have unrealistic expectations; no one is free of them. Nowadays, we might expect our partner to play many major roles: the best friend trusted companion, business partner, lover, etc.
We might expect our partner to know what we want without saying it, advocate fairness at all times, or strive to change the other into what you desire them to be.
This can lead to misunderstandings, repeated quarrels, and misfortune.
Solution: If you want to solve a problem, you need to comprehend it first. Ask yourself – what is it that you feel entitled to? If you could wave a magic wand and change things, how would the new, pink reality look like?
What are you doing at the moment that you feel could get you there?
When you grasp what you are expecting to happen, but reality and your partner are depriving you of it, you can start to look for ways to ask differently or ask for different wishes.
16. Growing apart
So many things on the task list, and there is only one of you. How long ago did you stop including things to do with your partner on that list? Drifting apart happens bit by bit, and we don’t notice.
You might wake up one morning and realize you can’t remember the last time you had sex, a date, or a conversation that is more than organizational.
Solution: A relationship is like a flower, and it can not blossom without nourishment. When you notice the signs, it is time to act. It will take time to cross the distance that has been created, but it is possible.
Prioritize your time together, bring back old habits and activities you did together, laugh, and take time to reconnect.
17. Lack of support
When life hits us hard, we cope with it the best we know. However, often our coping skills are not enough, and we need support. Lack of support from a partner can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed.
Long-lasting lack of support also affects the way we value the relationship we are in, and satisfaction drops significantly.
Solution: If you don’t ask, the answer is certainly “no.” Talking about what we need and what we can provide can clear the air of unrealistic expectations.
Unspoken and unfulfilled needs lead to negative beliefs about the relationship.
Understanding what our partner can provide helps adjust what we come to them for and look for alternative sources of support while our partner works on becoming one of the main pillars of encouragement and comfort again.
Substance addiction can put a serious strain on a relationship.
Partner’s addiction can cause a significant effect on the family budget, cause many arguments, increase trust issues, cause ignorance and neglect of children and other family members, and impair overall relationship happiness.
Solution: Couple problems can be worked out with couples therapy. Counseling can be enormously helpful as it helps both partners deal with the issues arising simultaneously.
Understanding what triggers prompt addiction and building new habits as a couple promotes healthier ways of addressing problems. Individual therapy is recommended as well for both partners.
It can help understand the roots and patterns leading to addiction, and provide support to the non-addicted partner.
19. Moving at different speeds
Do you find yourself in a current relationship uncomfortable with the speed the relationship is progressing?
You might find your new partner moving more rapidly, wanting to spend more time together, constantly calling or texting, wanting to go away together, or you to meet their family?
Alternatively, you could be in a relationship that is not progressing the way you hoped it would, and the milestones you desired are not being reached.
When you and your partner need different speeds and intensity of intimacy and commitment, you may argue.
This can lead to becoming terribly upset over seemingly little things, pulling away, and questioning whether this person is for you.
Solution: Don’t sweep things under the rug, rather address what is happening. Avoiding problems is not the best relationship solution.
What kind of reassurance or demonstration of love would bring you back on the same level? How are your needs different, and what can each of you do to find the middle ground?
20. Lack of responsibility
When one of the partners is avoiding taking responsibility, it can cause severe damage to the partnership. Money struggles, child neglect, fight over chores, or playing the blame game can happen daily.
One of the most detrimental factors to the relationship is a significantly uneven distribution of responsibility amongst partners.
Solution: When addressing this issue, the first thing to do is to stop the blaming game. If change is to occur, you need to look forward, not backward. If the change is to be long-lasting, it needs to happen gradually.
Overwhelming a partner to make up for all this time of dodging responsibilities will just prove they were right to steer clear of them.
Controlling behavior happens when one of the partners expects the other to behave in certain ways, even at the expense of the wellbeing of the other partner.
This kind of toxic behavior deprives the other partner’s freedom, confidence, and a sense of self-worth.
Solution: Controlling behavior is a learned pattern of behavior from primary family or previous relationships.
At one point in life, this was beneficial for the controlling partner, and they need to learn to express affection differently. Speak up, set boundaries and adhere to them, and, if possible, try couples counseling.
All relationships undergo periods of fun and boredom. However, when the feeling of monotony and apathy color, most of the days, it is time to react.
Allowing to fall into a daily routine and go with the flow can lead to decreased libido and overall satisfaction with the relationship.
Solution: Think back to the honeymoon phase and recall the things you did as a newly formed couple. What is available from that list today, and what do you still feel you could enjoy?
Make a conscious decision to add spontaneity into the relationship to start the upward spiral to a more eventful relationship.
23. Outside Influences
All couples are exposed to outside influences and opinions on how things should be done.
Some influences are benign like grandparents’ occasional babysitting, while others can be detrimental like disapproval of one spouse by the family or friends of the other.
Solution: Your relationship comes first, and everyone else’s opinion is secondary. Show each other support and that you are a united front against the world.
To resist the influence, you can limit the amount of time spent with or personal information you share with the family members or friends trying to impact you.
Marital problems and solutions may appear quite similar on the outside, but no one knows better than you what you need to make it work.
24. Ineffective argument
Arguments are a part of every relationship. However, the way fights are led, and what is their outcome can have a big impact on the relationship.
Disagreement can be helpful or destructive, depending on what you do with them. Have the same fight over and over, losing temper, or saying things you regret later is bound to make you feel it’s not worth it.
Solution: After an argument, you should feel you have made progress in understanding where your partner is coming from.
A good fight is one after which you have agreed on what can be the first step both will take to resolving the issue. Start by listening to hear the other side, not only by waiting for your turn.
Research together ways to fight better and only ever focus on the next step needed to take.
25. Keeping a scoreboard
When you keep blaming and recalling mistakes each of you has made, you are keeping a virtual scoreboard of each other’s faults. If being right is more important than being with the other person, the relationship is doomed.
This leads up to a build-up of guilt, anger, and bitterness and doesn’t solve any problems.
Solution: Deal with each problem separately unless they are legitimately connected. Focus on the problem at hand and speak your mind. Don’t let it build up and mention months later.
Decide if you want to save the relationship and if you do, learn to accept the past as is and start focusing on where to go from here.
Relationships are marathons
Most relationship problems and solutions would be something that you must have heard about or experienced; still, when it comes to utilizing this common knowledge, not everyone is thorough with the implementation.
It’s not difficult to answer “how to solve marriage problems,” and there is plenty of advice on relationship issues and solutions.
However, when it comes to solving marriage issues and relationship issues advice, everything boils down to effort and implementation.
These common problems in relationships are not completely avoidable, and every couple runs into some of them at one point.
The good news is, working on relationship problems can produce a considerable difference and get your relationship back on track, free from all relationship difficulties.
Be creative, don’t give up on each other, and you will reach the solution.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.