5 Scary Marital Problems No One is Talking About
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Marital problems that are often overlooked
Has your household come under the spell of marital problems?
The truth is, you’re not alone!
When you live under the same roof, some conflict is inevitable and also a normal part of marriage.
All married couples go through periods of highs and lows. Marital problems though arise if there are more lows than highs.
After all, marriage is a difficult relationship and requires adaptability. You might be willing to adapt but have failed to pinpoint the cause of your marital problems.
There are many sources of marital stress. Some common marriage problems include household chores and sexual intimacy.
On the flip side, there are many marital problems which aren’t as easy to identify. So, the question is, how can you pinpoint the often overlooked problems?
Identifying the overlooked marital problems is easier said than done. But fear not, in this post I’ll help you do just that.
So, let’s look at some less common marital problems and how you can overcome them.
Marital problems and your children
Marriage and children are often part of the same equation. You get married and there’s an expectation to have children.
In some parts of the world, this expectation itself can be a little extreme. With marriage setting of a ticking clock, with all eyes on the bride to bear a child.
In contrast, many couples choose to have children early in their married life. The hope is the children will keep the family united.
With that said, it might come as a surprise that our little bundles of joy can cause marital problems.
Matthew Johnson, Professor of psychology at Binghamton University sheds more light on the subject. According to Professor Johnson, couples often underestimate the effects of children on marriage:
To begin with, a child changes how couples interact with each other. The daily challenges of being a parent result in contact becoming more distant.
Dating practices like flirting or planning a night out are memories from a distant past. Instead, you have tense exchanges about baby food, nappies and pickups.
Then you have the change in identity from lover to parent, which brings with it a decrease in energy levels. The lack of energy has a knock on effect on intimacy, which leads to less sex.
The evidence suggests its often the mother who suffers the most. This is because, most parents slip into gender-stereotypical ways of parenting.
The mother cuts her hours at work and the father takes on more of the financial burden. The result for both spouses is often guilt, isolation, and frustration.
In summary, couples should take steps to revive the romance factor. Otherwise children can be the root cause of many marital problems.
Marital problems and your faith
Religion, for many that practice it, is central to life. Marriage between people who practice different religions has always been a controversial issue.
For instance, the religion of Judaism is generally passed down through the mother. Hence, the expectation on most Jewish men is to marry a Jewish woman.
A non-Jewish woman dating or married to a Jewish man is often referred to as a ‘shiksa‘. This term means abomination and shows how much Jews oppose intermarriage.
Even marriages between partners who follow different branches of the same religion can run into issues.
One common example is a marriage between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The root for this divide is the argument over the succession to the Prophet Muhammed.
One Sunni woman, Ameera Al Hakawati, has written an article on her experiences of marrying a Shia man:
“His parents were horrified at the prospect of a Sunni daughter-in-law. In fact, my husband told them I was considering converting to get them to accept us. But the longer they took to agree, the more I decided I didn’t want to pretend to be something I’m not,”.
Another faith difference which is often overlooked, is between theist and atheist. Many religious people believe a married couple must put God first. Yet, a marriage between an atheist and a theist won’t be able to do that.
To sum up, it’s not the differing beliefs but a lack of tolerance that can lead to serious marital problems. A lack of respect for a belief system central to that person’s life, can also lead to a broken marriage.
Marital problems and your standards
If you’ve ever been single for more than a few months, it’s likely you’ve been told your standards are too high. According to a recent study, high standards can often lead to marital problems.
Dr. James K McNulty’s 2016 study set out to find if some partners place too many expectations on their marriage. That it should meet their needs for care, support, and independence.
To do this, Dr. McNulty tracked 135 couples for four years, starting from when they were newlyweds. During the course of the study, couples completed surveys at regular intervals.
The surveys asked about their expectations for the marriage and level of satisfaction. They were also recorded talking about any marital problems they were experiencing.
Despite the belief that high standards should lead to a higher quality of marriage, this wasn’t the case. High standards only did this where both spouses could work well together.
This meant both spouses being open and direct about their causes for frustration. The couples able to do this were more likely to feel their marriage met their expectations.
In marriages with high levels of hostility such as sarcasm, the results were as expected. Here, high standards only made things worse for the relationship.
Dr. McNulty summing up the findings:
“Some people demand too much because they have limited time or skills to apply to their marriages. Others demand too little from their marriages. Their marriage is a source of personal fulfillment they are not exploiting.
To avoid marital problems, spouses should ask of their marriages as much as, but not more than, their marriages can give them,”.
Marital problems and emotional abuse
Emotional abuse can be tricky to recognize. Instead of occurring in violent outbursts, it can rear its ugly head in subtle ways.
Often, it’s difficult to distinguish between occasional hurtful behavior and emotional abuse. Sometimes, neither the victim nor the abuser knows it is even happening.
The best way to find out if you’re suffering from emotional abuse is to use the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS). An instrument used by therapists and researchers.
It sets out three broad categories: verbal aggression, dominant behaviors and jealous behaviors.
Has your spouse exhibited any of these behaviors:
- Disregarded and demeaned your opinions
- Tried to prevent you contacting your family
- Taken issue with your social media friends
- Unfairly accused you of being unfaithful
- Invaded your privacy on a regular basis
- Brainwashed your thoughts and feelings
- Threatened and verbally abused you
Even if you feel one or more of the above is occurring, you might feel tempted to ignore the issue for now. Often, victims of abuse would rather classify their abuser’s behavior as anything but what it is.
This is because victims often develop mechanisms of denial to combat the stress of abuse. Some will even provide excuses for their abuser’s behavior.
This pattern of forgiveness is more common in married couples. Who wants to admit they have committed themselves to an abuser?
If you feel one or more of the above is occurring on a regular basis, it’s important you act. Not only for the sake of your marriage but for your own emotional well-being.
A cycle of emotional abuse can cause low self-esteem. This can not only affect your performance at work but also your ability to be a good parent.
Further, if you let your spouse manipulate you for a long period, you might start to ‘normalize’ this behavior. In effect, this means you’ve lost your independence, and chosen to suffer in silence.
If you feel you are at risk from emotional abuse, it’s important to recognize it for what it is and seek help.
This is not a marriage problem you can ignore as it poses a risk to both your marriage and your quality of life.
Marital problems due to anxiety & depression
How many of these marital problems have you or your spouse experienced?
- Extreme fatigue
- Severe mood swings
- Very low self-esteem
- Signs of deep sadness
- Lack of sexual appetite
- Lack of affection towards each other
- Feeling distant towards one another
- Little interest in spending time with each other
These are all common marital problems, so it wouldn’t be surprising if you ticked off a few.
However, they’re also symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression aren’t as rare as you’d think. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):
‘Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Affecting 40 million adults at age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year’.
Anxiety and depression can also have tragic effects on the happiness of a couple’s marriage.
This illness erodes emotional and sexual intimacy and floods a relationship with grief. Even the happiest, most capable partner can’t escape depression.
Extra household chores can overwhelm you that your partner is too tired to finish. You might feel angry because your spouse won’t snap out of it, or feel you’re somehow to blame for the illness itself.
You may feel alone yet unwilling to tell anyone there’s depression in your household. And even wonder when the sparkle and joy, the humor and fun seeped out of your relationship.
If your partner is exhibiting any symptoms of anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help.
The good news is that according to the National Institute of Health (NIMH), depression and anxiety are treatable.
However, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is. So, it’s important to seek help as soon as you recognize the symptoms.
All marriages start with a bang, a fairy tale even, which is your wedding day. Then for months or years, the sun shines bright and you couldn’t be more in love.
But something changes, it can take many years, but it happens. And now the sun doesn’t shine as bright and the love isn’t as strong as it once was.
The reason for this is simple; your marriage and your happiness are woven together in a fragile bond. This bond is your tether to each other, it’s your love and affection.
But like all things fragile, it’s easily broken. Now, you can sit and analyze what bad luck or bad decision caused your bond to weaken. Or you can try your hardest to resolve your marital problems.
Often when a marriage shows signs of weakness, couples over analyze the situation. The important part is not the analysis, it’s the actions you take to remedy the situation.
Remember, every minute that goes by without you taking action, adds to the mounting stress. And in the same way a strong marriage is rewarding, a marriage under stress can affect more than just your happiness.
Even the trials of life such as health issues can seem 10 times harder when life at home is difficult. So, sit down, find what your problems are, and work through them.
Only the two of you can bring your marriage back to a solid state of happiness.
Online marriage counseling resources
Happy together is my free book packed with advice you can apply right now. Also get access to marriage matters, a free email marriage counseling course, for couples who need intensive therapy. You can find these and more resources here:
Assess the strength of your marriage
Take the PassionFlames marriage quiz to help you assess the strength of your marriage. This quiz uses a series of question to determine the health of your marriage. Your answers are used to help you improve your marriage.
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Now it’s over to you!
Did you find this post helpful? and are you going through any of the above marital problems?
Let me know in the comments below.
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