It is a myth that if you are with the right partner you will never have conflict, or not experience problems in a relationship. In reality relationships will have rocky times and even times of doubt about whether you should be in your relationship at all. Couples, when they enter into a relationship, don’t fuse into one person, each becoming the “better half” of the other. They remain individuals who merge lives. This comes with its own problems and pains because it’s not always an easy thing to do: share your life with another day in and day out. All couples will face some (or at least one) major issues. They won’t all look the same but couples who sail through troubled waters do so with good communication and a sense of partnership. Here’s how to deal with the major dramas that may head your way.
- A major conflict that has one of you thinking about leaving
It’s not uncommon to have a huge conflict in which you question your relationship. Most people take their vows very seriously when they marry, and their promises equally so, when they move in together, even without a legal union. But even with the gravity of those vows and promises, when a couple experiences a deep conflict, one or both partners may question for the first time whether they can weather the storm, whether they are in the right relationship, and if their values align enough to move forward happily and healthily.
First, know it’s normal to be a little scared about big conflict, but the best way through it is to talk it out, rather than hide from it. Nothing good comes from running from problems so better to face your feelings and fears head on. Don’t be too afraid to say, this is making me worry you might leave over it. Or this is scaring me and I don’t want it to break us up, how can we get through it? Don’t just rely on yourself in isolation during conflict – enlist your partner too so you can face it as a team. As a result you’ll learn terrific, solid, reassuring conflict resolution skills and be able to face smaller problems in the future with ease – and without questioning your future together.
- No time for each other
Most couples will face the issue of lack of time prioritising one another at some point. It may be due to childrearing and the time away from you both that raising kids can take, or it may be workload, work shifts, travel or other personal and family issues. It may even be an illness that strikes you or your family. Whatever the reason, the approach as a couple is the same: regroup and prioritise one another as your number one partner. Without making your partner feel like you are their primary ally in life, in good and bad times, and them doing the same for you, it’s easy to feel alone. And resentment can build, as can anger and then disruption to your home life, for everyone.
The best thing you can do to secure a solid foundation in your life together is to make one another your main priority and balance their needs, and they balance your needs, at all times with anything else going on in life. Without this approach, couples inevitably find themselves growing apart over time.
- Money problems
Finances are one of the main subjects couples fight about and it also directly affects how people view happiness, stress, and quality of life. How you each approach saving and spending money will directly impact how you live your life together in your relationship. Be on the same page with your financial goals and your values about how best to spend and save money from the outset of your relationship to avoid the pit many couples fall into, clashing time and time again over money spent. And if you haven’t agreed before now, don’t waste another moment. Sit down and decide together how you share money, what you agree you should consult each other on before spending money on and what your shared goals are for saving for the future.
- Family issues
Extended family or blended family issues are another top problem many couples will face. Whether a couple has children from a previous relationship to blend into their current relationship, or highly involved and/or dysfunctional in-laws, family issues come with the territory of relating with one another and sharing life together. You don’t just commit to your partner, you accept them and all their loved ones along with the package. That doesn’t mean you need to accept everything about them without negotiation. It is fair to say your partner is your first and foremost allegiance. Their family, and yours, come second to that. When you both recognise this value and act accordingly, your partnership strengthens and you give each other the security of knowing you have each other’s back and no one, not even family, can threaten your relationship. From there, you’re much better able to extend yourself to other people in need, and their dramas, including even your in-laws.
- Lack of intimacy
Once someone starts to feel their relationship is no longer intimate, a great deal of the joy leaves it. People enter into a romantic relationship for many reasons: love, passion, sex, companionship, to start a family, and more. People choose to continue in a romantic relationship because their expectations are mostly met and they assess that they are happier inside the relationship than they would be without it. As well, they commit to their partner, and life together, and believe that a shared life is a happy life. But without that sense of sharing, with at least some of the rapport, chemistry and intimate alone time, spent sensually, emotionally and intellectually, couples will disintegrate into a joyless state in which life together feels like a chore rather than something special to cherish. So recognise how important sex and sensuality is in your relationship. Sometimes when all else fails, sex is the glue that keeps you feeling like a committed couple. Don’t neglect touch in your relationship. Ask for it, initiate it, always maintain the kisses, hand holding, snuggles and yes the sex.