5 Common Obstacles of a Well-Established Marriage (and How to Manage Them)

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A happy, healthy marriage is not a destination. It’s a process. The rules change, the variables evolve, and goals keep shifting. Even a well-established marriage will face obstacles. How those obstacles are managed is a testament to commitment and communication. Relationships require work but here’s a pro tip: that work can be fun and fulfilling.

Face the Facts

The notorious 50-percent divorce rate has remained roughly intact for decades. Consider too, that the average length of marriage before divorce is eight years. On top of that, spouses typically ponder divorce for two years prior to making it official.

All this adds up to some important realities. Even established marriages can take an ugly turn and issues may brew for years. The numbers are worse for second or third marriages.

Translation: Marriage is an important commitment that requires our full attention. Well-established marriages are the result of determination and some healthy habits.

Some Healthy Habits Within a Well-Established Marriage

Every connection is unique and involves its own set of factors. Even so, there are some universal threads that bond us as couples. This bond is fused by healthy habits, for example:

  • Build on communication — healthy, frequent, open communication

  • Honor yourselves as both partners and individuals

  • Maintain intimacy in all its guises

  • Express gratitude on a daily basis

  • Set and respect boundaries

  • Appreciate your time apart

  • Make time to reminisce

5 Common Obstacles of a Well-Established Marriage (& How to Manage Them)

1. Major Life Change

This could range from losing a job to relocating to managing health issues to enduring a tragedy in the family. Traumatic events can alter our lives but, as a couple, it’s essential to talk about their impact as soon as possible. Even the biggest challenge is made more manageable by frequent, forthright communication.

2. Financial Concerns

Money can easily become the root of much marital strife. Discuss your finances frequently. Do not wait for a potential crisis. Manage money as a team and make room for disagreement, cooperation, and resolution.

3. Kids and Other Responsibilities

You were once reckless, spontaneous lovers. But now you may feel like roommates; or worse, business partners running a daycare center. At this stage, take the opportunity to display your commitment. Put in the work to brainstorm new ways to stay connected as two people in love.

4. Lack of Intimacy

Just because passion evolves doesn’t mean it’s gone. Intimacy means more than a few specific sex acts. Discover and explore the countless ways to connect with your partner. Never miss an opportunity to express attraction and appreciation. Toss away the standard script and let your minds channel new creativity.

5. Decreased Communication

Ignore the foundation and your house may crumble. Being honest can feel daunting but it’s nothing compared to the effort required to repair lost trust. In this digital age, it’s wise to literally schedule meetings with your partner. No phones or distractions, just face to face conversation. You may discover that you’ve grown less skilled at such old school tactics. If so, consider therapy for couples.

“Well-Established” Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Ask For Help

Of course, it takes two to make a marriage. However, it may take more than two to keep a marriage strong. As a couple, we can get set in our ways. The familiar patterns obscure trouble brewing beneath the surface. From the outside, though, others can identify such trends. This is why so many married duos — well-established or otherwise — try couples counseling. Whether you’ve just gotten engaged or you’ve been a team for decades, there is always something new to learn. A professional guide can point you in the direction of fresh and valuable lessons. When managing marital obstacles, it helps to seek out a skilled but unbiased outside perspective.