Whether it’s the birth of a new baby or the death of a business, certain key moments can try the relationship of even the most committed couple. “Psychologists who study marriage have identified nine areas that every couple has to work out agreements in to have a satisfying marriage,” said Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman, co-authors of How To Know If It’s Time To Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage.
“They are money, sex, parenting, relationships with extended family and friends, religion, household responsibilities and gender roles, drug or alcohol use, how to spend leisure time, career and job-related issues.” No relationship is perfect, of course, but dealing with severe disagreements in more than one or two of these areas can make life tough.
Here’s how to deal with challenges
You are moving in together. “You’ve got two people with different upbringings, trying to create a new life where they both have space,” says Kim Busch, a provisional registered psychologist with the Calgary Counselling Centre. To manage this successfully, she says, you have to let go of your preconceived ideas and create a unique home as a couple.
Financial troubles. “A huge percentage of couples do not track how they spend their money or have a budget,” says Dr. Jan Hoistad, a licensed psychologist and author of Romance Rehab: 10 Steps to Rescue Your Relationship.
“Another difficulty is deciding who should pay the bills and keep the money records for the household, which can lead to only one person being fully informed, or taking turns but not having a mutually agreed upon joint system.” Head this off by working with a financial counselor, setting up a budget, and confirming who will do what in terms of your finances.
Some root cause
You are buying a new house. This causes stress, and the couple can revert to bad habits or patterns that may be destructive to the relationship, says Busch. “Remembering where stress originates can be helpful.”
#298 – How to deal with a relationship where someone isn’t talking…
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They are experiencing job loss or business failure. “It’s devastating to a marriage when one or both partners lose their job or take a serious drop in income,” said Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) recommends that the unemployed person should establish a daily routine and goals that include job searching, get employment counseling, and try volunteering.
They have children. “Children are a joy but also a major stressor,” says Busch. Ensuring that both partners are equally involved in daily parenting, and taking time out to reconnect as a couple will help maintain emotional intimacy. Retiring.
This can create a real identity crisis and trouble within a relationship, especially if the retirement was forced. Reaching out to old friends, volunteering, and renewing old hobbies and interests, as the CMHA suggests, can keep the retiree busy and your relationship on an even keel.
If one of these issues crops up in your relationship, don’t wait to tackle the issue head-on as a couple. “When a couple has trouble working out their issue in one major area, it can start a cascade of troubles, uncovering disagreements in many others,” says Dr. Birnbach.
“One patient, for example, was so frustrated with his wife’s inability to live within their financial means that he began to abuse alcohol. His wife retaliated by withholding sex. It’s a downward spiral.” Instead, prioritize your relationship and be proactive to help you keep your partnership strong. Your girlfriend is a torturous? Get rid of her with the help of this article.