Top 6 Relationship Challenges (and What to do About Them)

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, it’s impossible to drive down the winding road of love without hitting a few speed bumps. Accepting that disagreements, fights and other challenges are inevitable, it’s how a couple deals with those relationship problems that determines true compatibility.

Every couple is different, and it’s impossible to give blanket advice under the guise of helping in every possible instance. But, if couples are aware of the most common issues that tend to drive people apart, it can help them understand their own (and their partner’s) motivations. And, more importantly, how to address them in a productive fashion.

Successful couples understand how to move past relationship challenges. Here are the six most common relationship problems (according to WebMD) along with tips on how to cruise over the bumps.

1. Trust

Naturally, trust is the foundation of any solid relationship. If trust is a challenge in your relationship, take a step back and ask: is there something in your partner that you find untrustworthy, or is there something in your past that makes you wary of trusting others? Once you know the source of the problem, both parties can work on fixing it. Develop trust by honoring each other: call when you’re running late, be consistent, don’t be jealous, don’t dig up old wounds...really, just be respectful toward each other.

2. Conflict

Conflict is normal. But if the fights repeat each other...over and over, with no improvement or changes on the horizon...they become toxic. When the same old fight seems ripe to break out, change the routine. Consider taking a moment to think about what you want to say, and whether it’s helpful or detrimental to the situation.  Sometimes it’s necessary to give a little - i.e. apologizing - to get a lot back.

3. Prioritizing Each Other

Every relationship loses its luster. Some might call it the seven year itch, others might just call it boredom. Partners get in ruts, but it’s not irretractable. Even remembering small niceties - thank you, compliments, showing appreciation - can help put a sheen on things. Think back to when you started dating, and what types of things were thrilling and charming and seemed lovely. Do them.

4. Household Management

Chances are that both parties work outside the home in most relationships; theoretically, this means that the household chores are evenly divided, right? Well...not always. If one partner finds that they are doing more than the other (or at least feels this way), a discussion is warranted. Try to arrive at a consensus as to what the expectations and duties are for each. If both parties are not interested in housework, then agree to hire out for a maid. No one deserves to live in a messy home.

5. Money

One of the top cited factors in divorces, disagreements over funds seem to strike a chord at the heart of many relationships. Start to remedy the challenges presented by money talk by being earnest about the situation. Acknowledge your habits, and your partners’ as well, and recognize the differences as well as the advantages of your spending and saving styles. Most importantly, try to come up with some short and long term financial goals which are meaningful to both parties and, hopefully, will lead to productive discussions about finances,

6. Communication

Poor communication is at the heart of most relationship problems. Our near-constant smartphone tapping is huge contributor to the problem, for one, as well as the resulting isolation that happens when we’re sitting with someone, but not engaging with them on an intimate level. Recommendations for improving communication involve--unsurprisingly--putting the phones, tablets, and all mobile devices on vibrate and setting them aside to chat with each other. If it’s difficult to talk, or one partner feels that they can’t get a word in, set up some rules (for example, no interrupting). Make a point to *look* like you’re listening as well. Don’t pick at your nails, and rephrase their key points.

 

Ultimately, though, remember that you are in control of yourself, and you can’t control anyone else’s behavior. If both parties in the relationship aren’t committed to working through these or other challenges, it might not be the best place for you to stay. So before embarking on these fix-it tips, make sure that your partner is invested-and that you are, too.

What other tips would you share for overcoming relationship challenges?