Due to stress, relationship problems and solutions can become a theme when you are the caregiver of a relative with a mental disorder. By learning to handle these problems when they occur, you will be better able to navigate them without damaging your relationship.
Nurturing the love between you will help you successfully solve problems and manage stress. By tackling them together, you won’t feel so alone. Besides, “two heads are better than one,” as the old adage goes.
Although most problems can be navigated successfully, there is one problem that can quickly sabotage your marriage.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #1: Relationship Communication
One of the most common relationship problems is lack of communication or poor communication. In fact, this problem can lead to many other problems. One relationship expert commented, “Communication is impossible when you are reading your Kindle, constantly checking your Smartphone or glued to the TV.”
The following are some helpful solutions for improving communication:
– Set communication rules, such as avoiding problem phrases like “You never…” or “You always,” or the rule of never interrupting one another.
– Schedule appointments for talking. Get off the computer, get the kids in bed and turn off those phones to make sure you spend time communicating.
– Show you are paying attention with your body language. Rephrase what the other person is saying. Nod to let them know you are listening. Ask questions for clarification. Avoid negative body language like constantly checking the time, doodling or tapping your foot when you are supposed to be listening.
– Visit a public area when you need to talk if you have a tough time talking to each other without raising your voice. In public places like a restaurant, coffee shop or park, it would be embarrassing if someone saw you yelling at your spouse.
Some specific behaviors that are related to communication problems include the following:
– Negativity – Negativity within your relationship can make it difficult to communicate effectively. Maybe one or both of you constantly nitpicks or nags. Perhaps you are critical of each other. These negative behaviors can quickly break down your communication. You will begin feeling negative around each other if you constantly bring a negative spirit to the relationship. It is easier to communicate with each other and you will feel better around each other when you focus on being more positive. Of course, this does not mean you should neglect to deal with problems in the relationship. Work to pick your battles carefully and communicate in a positive manner.
– Talking to Others about Personal Matters – Talking to others about the problems in your relationship without working to deal with the problem can also be a behavior that leads to a breakdown in communication. This is essentially gossip, and is not a good way to handle your relationship problems. There is a good chance that your partner will feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and even betrayed if you have revealed your personal matters to others. This opens the door for others to remember your problems long after the two of you have dealt with them, and it can even change the way other people react to you or your partner.
A better choice is to work on better communication between the two of you. Instead of turning away from your partner and talking to someone else, turn towards each other. If you do need some help in the relationship with communication, try seeing a good therapist.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #2: Money Problems
Another of the big relationship problems often encountered by couples is the money problem. Money problems often begin before couples even get married. In many cases, they can start as a result of an expensive wedding. To solve this problem and avoid further problems, couples need to begin having some tough conversations about their finances and how they handle them. The following are a few strategies that can be used to help solve and prevent future money problems:
– Set aside some time to have a good, non-threatening talk about financial issues instead of tackling the topic when one or both of you are mad.
– Be very honest about the financial situation you both are currently dealing with.
– Avoid hiding debt or income from each other. When dealing with finances, be willing to pull out important financial documents such as insurance policies, bank statements, investments, credit reports, debts and pay stubs.
– Understand that you both might have different financial philosophies. Realize that both of you probably have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to handling money. Learn from each other.
– Avoid putting financial blame on one another.
– Work on coming up with a joint budget, focusing on having some savings set aside.
– Provide a bit of money for each partner to spend as they please, offering each of you some individual independence.
– Come up with financial goals as a family.
– Discuss potential future financial problems, such as taking care of aging parents that may need help in the future.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #3: Managing Conflict
Managing conflict within a marriage can cause relationship problems as well. Conflict is bound to happen from time to time. However, you cannot afford to allow small conflicts to become toxic to your relationship. It is important to work on getting past anger and finding out which issues are really causing the problems. Also, scapegoating is a problem that often comes along with conflict management issues in a relationship. Maybe you blame your partner for the problems or you take out your frustration and anger on them. It is important to avoid hurting each other by learning to better manage conflict.
The good news is that a few good conflict resolution skills can make a huge difference—helping you both to become more constructive when dealing with disagreements. Here are a few helpful strategies to keep in mind:
– Start with honesty. When you are arguing with your partner, are you working to resolve the problem, or are you trying to pay them back? You may need to change strategies if you are blaming your partner and using hurtful words.
– Remember that you choose how you react when conflict occurs.
– Make some small changes in the way that you respond to conflict. Just a little change can make a big difference. For example, if you often interrupt your partner to defend yourself while they are talking, simply wait until they are done speaking. Just this little change can make a huge difference.
– Be willing to give. If you are wrong, apologize.
– Avoid hurting each other. Remember your love each other; focus on dealing with the real underlying problem, and get help from a good therapist if you feel you need it.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #4: Sex in a Relationship
It may be difficult to believe, but sex in a relationship can quickly become one of the big relationship problems. Even if you both love each other greatly, you may have some sexual incompatibilities. When there is a lack of sexual education or self-awareness, these problems may only get worse. Of course, you should never give up sex, since sex helps couples bond mentally, physically and spiritually, helping to keep your bond as a couple healthy.
What can you do to deal with sexual problems? Here are a few strategies that may help:
– Start planning times to connect intimately. Put sex on the calendar. It can be difficult to find time for sex when you both are extremely busy. Make an appointment with each other for sex. Knowing that sex is on your calendar can actually help you build up some anticipation.
– Consider something new. Try a new position or a new place in the house to have sex. This often can increase the enjoyment you both get.
– Take time to find out what your partner really likes. Talk to each other about sex and what turns you on. You may both want to come up with a list of the things that really turn you on. The more you understand about each other sexually, the better you can meet each others’ needs and enjoy sex within your relationship.
– If you think your sexual problems cannot be fixed by the two of you, consider finding a good sex therapist to help.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #5: Habitual Self Sacrifice
Self sacrifice in itself isn’t a problem. However, habitual self sacrifice can become one of the big relationship problems you have to deal with. When a partner is playing the martyr, they often end up feeling depressed, angry, burned out, resentful and bitter. While it is important to consider the needs of others, you also need to focus on your own desires and needs if you want to have a healthy relationship. Instead of acting like a doormat, you need to teach others how they can treat you. Try using the following strategies to help solve this relationship problem:
– Make sure you stand up for yourself. You need to both take care of yourself and be willing to ask others for help as well.
– Realize that your mate cannot meet all your needs, especially if you don’t communicate what those needs are. Learn to communicate them to your partner.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #6: Trust in Relationships
Any relationship requires a foundation of trust. Lack of trust can quickly lead to many other relationships problems. Do you have problems trusting other people because of unresolved issues in your past? Is your partner doing something that makes you feel like you cannot trust them? It is important to address these issues quickly before the relationship is damaged by a lack of trust.
The good news is that you and your partner can both work on building trust together. Here are a few strategies you can use to help improve trust in your relationship:
– When you say you will call, call.
– If you say you will do something, do it.
– Never lie to your partner.
– Be sensitive to the feelings of your partner, even when having a disagreement.
– Avoid jealousy in the relationship.
– Work hard and make sure you are taking on your share of the workload.
– If you will be late, call and let your partner know.
– Listen to each other.
– Avoid saying things that cannot be unsaid.
– Avoid bringing up wounds from the past
– When problems occur, avoid overreacting to themThus far we’ve addressed six of the common relationship problems that couples face within their marriage. The following are five additional problems and a look at what you can do to avoid them or solve them.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #7: Fighting Over House Chores
For many couples, fighting over house chores is a common relationship problem. While 50 years ago it was common for one partner to work and the other to stay at home and take care of common household chores, today it is very different. For most couples, both partners are working outside of the home and many individuals hold multiple jobs. This means that couples need to work on dividing up those house chores at home so one individual doesn’t end up doing all the household chores. How can you eliminate relationship problems that crop up over dividing up the household chores? Here are a few strategies that you can try:
– Get organized. Come up with a clear list of what needs to be done, agreeing upon who will take on each job. Make sure that both partners have a fair share of the household chores. Failing to divide them fairly can lead to resentment within the relationship.
– Consider other potential solutions to the problem of fighting over house chores. If neither of you have the time, or you both hate doing these chores, perhaps you can work a cleaning service into the budget. Maybe one of you enjoys doing yard work and the other enjoys housework. You can take preferences into consideration when dividing up the chores as long as everything works out to be fair for both partners.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #8: Abuse in a Relationship
Abuse is one of the most serious relationship problems, and it must be dealt with in order to save a relationship. Any type of aggressive behavior should never be tolerated; and this is true even if your mate is mentally ill. Physical abuse is always unacceptable. In many cases, it begins with emotional abuse that starts out with one partner blaming the other one all the time, but it can quickly escalate.
How do you deal with this relationship problem? First, realize that sexual and physical abuses are both relationship deal-breakers. If this is happening, the relationship should be ended permanently. The partner that is being abusive needs to see a professional to learn how to manage anger and how to control their behavior and emotions. While progress may be made after an individual gets help, there is still a big risk that abuse could reoccur, which is why it is not a good idea for a partner to return to a partner that has been abusive in the past. The abused partner needs to get help and deal with the issues they are dealing with to ensure they avoid getting involved in another relationship that turns abusive.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #9: Being Self-Absorbed
Being self-absorbed is another of the relationship problems that must be solved for a healthy relationship to continue. This occurs when one or both partners feel that everything is about them, allowing their own interests to take priority in a way that is unbalanced and potentially toxic to the relationship. When one partner is self-absorbed, the other individual in the relationship often feels unimportant, deprived of attention and resentment may begin to build. Partners that are self-absorbed are more likely to take their relationship for granted as well, which can cause further damage to the relationship.
To solve this problem, both partners need to be involved in both giving and receiving within the relationship. One partner cannot give all the time and likewise, one partner cannot constantly receive all the time. There must be balance within the relationship. It is also important that both partners avoid taking the relationship for granted, making sure that they appreciate each other and the relationship they have.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #10: Trying to Control Your Partner
Yet another of the relationship problems that may occur within a marriage is trying to control your partner. This may include being overly possessive, too much of a perfectionist, wanting everything to go your way or insisting that your partner changes. Of course, everyone has their own preferences, but individual preferences should not be taken to the extreme. When one partner’s preferences begin trampling the needs, rights and desires of their partner, it can cause difficulty. Everyone needs to have their own self determination and freedom to choose. Threatening these needs may lead to rebellion, anger or resentment.
To solve the problems that come with trying to control your partner, it is important to understand what the motivation actually is behind this need. The partner that has control issues needs to deal with the motivations that spur the controlling behavior. Instead of acting on the need to control within the relationship, dealing with the issues behind the need can help solve the problem.
Common Relationship Problems and Solutions #11: Being Emotionally Unavailable
Last, being emotionally unavailable is another of the relationship problems that must be solved if you are going to enjoy each other. Making your relationship a priority is essential, and this doesn’t stop when you walk down the isle and say those vows. Over time, relationships can begin losing some of their luster, which means you will have to work at making it a priority.
Certain behaviors often occur when you are emotionally unavailable—behaviors such as refusing to notice or give attention to your partner. Sometimes workaholics and addicts may be prone to this type of behavior. The whole point of a relationship is to meet the needs of one another while offering each other companionship. If you are not being available to your partner because of other preoccupations, interests or activities, then you may seem to be absent from the relationship.
Denying your partner by failing to show caring, affection, love and support also is part of being emotionally unavailable. It is not enough to simply be there physically. You must be there emotionally as well—meeting your partner’s needs for affect and love.
The following are a few strategies that can be used to help deal with this problem:
– Think about how you are spending your time. Make sure you are making your partner a priority, spending plenty of quality time with them to keep that connection going.
– Make sure you are aware of your partner and willing to show your feelings, both with verbal and non-verbal behavior. To keep your relationship healthy and strong, expressing love with caring, support and affection is extremely important.
– Work to do some of the same activities you did together when you first started dating, such as offering compliments, keeping in contact during the day, showing interest and making small appreciative gestures.
– Treat each other with respect to show that the partner matters. Use polite words like “thank you.”
– Plan to have date nights on a regular basis. You shouldn’t stop dating just because you got married. You still need to take time out for each other.
Relationship problems are sure to show up in any relationship. To make sure they don’t sabotage your marriage, be willing to take inventory of the relationship—finding ways to work on any problems to keep the relationship healthy. Address problems quickly to ensure they don’t lead to greater relationship problems in the future.
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