Every marriage has its ups and downs, its own unique challenges and perpetual problems. When two individuals from different backgrounds with different personalities form a unit, conflict is bound to arise from time to time.
Becoming a smoothly operating team will present its own hurdles. Add the pressures of earning a living, finding a place to call home, and managing a family. You can easily see why problems crop up.
But what if you’re actually adding to the inevitable challenges and creating your own marital problems?
Consider some ways that may happen.
How You May Be Creating Problems in Your Marriage
Here are five fundamental actions and attitudes that can cause complications between you and your spouse.
1. Your schedule is so crowded that there is little time left to spend with your spouse.
Everything else that is important—work, children, friends, extended family, special events, etc.—has a spot on your calendar, except your spouse. Your marriage has ceased to be a priority.
Lamentably, not making your relationship a focal point—including not showing genuine interest and appreciation, giving heartfelt compliments, or being respectful—will make your spouse think they don’t matter to you anymore.
2. You hear your spouse speak, but you’re not truly listening to them.
If you’re constantly distracted with checking your phone, text messaging, watching TV, or letting phone calls interrupt your conversation, you’re creating a communication barrier. Even your body language—you pick at your nails, you doodle, you look at your watch, your eyes wander, etc.—can show that you’re not paying attention to what your spouse is saying.
Can you actually rephrase what they said after they stop talking? Did you understand the meaning behind their words? Communication—transferring their spoken thoughts to your mind—can’t happen unless you truly listen without distraction.
3. You voice your complaints and wait for your spouse to make changes, but it NEVER happens.
Certainly, it’s important to have the freedom to disagree with your spouse or to state your discontent. After all, if you don’t put your issues on the table, they can never be resolved. However, when your complaints are not geared to solving the problem, but instead to simply blame your spouse, there will be little motivation to change.
Moreover, if you believe that the happiness of your marriage solely rests on your spouse taking responsibility and changing, you’ve created a deadlock. That’s the problem when you focus on what you can’t control, rather on what you can—yourself.
4. You say you will do something, but then you don’t see it through.
Being inconsistent and rarely on time, not doing what you say you’ll do, or calling when you say you will, not carrying your share of the daily workload, or not respecting your spouse’s boundaries are all ways to undermine the trust between you. And when trust begins to crumble, safety and security are lost.
Over time, your spouse will begin questioning your sincerity and trustworthiness in other aspects of your marriage.
5. You think sex is for your own gratification
Sex should bring you closer together, not force you apart. But when you don’t tune into what your spouse wants and needs, you don’t encourage intimacy. Sexual relations are the most physically intimate interactions you will have with your mate. If you don’t take your time to explore their needs and instead make it all about your own needs, what should be an enjoyable experience may begin backfiring on you.
It’s not all about you, it’s about them, too. When your spouse doesn’t enjoy sex, you won’t get much satisfaction from it either.
If you now recognize that you’re perhaps inadvertently creating some of your own marital problems, don’t be disheartened. Problems can be solved. Be willing to take a good look at yourself and work on your marriage. If you don’t know exactly where to start, seek out a skillful marriage counselor for support and guidance.