Have you ever felt ignored in your relationship? Has life gotten in the way and you aren’t spending time with your partner? Well, you are not alone. This is what we call a common relationship problem, meaning it happens to many couples. Recently, I did a radio show/podcast on this topic and wanted to mention a few common problems we discussed.

Common problem #1: Feeling ignored. This can happen when the busyness of life gets in the way. The kids, the in-laws, the dog, schoolwork, your job…you get the idea.  You get lost in all of it and take your partner for granted. The solution is to carve out time to build the original friendship that brought you together in the first place. You must be intentional to do things together. In fact, developing a hobby or activity that you both love could be a game changer. Whether it is a sport, hiking, cooking together, taking an art class, going to the gym, just do it together.  If you don’t make friendship efforts, you’ll grow apart and that is a predictor for divorce.

Common problem #2 is money-how you spend it and your attitudes towards it. Doing couples work and premarital counseling, I notice how little couples talk about money. Yet, it can be a source of conflict and irritation. If one person spends and the other is frugal, resentment can build. If both people are spenders, you will be in debt. So, discuss expectations, your views about debt and risk, savings, and how you will approach expenditures. Do you think a budget is a good idea, who tracks the finances and who decides purchases? Which of you is better with bills? Also, discuss how the family you were raised in dealt with money. Family influence is often ignored. How did your parents handle finances? All these questions should be discussed and agreed upon. If you need additional help, see a financial counselor.

Common problems #3 is not discussing your dreams or goals. People have ideas in their head about what they want to build or accomplish in life, but don’t always discuss these with their partner. Yet, this is important. What do you both value? What are your dreams? Are you on the same page? How can you navigate this direction together? To do so, a strong spiritual life is needed. Every decision should be given to prayer. You need to be in unity with direction and calling. At times, you may have to step out in a direction you both feel called to pursue. This requires faith. But pay attention to the peace or lack of it if you feel called to do something. God should give you both a peace about decisions.

The bottom line regarding common relationship problems is not allowing self-centeredness. It is easy to be offended, think of your own needs, and build resentment. But you are a couple. The needs of both should be front and center. To better understand each other’s needs, you must talk often and stay in tune with each other and your spiritual life. Submit to God first, allow his transforming power to work in your life. This will impact your relationship is so many positive ways and teach you to love sacrificially.

If you have any number of common relationship problems, identify them and work on them. Don’t allow them to smolder and build. Get the help of a good therapist if you need to, but do the work to stay connected both spiritually and relationally.

Common relationship problems