Relationships can be challenging. At the beginning, it’s all fun and games, but relationships evolve over time. The ability to handle these bumps in the road effectively determines how successful the relationship will ultimately be. They key is to be prepared for the most common relationship challenges and know how to deal with them.
Let’s take a look at some common obstacles couples face:
- The realization that your partner isn’t everything you need. Expectations are high in relationships. Before you know the other person well, it’s easy to imagine they’re everything you’d ever need from another person: a soul mate, sounding board, best friend, and perfect lover.
- After five years of marriage, the truth reveals itself. Your partner isn’t everything you need.
- No single person can completely satisfy the needs of another. Expect to have no more than 80% of your need fulfilled by your partner. You’ll have to find the other 20% somewhere else. This might be the need to watch horror movies with someone else, have intellectual conversations, talk about shopping, or talk about sports.
- Communication issues. Communication is like sex. One partner seems to want to do it more than the other. Set aside time each day for a few minutes to talk. Practice good listening skills. One person may be miserable for those few minutes sometimes, but putting healthy communication into practice often allows you to sharpen that skill. It’s necessary to build trust and intimacy which bonds you more closely to each other.
Click here to learn about the bonding stages that men go through.
- Trust issues. Some people have difficulty trusting others. Some people are more resentful than others when they don’t receive the level of trust they think they deserve. Be trustworthy and expect the same from your partner. There are little things you can do to build trust.
- Be on time.
- Be open.
- Avoid jealousy.
- Be honest.
- Be open regarding your whereabouts.
- There will be financial disagreements. Financial issues often lead to relationship challenges. It’s easy for the feelings of stress and anxiety to be taken out on your partner. You have to blame someone, right?
- The solution is to form an alliance with your partner and deal with the financial challenges head-on. Otherwise, one person will deal with it alone and resentment occurs.
- Division of labor. In some cultures, there’s no disagreement. Men do certain chores and women do theirs. In the US, it’s not always so clear.
- Make a list of all the chores that need to be done. Divide them into three lists – daily, weekly, and monthly.
- Sit down together and divide up the list in a way that you’re both satisfied with. You might consider taking turns choosing chores. After a few months, you can swap.
- The urge to cheat is real. Monogamy sounds great on paper, but is a little tougher in practice. Monogamy is not built into humans biologically. You and the people around you were created by those that had the greatest urge to have sex many thousands of years ago. It’s only natural that you, and others around you, have the urge to do the same.
- Having said that, just because monogamy is challenging doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. Cheating is the result of short-term thinking. Keep your eye on the long-term perspective.
- Getting stuck in a rut. This happens when there’s too much routine and the future isn’t compelling. Set a few goals together to make the future more interesting. Talk about what your hopes and dreams are. How can you fulfill those together? Make some big plans for the future that you can strive towards as a couple.
Avoid the belief that a good relationship is easy 100% of the time. It creates unreasonable expectations. Bumps in the road are natural and common to every couple. Expect that challenges will occur and be prepared for them.
Part of preparing for difficult times is making sure the close bond between you and your partner is nurtured on a daily basis. But did you know that the pathway to emotional bonding is different for men than it is for women?
If your partner is male, it is critical to understand the bonding stages that are unique to him. As women, we try to nurture our men in the way we want to be nurtured but his bonding process is different than yours. When you really “get it”, the emotional closeness that you feel with one another is what will be the ammunition you need get you through the rough patches.
To learn about how to get him to open up, communicate, and bond to you in a way that doesn’t frustrate him or get him to shut down, check out “The Bonding Stages” by relationship counselor Bob Grant.