Every couple experiences problems in their marriage, and those issues seem to be universally common. If you could be a fly on the wall in our office during the counseling sessions we’ve held over the years, you would hear many similar stories and scenarios repeating themselves among a host of different couples. While the individual features of each scenario are unique, many of the issues come down to the same core problems.
Once the honeymoon phase of a marriage has passed, many couples are perplexed when issues and disappointments begin to take root. Building a happy, lifelong marriage takes work, and there will be times when the two of you are at odds. The trick is overcoming those issues and coming out stronger on the other side of them.
If you’re experiencing some everyday challenges in your relationship–whether you’re facing unmet expectations, unpredictable events or seasons in your life, poor choices, or underlying issues you haven’t yet examined–it’s important to know that there is hope. Let’s look at what you need to know about the everyday problems you and your spouse might be facing in your marriage.
1. You’re not alone in your experience.
When we’re in the middle of difficult times, it’s easy to feel isolated, or like we’re the only ones going through a rough patch. But the truth is, you’re rarely alone in what you’re experiencing. Chances are, you know at least one other couple that has faced the circumstances you’re in right now. The best way to end the feeling of isolation and helplessness is to seek out counseling from a licensed professional who can help put your minds at ease.
A good counselor will be able to help you create a new perspective on whatever you’re facing. Alternatively, if you have a mentor couple, you might consider asking for their advice. They may be able to share valuable insights from the trenches that help you two determine your next steps.
2. Everyday problems aren’t insurmountable.
While everyday problems can eventually accumulate over time, you need to know that they aren’t insurmountable. Marital issues can be (and often are) solved in favor of long-term improvement. However, it’s your responsibility to see the issues you’re facing as things you can overcome.
Whatever you’re going through in your marriage, it’s important to view those things as temporary challenges. It’s essential to believe that you’ll be able to solve a problem together. If you don’t believe you can overcome something, it’s going to be that much more difficult to get the best-case outcome. While it’s normal to feel discouraged from time to time, work toward building and maintaining a belief that you can solve whatever you’re facing right now.
3. There are steps you can take right away to overcome problems in your marriage.
To begin facing down challenges in your marriage, there are things you can start doing immediately. Here are a few:
- Ask for help.
Poor communication is at the root of many everyday problems married couples face. Talking through those issues–even if it’s hard–is the key to start unraveling them.
Listening well through difficult conversations is one of the most essential keys to overcoming everyday problems. Don’t listen to reply. Instead, listen to understand where your spouse is coming from so you might gain a better understanding of the circumstances.
Once you’ve gathered and shared information, take a pause to process what you’ve communicated to one another. You can’t “fix” some problems overnight, and sometimes the best responses come when you’ve given yourself time to sort things out.
Consider what you’ve learned about the conflict you’re facing, both from your spouse and from yourself. Journal if you need to. Ask yourself questions. Spend a little time pondering on the information you’ve gathered before you rush headlong into trying to fix the issue.
While you’re pausing to evaluate and understand, take a walk in your spouse’s shoes. Try to view the issue from their perspective, and practice empathy in order to get a better read on their position.
If you’re finding yourselves in a stalemate, or if you’re having trouble landing on a resolution, consider asking for help. A skilled counselor can help you navigate whatever you’re facing so you can come out stronger when it’s over.
If you need a bit of extra help unraveling your challenges together, check out our book, I Love You More: How Everyday Problems Can Strengthen Your Marriage. It takes a deeper dive into common problems in chapter three, including the five root causes of many conflicts and specific examples of real couples who overcame their own marital challenges. You can get your own copy here, along with companion workbooks for men and women.
How do you and your spouse face everyday issues in your marriage? Share your stories in the comments.