It was once said that “A husband and wife may disagree on many things, but they must absolutely agree on this: to never, EVER give up.” Marriage brings many unexpected challenges where couples can feel head-over-heels in love one day and absolutely lost as to how to progress their relationship the next day. Let’s examine a few marriage problems that couples face in their day-to-day lives.
Common Marriage Problems
- Tanya and Dylan were head-over-heels in love when they received a positive pregnancy test. They squealed with excitement the second after the test showed the results. After walking through the baby aisles, dreaming about this new life together, and hearing their unborn child’s heart beating on the monitor, they experienced a miscarriage near the end of the first trimester.
They were devastated beyond belief. Now, they feel distant, angry, uncertain of how to move forward. Tanya feels like Dylan blames her for the miscarriage, even though there was nothing she could have done to save the baby from its unfortunate fate.
- Nancy and Tom have always had a strong relationship, but when he was deployed for six months, communication was exceptionally challenging. He was in a warzone and she was holding down the fort at home, taking care of their four children, and trying to advance her career.
When they finally contacted one another, the conversations were quick and to the point, more like business partners than best friends. Now that they are reunited, they feel like strangers – uncertain of how to reestablish that unbreakable, emotional bond and restore their physical intimacy.
- Bitsy and Zach have been married for years. After she lost her best friend and went through a career change, she began experiencing intense feelings of depression. Zach says he does not recognize her and does not know how to help her. He often avoids conversation because he does not want to make things worse. They feel like they are drifting apart as their communication continues to decline.
- Danielle and Ben have been married for two years. Ben was a widower who had two children with his previous wife. Danielle and Ben have had many disagreements over how to raise their children and he often fuels these disagreements with angry remarks followed by “well, they are not your children”.
Danielle is devastated by his remarks. She knows that she is not their birth mother and will never be, but she wants to be a mother figure for the children and help raise them in a godly home. She wants them to be partners rather than divided when it comes to taking care of and making decisions for their family. She worries that this will impact having children together in the future.
These couples are facing a variety of missteps in their marriages – ones that can either build a bridge toward a stronger future or build a wall that causes disruption in their relationship.
Steps Toward Healthy Communication
While examining the marriage problems and struggles of these couples, consider these steps toward healthy communication:
Realize that marriage is more than being business partners.
In seasons of busy careers and having children, it can become all too easy to become roommates and business partners rather than best friends and lovers. It is important that couples take time to date one another, make time for physical intimacy, and make conversations about more than bills and schedules.
Communication is more than a conversation that happens when things are spiraling out of control.
Tony Gaskins said “Communication to a relationship is like oxygen to life. Without it … it dies.” To take this a step further, couples need to establish healthy roots of communication.
Healthy communication is more than asking “Was your day okay?” It is digging deeper and asking, “What exciting projects are you working on?” … “What can I do to support you in your dreams?” … “Is there anything that you are struggling with right now?” … “What are you excited about right now?” … “What is weighing you down right now?”
Ensure that you make your relationship a priority, even when life is chaotic.
Even when you feel overtired, overworked, and overrun – couples must ensure that they make their relationship a priority. If your schedule is too busy for one another, it may be time to reevaluate your schedule and cut back on some things. We cannot let our schedules be so jam-packed that we let our marriage take the back seat.
James 1:19 reminds us that we need to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.”
This is an important role in effective and God-centered communication. Being quick to listen, unassuming, and forgiving are essential components to living a joy-filled marriage. A joy-filled marriage is one that does not jump to conclusions but wants to assume the best about our spouse.
12 Questions to Help Your Marriage Thrive
Here are twelve questions you can ask your spouse today to begin working on those healthy lines of communication in your marriage to make your marriage thrive:
- How is work going? What is enjoyable and what is challenging?
- How are you feeling spiritually?
- How can I support you in your dreams?
- What inspires you?
- What is one thing we do well as a couple?
- What is one thing we need to work on in our marriage?
- What would be something that you would like us to try together?
- What is one social commitment that you could do without?
- What is something that is going well right now?
- What is your favorite and least favorite thing to do around the house?
- What is one thing you love that I do before you have a chance to ask me?
- How do you feel we communicate? What is one thing we do well? What is one thing we could do better?
Scriptures to Encourage God-centered Communication
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. – James 1:19
…no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! – Psalm 141:3
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:6
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14
Marriage Counseling for Marriage Problems
Couples need to know that they are not alone and should not be embarrassed and feel like their relationship is doomed to fail when they face seasons of uncertainty. You may resonate with one of the couples mentioned above, or you may be facing a different challenge in your personal life or relationship with your spouse.
All couples face a variety of unforeseen obstacles and marriage problems. All couples go through seasons of feeling like there is much work to do in their marriage and within the realms of healthy communication. There will be chaotic seasons where your work schedule and children take up most of your time and energy, leaving you feeling depleted when it comes to your marriage and conversing with your spouse.
Couples need to know that the choice is yours – you must be willing to choose to put Christ and your spouse at the top of your priority list. You must choose to have good conversations. You must choose to go on dates. You must choose to make physical intimacy a priority.
If you are in a season of feeling distant in your relationship or facing other marriage problems and you are not sure what to do next, today is the perfect time to schedule your counseling session. A marriage counselor can help you establish the priorities of things to begin doing in your relationship.
“Conversation”, courtesy of Christin Hume, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Just Married”, Courtesy of Drew Coffman, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Taking a Load Off”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Forgiveness”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License