Often Overlooked Marital Problems and How to Combat Them

Marital problems often creep upon on us so sneakily that we may only notice when it already has a serious impact on our relationship.

Marriage is a journey with ups and downs. Someone described marriage as an ordeal, a true test. In his book The Passionate Marriage on keeping love and intimacy alive in a committed relationship, David Schnarch says “Nobody’s ready for marriage. Marriage makes you ready for marriage”.

So let us consider some of the overlooked marital problems.

Expecting our partner to make us happy

Initially our partner will do things to show they care about and love us.  Their behaviour may even border on trying to please us and keep us happy. The reality though, is there is only one person responsible for our happiness. It is ourselves. Do those activities that keep your soul happy.

Not respecting differences

Usually one of the partners wants a greater degree of togetherness whereas the other has a need for more space. This can cause marital problems. The trick is to find a balance so that the needs of both people can be accommodated. Arrange time to do things together but also allow each other time to do things independently.

Lack of time together

It is very easy to fall into a pattern of both partners doing what they each want to. See it as a red light if you have a partner who wants to spend all their time with their friends and finds little time for you. Every marriage needs to have a balance between time together and with the family, and time for each partner to do what energises them and feeds their soul.

Impact of children

The impact of children on a marriage is enormous and can contribute to marital problems. It is so easy for a mother to focus all her attention on the children and neglect her spouse. The husband easily feels side-lined. As difficult as it may be, make time for you and your spouse to be alone on a regular basis without the children.

Being glued to your phone or tablet

This is fast becoming a serious problem in many marriages. Do you wake up looking at your phone and tablet? Does your partner go to bed with their tablet? Are evenings spent communicating to friends or work associates at the expense of communicating with your spouse? Make a conscious decision to limit your time on your phone and tablet and to set aside time to connect with your spouse. Share your day with each other.


We all go through patches of feeling lonely. As opposed to looking to your partner to keep you happy, work out what you need to do for yourself. Do you need to give yourself some TLC? Do you need to make time to do things that make you happy? Do you need to make new friends? See this as a chance to delve deeper into your own needs. Fulfill them yourself.

Unrealistic expectations

This may be linked to us wanting to marry our prince or princess. The reality is that there is no ideal or perfect marriage. In a world where so many of us are driven by instant gratification it is important to know that there are no quick fixes in relationships. Our spouse cannot be everything to us.

Have a good circle of friends, pursue hobbies, make time to be alone. Find ways to manage your emotions as opposed to dumping them on your spouse. Accept the roller coaster of marriage. See it as a way to learn more about yourself and your spouse.

Lack of appreciation

Each of us is doing the best we can with the resources we have available to us. A few words or a gesture of appreciation will go far to show your partner you care for and appreciate them. Every one of us has a need to be recognised and validated.

If you would like to strengthen the bond between you and your spouse you would benefit from relationship counselling. Do you need some help?


Old Recipe, New Recipe: The Kitchen of Give and Take


First you must climb into the battered old saucepan of love where you will marinate in the sauce of sex.

Then you shall be covered with the wine of faith, the oil of compassion and the salt of sin and suffering.

Now you are tossed in the pan of chaos and seared by the flame of truth.

You are carved by the knife of compromise and served with the spoon of duty;

Onto the plate of acceptance and garnished with the herbs of humility.

At this point you may well say GRACE

Michael Leunig

Posted in Relationships.