Relationships have never been easy. Two people with diverse personalities, separate aspirations, and their own plans for the future have to do a lot of work to stay on the same page. Joint decision-making is one way that many couples aim to reduce strain on their relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily solve everything. Today we look at the most common stressors hurting modern couples.
Even compromises have to be carefully weighed to ensure that both sides of the partnership feel heard and appreciated. As a result, many relationships benefit from early marriage counseling, allowing couples to identify their partner’s most valued needs and avoid potential conflicts. Here are just a few subjects that tend to crop up.
The Most Common Stressors Hurting Modern Couples
The most common stressors hurting modern couples are obvious once you know where to look. However, it is easy to get caught up in life. Everyone has blind spots. And its helpful to take a moment to reflect on if any of these match your life.
A Decline in Physical Intimacy
For many couples, sex matters. Being physically intimate is an important aspect of keeping the fire going, and the flood of endorphins afterward certainly doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, many of us get caught up in the rat race and come home too put-out or simply too tired to initiate meaningful and pleasurable sex. Over time, this can lead to both partners feeling unwanted, unloved, and unsatisfied. Couples can get ahead of this potential problem by maintaining open communication and setting aside time to enjoy each other’s company in a more intimate setting.
The Division of Domestic Labor
For couples who consider themselves more progressive, the division of domestic labor is a common source of tension. Male partners who may feel very strongly about equality in theory don’t always have the upbringing to apply those beliefs at home. This is especially relevant for couples who have started to have children and is the theme of Darcy Lockman’s recent book All the Rage.
Statistically, men are more involved in child-rearing than they have ever been. But they are less likely to consider the logistics involved in everyday life. This is certainly not a universal truth. But in a household where both partners work a full-time job, an uneven distribution of domestic labor regarding home maintenance and child-rearing can certainly lead to resentment.
Money is one of the most frequent points of conflict for married couples. While you’re living together, sharing expenses, and raising a family, merging finances can seem like a straightforward solution. However, it also requires a lot of constant communication to maintain. One partner may be contributing more financially. They may each have drastically different spending habits. This can lead to one or both partners feeling that their current quality of life or savings for the future are being actively jeopardized by the other.
In a 40+ hour work week, there is plenty of stress to be had. Ideally, all of that stress would end up processed before getting home. But humans are imperfect. Far too many of us take our work home with us and “share” it with our families. You might even recognize when it happens, but it tends to get swept under the rug. Unfortunately, that shared stress can contribute to a range of insecurities within a relationship that can fester when the root cause isn’t thoroughly addressed.
At the core of every joke is a nugget of truth. And we have enough jokes about in-laws to indicate that they are a serious problem for plenty of real relationships. It can prove hard enough dealing with your own parents and siblings. So throwing your spouse’s into the mix certainly will create occasional strain. However, regular communication and clear expectations can help to mitigate additional stress caused by conflicts with your spouse’s family.
The truth is that even the happiest couples will have bad days, weeks, months, even years. The difference is how we choose to address those bad days. And what we are willing to do for our partner’s comfort. It doesn’t always work out. It isn’t always meant to. However, if you want to have an open conversation, that is a good place to start. You can talk about your relationship to help improve communication and understanding between you and your spouse. In this case, marriage therapy and counseling is a great place to start.