The 8 Most Common Marital Issues and How to Approach Them

Divorce rates may seem like they’re at an all-time high, but that’s not exactly true. In fact, divorce rates have actually rebounded in the past several years. Still, with 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it’s important for Christian couples to understand the consequences of divorce, the factors that lead up to divorce, and the most important strategies for sustaining a healthy long-term relationship.

Why Marriage Is So Important

So why is marriage so important for Christian couples to maintain? The bottom line is this: in the Bible, marriage is a sacred law. Marriage was designed by God, and intended to be both unique for human beings and unmatched by any other law. Pledging yourself to a partner is a way of honoring the sanctity of this law, and casually dismissing your relationship after making that pledge is a form of dishonoring it. You owe it to yourself, to your partner, and even to God to work out your issues as best you can before resorting to divorce.

All Marriages Have Problems

No matter how happy you are with your partner, how much you love them, how long you’ve been together, or how much effort you put in, your marriage is going to have some problems. All marriages do. What matters isn’t whether or not there are problems to begin with, but how you work together to resolve them.
Let’s highlight some of the most common problems married couples face, and how Christian couples can work together to resolve them—before they threaten your marriage:

1. Financial disagreements. Few topics inspire as many fights or disagreements in a marriage as financial issues, and for understandable reasons. Financial assets are tied together in marriage as a mutual pool, and in most marriages, one partner makes more than the other. How the money is spent, saved, or earned can inspire major disagreements. However, money has nothing to do with being a good person, and should, therefore, be a secondary consideration to a person’s moral values and daily behaviors.

2. Sleeping problems. When a married couple sleeps in the same bed, it’s natural to encounter issues that prevent one partner from sleeping how they’d like. This makes things especially complicated, since lack of sleep can make a partner extra irritable or moody. Fortunately, there are many potential solutions, including sleeping in separate beds, investing in a better mattress, or using surgery or treatment methods to deal with snoring.

3. Issues with sex or physical affection. Most couples expect some level of physical intimacy, but when expectations don’t match reality, one partner can quickly become resentful of the other. Communication is the key to sorting this one out; your expectations may never match those of your partner’s, but you can find compromises that make you both happy and comfortable.

4. Cheating. When one partner cheats on another, it’s a massive breach of trust and an understandable underlying reason for divorce. However, under some circumstances, you may find it in your heart to forgive the cheating partner—as long as they’re repentant and willing to work to make things better.

5. Communication issues. Communication is a major issue because if you can’t communicate, every other problem in your relationship will become worse. To be successful communicating, you need to respect each other, listen to each other, and have clear ground rules for how to communicate in a way that’s clear, direct, and productive. This sometimes takes years to establish.

6. Declining appreciation. If you appreciate your partner less over time (or they appreciate you less), the entire relationship may suffer. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent; take time every day to think about all the things about your partner that you appreciate, and use small gestures, like flowers or a shoulder rub, to show you care.

7. Straying from your faith. When one partner strays from the faith in a Christian relationship, it puts a strain on both partners. You’ll need to work together to either find a compromise or help them find their faith again.

8. Misaligning on future goals or ambitions. One of the hardest problems to fix is a misalignment on future goals or ambitions. For example, you may not share your partner’s ambition for building a successful career, or you may want a different number of children. Many of these goals and ambitions are worldly, and second to matters of faith, but they may still be very difficult to work through as a team. Try to remain open to compromises here.

If the two of you can communicate successfully, understand one another, and appreciate one another, there’s no reason why you can’t find a compromise to make your marriage work. Of course, marriages in which one partner is disrespectful, uncooperative, or unwilling to work to resolve an issue can’t remain in place; marriage is sacred in the Bible, but depending on which scholars you ask, divorce is certainly permissible in extenuating circumstances. Through prayer, work, and self-reflection, you’ll come to your own answer.

The Christian Post