Unless you are extraordinarily fortunate, your relationship is likely to travel over bumpy ground at times. You will hit the occasional pot hole and get stuck in unmoveable traffic at times. Some days, travelling along the highway through a picturesque countryside is not your reality. Maybe, even right now.
Having travelled over many road conditions numerous times and shared relationship travel experiences for many years, I want to share the top 4 problems that spoil and can threaten to ruin your relationship.
Even if you think that your relationship is water-tight these problems have the potential to place great pressure on it and create a problem for even the most seemingly perfect union. Identifying them and taking steps to address them effectively can lead to a happier, healthier relationship that lasts.
So, let’s get ready to rumble!
#4. Household chores and Busyness
Oh, how we would welcome back those rocking chair years where there would be time to just sit on the porch and rock. Our rat race lifestyle seemingly calls us to account for every minute and extract the last second out of each minute.
Mobile providers have introduced per second billing and we are engaged in per second living.
That mindset takes its toll on our relationships. Our chores and general busyness is not often cited in divorce proceedings but they represent a major bone of contention between couples at some point. Sooner or later this comes up as a complaint from one partner or the other. It is high on the complaints chart.
Is there a solution? Is there a “downloadable” fix?
Here is my take:
The issue requires the active participation of the partners and the family unit where that applies. Teamwork is needed. And you say, but that is the problem! S/he is too busy to even recognize the problem much less to be a part of the solution.
I understand. The key is to set up the right conditions under which you can make a subtle appeal to a greater good. Assuming that the relationship is valued by the partners, a link should be drawn to highlight the potential threat to the relationship that the existing situation represents.
Back that up with an action plan that is doable.
“Can you put out the garbage on your way out in the mornings?”
“Could you bathe one of the children while I fix their lunch kits?”
“We are both under pressure in the evenings, what if I do the dishes M/W/F/S and you do T/T/S? I will have a surprise for you each Thursday.”
Division of labour is not just useful in the economic sphere. Share roles and take turns to combat busy-ness and chore dominance. Take care to share the unpleasant and frustrating tasks as well.
Ensure that you stick to the agreements or that will simply open up another set of challenges related to trust issues and not keeping your word.
Playing some of your old favourites will also brighten the mood and create an atmosphere of calm.
Among the top 4 problems that mess up your relationship this might be the trickiest one to fix.
Money problems can affect any couple…..celebrated cases of financial crashes abound.
The challenge is that there is often not a quick fix solution.
But even when there are no problems with your finances and you are able to meet your obligations and live comfortably, money related conflict can couch at your door.
Issues may arise about how the funds are being used and that can lead to major confrontations and withdrawal of privileges that help to fuel the relationship.
So, what can you do when money issues start of have negative impact on your relationship?
Here are some concrete countering activities:
- Strive to create a budget that takes into account all the needs and obligations. Put everything on the table, including your creature habits.
- Do your part to help stick within the budget and be willing to be held accountable without making a fuss.
- Avoid impulse buying. Hide your credit card when browsing the Internet. Become a zombie when watching those cable infomercials.
- Don’t hide purchases. That opens up trust issues and a whole new challenge to the relationship.
- Include leisure time, release money in the budget. You can go back to the days when you were given pocket money by your parents. This is an allowance that can be used without needing to provide an account of how it was spent.
- Remember that financial stress is a major trigger for anger outbursts. Steel yourself to identify and resist responding to the trigger. Stay calm and do not take the problem out on your partner.
- Let the overall good be the guideline and not equality. Think of the longer term and what is best for you as a couple and for your family. It does not matter who is getting the lion share right now and whose needs are placed on hold.
- Above all, remember the relationship is paramount. Working closely together gives you the best option of getting over your financial problems.
This is often uncomfortable to discuss and so acceptance of its impact and open discourse about it is unfortunately avoided.
Sexual intercourse is a major component of most healthy, loving relationships. Sexual intimacy is one way in which couples show their passion for each other. It helps them to feel more connected and tightens the bond between them. Truth be told, sex is simply the most intimate act that couples share.
Unfortunately, like the relationship, the sex component also travels over different terrain. The sex life of a couple is not always highway driving through the countryside in bright sunshine.
It would take too long to recite the complaints and concerns that are typically reported and experienced by couples with respect to sex.
So, the question is, am I brave enough to suggest a fix for the #2 problem that messes up relationships?
Here you go:
- Put the discomfort aside and have a frank one-on-one discourse with your partner about each other’s sexual desires, expectations and wants.
- Put aside ‘what you know about men or women’. Be willing to listen with an open mind to your partner’s needs, even if it runs counter to what you know to be true.
- Avoid blame games and dart throwing. “You are never available”. “That is all on your mind.”
- Work to create an environment that is more conducive to intimacy. Lay the groundwork from days or at least hours ahead.
- Work to synchronize the start of sleep time – at least occasionally. That allows for connection through pillow talk and supports physical intimacy over time.
- “New” …you take that where it leads you – within the relationship.
It is perfectly natural for couples to grow apart sexually after some time together. Relationships require ongoing maintenance.
I have prepared a relationship maintenance manual just for you. It is an interactive e-book that allows you to and your spouse to complete the exercises and then compare notes. This is a 30-day engagement that is sure to bring the spice back into your life.
Fill out this form to request your copy of R.O.M.P.
Paste this message in the Comment box: I want to spice up my relationship. Please send me R.O.M.P. now. Then continue to #1.
Communication goes to the root of virtually all issues that challenge relationships.
That is why it occupies the #1 spot among the top 4 problems that mess up relationships.
Couples face the challenge of the gender hurdle when communicating. Men and women speak totally different languages. It might take years to decipher some of what is being communicated. In some instances, the message is lost forever.
The culture and socialization differences further complicate the communication process.
A huge factor that is not widely understood is the role of behavioural preferences in the communication process. I teach a language of behaviours to help couples understand “style speak.”
“Consider it done” might mean you can rely on me to complete the task coming from one style. From another style it might simply mean I have heard your request but in the flurry of activities I might well be done with it. You had best remind me about it.
Style speak is a whole new skill that makes it easier to relate to anyone.
Fill in the form below to learn more about the language of behaviours.
Enter the comment: I want to master style speak. Then continue to #0 Bonus.
OK, so this is technically 5. But it is off the chart so that is my story and I am sticking to it.
One of the biggest threats to relationships is procrastination. We sense a problem and we even identify the solution but we sit still and do nothing. Left alone time is no great healer.
So, right now set aside a few minutes to watch this presentation on a technique called Conversation Chemistry. This is powerful stuff for those in or out of a relationship. It is going to take a little time but it is worth the investment.