In the United States, over half of all marriages end in divorce; and many more marriages are truly miserable unions – with constant bickering and fighting when spouses aren’t simply avoiding each other altogether. So what’s the deal? Why can’t we all just get along? The real causes for marital conflict are much simpler than you might think; and, when you understand them, you’ve got a chance of creating a more harmonious relationship.
The real reason for marital conflict is stress – plain and simple. Stress is caused by many things; but simply understanding what stress is and how to deal with it can not only save your marriage, but save your life. Here are five of the most common reasons for stress and conflicts in marriages:
1. Money. One of the most common reasons for stress and arguments in marriages is money – how much there is, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going. The true nature of financial stress, however, is an underlying feeling of lack. If one or both partners in a marriage grew-up in poverty or lack, or have somehow been conditioned to think there isn’t enough to go around, then there are likely to be problems. This type of stress also affects spending habits – which can create additional stress as it further drains the family funds. Stressed-out people spend their money on consumables to make themselves feel better, or to create diversions and distractions to soothe their anxiety. In the current U.S. and world economy, this is a very big and very real issue for most people.
2. Friends and/or Family. Enlightenment is not very common; and, if you’re surrounded by friends and family, chances are there are personality conflicts that will interfere with your relationship. Poisonous or possessive friends, controlling family members, and even “nosy neighbors,” can create tension and discord within a relationship with their judgments, opinions, and “advice.”
3. Sex. Too much, not enough, or not the right kind of sex in a relationship is one of the bigger and more common reasons for marriage difficulties. Sex is one of the reasons people get married; and unmet expectations is a big reason for arguments, hard feelings, and divorce. Communication is a key element in overcoming these kinds of problems; and honest communication prior to marriage can help avoid them altogether. If you aren’t compatible with the other person, it is crazy for either one of you to expect the other to “suffer through” the rest of their life. Be honest with yourself and your partner about your expectations; and be reasonable, as well.
4. Household duties. Oftentimes, men get married and think they’ve simply replaced the mother who used to pick-up their dirty laundry and prepare dinner for them – among other things. Women and men both fall into the trap of going from a blissful boyfriend/girlfriend relationship to one of high expectations placed on the other to provide the things and services that parents once provided for them. If you are a parent, do your kids a favor by teaching them how to take care of themselves. If you don’t, they may get lucky and find someone who thrives on self-sacrifice; but, chances are, you’re creating the ingredients for at least one failed marriage and a lot of unmet expectations and unhappiness.
5. Children/Child-rearing. Couples often have disagreements about how to raise children. Boys are usually raised differently than girls; so a husband would naturally have different ideas about how to raise a child than a wife does. Also, it is not likely that your parents raised you in the same way, or with the same values and habits, that your spouse was raised with. Again, communication and a unified front will help overcome this difficulty.
The bottom line is that you must decide what kind of marriage you want; and then you must communicate with your partner and find some happy middle-ground. Most people want to be happy and loved; they simply have different ideas about what these things mean – and how to go about creating them in a marriage. Take some time to communicate with your partner to resolve unmet expectations and conflicts before they lead to health problems, anger, divorce, or even violence. Marital conflict resolution is a skill-set few people are taught growing-up; but you can create a happy and loving relationship with a little care, attention, communication and effort. It is definitely worth the time and effort; and your health, happiness, and marriage depends on it.