These Are the 10 Most Common Issues in a Marriage, According to Relationship Experts

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Husband and wife sit apart on the couch, each has their head in their hands. Both look stressed.
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No relationship is perfect and problem-free all the time. In my experience, marriage takes work, commitment, and reevaluating not just the way you communicate, but also your expectations and what you both need to work on. It doesn’t have to be hard (and if you ask me, it kind of shouldn’t be), but even if you have the most rock-solid union, there are just some issues in a marriage that that we all seem to stumble into.

I asked a bunch of different experts on relationships, marriage, and couples topics what they noticed was the most common issues married couples face. Many of the answers are big time things like infidelity and money, but others may surprise you and have you taking a second look at your own relationship.

Click through to read what the experts had to say when it comes to the most common issues in a marriage:

1. Boundary Problems

“I think the biggest issue in marriage is boundary problems. Spouses so often try to change the other in the name of helpfulness. The truth is the only person you can change is you. You married them the way they are. If they’re a slob, they probably were since childhood. The best you’re going to do is change your response.”

Gina Holmes, author of Wings of Glass, March 2013 

2. Talking vs. Communicating

“One of the biggest issues in a marriage is to believe that the act of talking to our partner is communicating. But we fall into common errors. A complaint is not communicating. One criticism is not communicating. Emotional blackmail is not communicating. To show ourselves as a victim of the conduct of our partner is not communicating. Poor communication can lead to marital problems during midlife crisis. Learning to express ourselves with assertiveness, from our feelings and not from the complaint or criticism and accept the views and needs of our partner is the best we can do to prevent the ruin of our marriage at 40.”

— Viki MorandeiraTu, life Coach and the author of the book, ¿Qué le pasa a mi esposo?

3. Time Management

“A consistent issue that arises in my coaching clients is time management. Couples are feeling so busy and stressed by feeling pulled multiple directions that the quality of the marriage is declining. The couples need to increase their effectiveness with ‘couple consultation,’ a form of collaborative decision making. I help them assess what they are doing and why, share what is important to both of them, and help them see how to protect their marriage with better choices. They examine their feelings and the facts of their circumstances in a gentle, honest way and reach a unified decision about how to rearrange their lives.”

— Susanne M. Alexander, marriage educator and the author of Deciding in Unity: A Practical Process for Married Couples to Agree on Practically Everything

4. Intimacy

“More than money, kids, or any other marital woe, the most common issue married couples bring to my office is a struggle with sexual intimacy. Whether the problem is lack of interest or opportunity, modern couples — especially those with children — often face an up-hill battle to keep their sexual connection alive. And when it falters, spouses really do suffer.”

— Stephanie Manes, relationship therapist

5. Turned Focus

“I can say that the most frequent issue I hear from the men I represent is that the focus of the wife turned to the child, and never returned to the relationship with the man. It leads to a lack of intimacy, and the parties become like roommates.”

— David T. Pisarra, Esq., and author of A Man’s Guide to Domestic Violence

6. Emotional Infidelity

“I’ve found that spouses often feel more betrayed by emotional infidelity because it’s not just about sex. Emotional affairs are about an intimate relationship with someone outside the marriage. Learning to trust someone and be emotionally vulnerable after these affairs can be incredibly difficult. If only they had learned how to talk to their partner about their needs, it could have been avoided.”

— Sue Brans CPC, ELI-MP, relationship coach

7. Money

“We know marriages that have survived infidelity, several times over. But money is a HUGE issue. We have a chapter that states ‘Discuss Money or it Will Disgust You.’ This is true. When spending habits are not the same nor are saving and the way bills get paid, it causes disagreements that can turn into loud arguments that can turn into fights and deep resentment. Money is a big marriage dissolver.”

— Jenny & Rufus Triplett, relationship experts, Surviving Marriage Tips

8. Inability (or Unwillingness) to Forgive

“The root issue in all relationships, especially marriage, is the inability (usually unwillingness) to forgive the other. The offense or series of offenses may be petty (i.e. leaving dirty dishes in the sink, snoring) or traumatic (i.e. infidelity, increased debt). Ninety percent of issues in marriage are symptoms of an individual’s unwillingness to forgive themselves, their partner, or some other person that has impacted their life negatively. The other 10% might be related to chemistry or difference in worldview.”

— Zachary Hamilton, marriage and relationship coach at Better Path

9. Lack of Appreciation

“The biggest issue I see with married couples seeking counseling is a lack of appreciation. This is often the root cause of infidelity and so many other problems in a marriage. When appreciation is low, conflict is high. This is often seen in sibling relationships because siblings don’t often express appreciation to one another. When two people feel 100% appreciation from one another, they accept so much more than they do otherwise.”

— Bill Farr, relationship and wellness coach and author of The Power of Personality Types in Love and Relationships

10. Allowing Technology to Interfere

“One of the biggest marriage problems I’m seeing lately is couples who allow technology to interfere with their relationship. People are texting while they’re at dinner, surfing the Internet in the evenings, and using their smartphones constantly. As a result, people experience less quality time and it impacts their emotional intimacy. Often, people don’t even recognize what the problem is. They think they’re spending time together but don’t realize that they’re distracted by technology. Sitting next to your partner and using separate laptops doesn’t constitute quality time.”

— Amy Morin, LCSW

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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