Relationships are challenging. In the beginning, it’s all fun and games, but relationships evolve over time. The ability to handle these challenges effectively determines how successful the relationship will ultimately be. Be prepared for the most common relationship challenges and know how to deal with them.
All relationships have challenges sooner or later:
1. The realization that your partner isn’t everything you need. Expectations are high in relationships. Before you know the other person well, it’s easy to imagine they’re everything you’d ever need from another person: a soul mate, sounding board, best friend, and perfect lover.
* After five years of marriage, the truth reveals itself. Your partner isn’t everything you need.
* No single person can completely satisfy the needs of another. Expect to have no more than 80% of your need fulfilled by your partner. You’ll have to find the other 20% somewhere else. This might be the need to watch horror movies with someone else, have intellectual conversations, talk about shopping, or talk about sports.
2. Communication issues. Communication is like sex. One partner seems to want to do it more than the other. Set aside time each day for a few minutes to talk. Practice good listening skills. One person is generally miserable for those few minutes, but that’s the price that must be paid to have a successful relationship. It’s worth the price.
3. Trust issues. Some people have difficulty trusting others. Some people are more resentful than others when they don’t receive the level of trust they think they deserve. Be trustworthy and expect the same from your partner. There are little things you can do to build trust.
* Be on time.
* Be open.
* Avoid jealousy.
* Be honest.
* Be open regarding your whereabouts.
4. There will be financial disagreements. Financial issues often lead to relationship challenges. It’s easy for the feelings of stress and anxiety to be taken out on your partner. You have to blame someone, right?
* The solution is to form an alliance with your partner and deal with the financial challenges head-on. Otherwise, one person will deal with it alone and resentment occurs.
5. Division of labor. In some cultures, there’s no disagreement. Men do certain chores and women do theirs. In the US, it’s not always so clear.
* Make a list of all the chores that need to be done. Divide them into three lists – daily, weekly, and monthly.
* Sit down together and divide up the list in a way that you’re both satisfied with. You might consider taking turns choosing chores. After a few months, you can swap.
6. The urge to cheat is real. Monogamy sounds great on paper, but is a little tougher in practice. Monogamy isn’t natural. You and the people around you were created by those that had the greatest urge to have sex many thousands of years ago. It’s only natural that you, and others around you, have the urge to do the same.
* Just because monogamy is challenging doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. Cheating is the result of short-term thinking. Keep your eye on the long-term perspective.
7. Getting stuck in a rut. This happens when there’s too much routine and the future isn’t compelling. Set a few goals together to make the future more interesting. Plan a trip or a big purchase. Get out of the house at least once a week for dinner, a yoga class, or bowling.
Avoid the belief that a good relationship is easy 100% of the time. It creates unreasonable expectations. Expect that challenges will occur and be prepared for them.