Among the many couples who’ve consulted with us, we’ve come across two common problems that they fight about the most. To the passing eye, these everyday problems aren’t threatening – but any couple should know better than to ignore them.
Just because they're common, it doesn't mean you should take them for granted. They can slip under the radar and slowly eat away at the foundations of your relationship.
Before you know it, it will be too late to reverse the damage they have caused. Identifying them as early as now can help you deal with these sneaky threats as they try to slip into your marriage.
As mentioned earlier, some couples tend to dismiss certain problems as superficial. But ignoring the long-term impact of fundamental disagreements is dangerous - especially those of the financial kind.
At the beginning of a marriage, it’s easy to sweep money matters under the rug. From our experience however, we’ve seen this silent killer end more relationships than we'd care to count.
One of the most basic things that you should understand is that both you and your spouse came from different backgrounds. On top of your upbringing, you should also factor in your individual experiences which have shaped your views on money (or life for that matter).
The typical scenario goes like this - in a given couple, one of the partners came from a family where money was tight. Naturally, this makes him or her more frugal than the other partner who probably didn't have to worry about money while growing up.
Obviously, these contrasting views are bound to clash when they come together in a marriage. As these "little" disagreements go unprocessed, the negative feelings will gradually pile up.
(And as we've talked about in the past, letting the resentment overpower the affection in your marriage can cause it to go bankrupt.)
Be pro-active by having a proper discussion with your spouse as soon as you can in order to set things straight early on.
Start off by sharing your experiences with money as you were growing up. You might think you already have your spouse figured out, but you'll both be surprised by how much more you'll learn about each other.
In fact, the couples we've helped are often shocked by just how polarized their opinions are when it comes to money.
Don't fall into this trap - do the groundwork and brainstorm how to build a middle ground for your opposing views.
Once you've gained a better understanding of where the other is coming from, this becomes a starting point for accepting your differences. In time, you'll develop a more unified view on how money should be handled in the household.
(Side note: if you need help with coming up with a shared vision, there are a series of exercises in our "Save My Marriage Today" book which deals with goal-setting and other critical topics.)
Once you've sorted this out, you'll save yourselves a ton of potential headaches and have a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.
In the initial stages of a marriage, the level of passion is high; this is often called the "falling in love" stage of the relationship.
But when things have calmed down a bit and your marriage has settled into a routine, the "spark" naturally dims a little. While this "reality check" phase is an expected part of the relationship's life cycle, the danger of getting lazy can creep in if you allow it.
Maintenance is one of the most overlooked ingredients in a successful marriage. After a year or two into your marriage, there will be moments when you don't feel like making an effort, but this is NOT an excuse to be complacent.
Just because your level of enthusiasm has dipped a little, it doesn't mean you should stop pleasing your partner. Don't give in to this feeling because pretty soon, you might not feel like doing anything at all for your spouse.
And when you reach that point, your relationship will be in the red. Safeguard yourselves against taking each other for granted!
Show your spouse that you're committed to keeping your marriage fun, fresh and energized - this is what will remind you why you got married in the first place.
As a couple, you have to make the effort to put the importance of spending quality time in your collective consciousness. Given the hectic and demanding lifestyle you both lead, you'll NEVER find time for each other unless you consciously decide to MAKE time.
If you value your relationship, don't treat your dates as an afterthought. Sit down with your partner and figure out a realistic schedule where you've deliberately added a slot for "we time".
Here's a quick guide to planning your dates:
a) Make a list of activities you enjoy as a couple.
b) Compare your schedules and figure out when you can do them.
c) Get a calendar (placed somewhere conspicuous) and block off your chosen days with a big red X!
Everyday life can get in the way of keeping the romance alive, but if there's a will, there's a way.
Hire a babysitter or get the grandparents to watch the kids.
Turn down a project or skip overtime if it's not a matter of life and death.
In many ways, your schedules need to be built around your "we time". Otherwise, you could very well lose sight of what's truly important in your marriage: each other.
Holding Down The Fort
Like a garden, your marriage is an emotional investment which has to be nurtured and kept safe from external threats. By developing the foresight to deal with potential problems, you can stop them in their tracks before they set up camp in your relationship.
The end result is that your marriage will remain healthy and vibrant throughout the years.