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25 Marriage Problems Faced by Couples & Their Solutions

The 25 Most Common Marriage Problems Faced By Couples – and Their Solutions

When people get married, it’s usually because they sincerely want to spend the rest of their lives together. When envisioning that life, men and women alike tend to see many decades of marital bliss. They rarely consider the many challenges of marriage or assume that their bond is so strong that such problems don’t apply to them.

In reality, however, committing to someone for life presents many significant challenges. Both partners agree to combine their life and goals with the other’s, and they must keep doing so through all of life’s ups and downs. All couples eventually face marital problems, and knowing how to handle them is crucial for sticking together for the long haul. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 25 of the most common marriage problems and solutions for each one.

1. Differences in Core Values or Beliefs

Many married couples have significant differences in terms of core values and beliefs. For example, they may practice different religions, have conflicting political views, or have different opinions about right and wrong.

Over time, differences in core values can chip away at the foundation of a marriage. They leave lots of opportunities for conflict, giving couples many excuses for lashing out at each other. In some cases, one spouse may even actively try changing the other, causing far more harm than good.

The Solution: The best way to manage differences in core values or beliefs is to agree to disagree. Be open and willing to discuss each other’s points of view and to compromise whenever possible. More than anything, be understanding of each other’s differences, and express that understanding often.

2. Sexual Incompatibility

Numerous studies have shown that sexual satisfaction is one of the most crucial components of a happy marriage. When sexual compatibility wanes, dissatisfaction with the marriage soars.

Sexual incompatibility may occur when one partner experiences a loss of libido while the other craves regular sexual contact. Other times, spouses have different preferences for how to engage in sex. Regardless of the specific nature of the incompatibility, the issue can create a vast chasm between even the most loving partners, eventually leading to the demise of the marriage.

The Solution: In the case of a loss of libido, consulting with a doctor can be a great first step toward addressing the problem. For other issues, it helps to communicate often. Speak openly and honestly about your sex life and look for ways to reestablish the physical and emotional bond needed to keep the spark alive.

3. Infidelity

Discovering that a partner has been unfaithful, whether physically, emotionally or both, is earth-shattering and life-altering for most spouses. Infidelity often arises when a couple’s connection weakens or when needs aren’t being met in various areas. Once it occurs, it can create a breakdown of trust that is difficult to overcome.

The Solution: If you or your spouse has been unfaithful, the marriage doesn’t have to be over. Many couples stay together and even forge stronger bonds after such catastrophes. Couples’ therapy is a significant first step toward strengthening emotional bonds, improving sexual intimacy and regaining trust.

4. Issues Regarding Division of Labor

All too often, couples fail to spell out who is responsible for what around the house when entering into a marriage. Traditionally, women have been expected to handle much of the burden. These days, though, both spouses typically work outside of the home. Despite this, husbands often still expect wives to shoulder most of the burden in terms of housework.

Flat style division of labor lifestyle household domestic relations conflict situation. Woman vacuum clean room man lying reading newspaper. Creative people collection.

When there’s a lack of balance regarding the division of labor at home, resentments fester. One spouse may feel they are being taken advantage of or that their efforts aren’t being appreciated, which can cause significant discord.

The Solution: Ideally, a married couple should run their household like a business. If you’re struggling with division of labor issues, sit down and work out an agreement about who is responsible for which chores. Both partners should strive to make the household run efficiently so that they are both happy there. Review and adjust the agreed-upon division of labor often, and regularly acknowledge each other’s efforts.

5. Being at Different Stages of Life

Especially when there’s a significant age gap, couples sometimes develop issues because they’re at different phases of life. This dynamic can also develop over time, as spouses outgrow each other and want different things.

The Solution: If you’re feeling alienated from your spouse because you’re in different stages of life, start by checking in with each other regularly about how things are going. Instead of viewing changes as issues, embrace and accept them individually and as a couple. Periodically try new activities and hobbies together to rediscover and continually nurture your bond.

6. Boredom

Although people crave the stability of marriage, they often come to view it instead as monotonous and boring. When life becomes too predictable, following the same patterns from day to day, it’s easy to feel like something is missing. All too often, spouses decide the marriage itself is the problem.

The Solution: The best way to cope with boredom in a marriage is by adding some spontaneity to the equation. Actively make an effort to do unexpected things from time to time, both in the bedroom and out of it. Try surprising your spouse with a dinner date, giving them an unexpected gift or trying something new in bed, and encourage them to do likewise.

7. Financial Issues

Money woes are among the top issues faced by married couples. Finances can be a sensitive topic for some, but failing to address the situation can cause a severe breakdown in a marriage.

Side view of young couple having a hard time paying their bills

The Solution: Sweeping financial issues under the rug is a surefire way to wreak havoc on a marriage, so the first step is learning to sit down and communicate openly and honestly about them. Consider creating a budget with your spouse, and work together to stick to it and achieve your mutual financial goals. If someone falls off the wagon, address the issue promptly and openly.

8. Selfishness

A marriage is a partnership, so selfish behavior can be very detrimental. However, a couple’s collective priorities sometimes clash with individual ones, causing one spouse to act selfishly. In turn, the other spouse feels abandoned and uncared for, and those feelings can spiral out of control before very long.

The Solution: Empathy is the key to overcoming selfish behavior in a marriage. Be open and vulnerable when discussing problems regarding goals and other issues. Work on understanding each other’s perspectives, and make being considerate a regular habit.

9. Power Inequity

Power imbalances can doom marriages between even the most loving partners. For example, a common scenario is for one spouse to be the breadwinner, earning far more than the other. All too often, this type of imbalance creates a dynamic where the more “powerful” spouse gets to make most of the decisions, leaving the other one feeling powerless and unhappy.

The Solution: If you are coping with power inequity in your marriage, sit down and discuss ways to ensure that both people are contributing equally in their own way. Work out ways to strike a balance for resources and time, allowing both spouses to shine. Most importantly, remember that you’re in this together regardless of the perceived power that one person has over the other.

10. Traumatic Events

Few people get through life without experiencing significant losses, and these events can be difficult for married couples to endure. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a job or another traumatic event, one spouse is often left feeling unsure about how to help the other. In turn, they may feel alienated and unhappy in the marriage.

traumatic experiences l

The Solution: Facing traumatic events as a couple can be overwhelming for both parties. If possible, take a break from the situation. For example, one spouse may go away for a long weekend so that both parties can process their feelings. This is also an excellent time to consult with an experienced therapist.

11. Trying to Change Each Other

When you get married, you agree to care for each other for life – exactly how both of you are. In reality, one spouse may find themselves trying to mold or change the other, overstepping their boundaries and causing discord in the marriage.

The Solution: The best way to deal with this issue is by learning to respect each other’s boundaries and recognize that you both have your own unique way of looking at the world. Instead of stressing about the differences, try embracing them.

12. Trust Issues

Trust is the foundation of any strong marriage. When one partner feels doubt about the other, things can spiral out of control fast.

The Solution: Since a lack of trust is such a harbinger of doom for a marriage, the best option is to meet with a couple’s therapist. They can help you learn to understand the reasons for the lack of trust and give you techniques for resolving the issue. You might even engage in trust-building exercises to regain the close bond you once shared.

13. Using Different Love Languages

In his book The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman explains that people naturally use one of five different “languages” for showing love to their partner: touch, words of affection, acts of service, time and giving of gifts. Issues can arise in a marriage when one partner uses one love language, and the other uses another. For example, if you use words of affection and your partner doesn’t, you may feel slighted or even unloved by them.

The Solution: A great option is for both spouses to read Dr. Chapman’s book to identify which love language they tend to use. From there, both partners can acknowledge each other’s love language so that they can recognize when their spouse is showing love.

14. Stress

Stress is a part of life. It can be the death knell of even a strong, happy marriage when couples don’t address it effectively. Whether triggered by financial problems, illness, mental health issues or family problems, how spouses manage stress can create even more of it, triggering a downward spiral.

The Solution: When stressful situations arise, sit down with your spouse to acknowledge them and their effects on both partners. Speak openly and patiently about the underlying issues causing the stress, and consider trying coping mechanisms like yoga or meditation to deal with the situation more effectively.

15. Communication Issues

Issues with verbal and non-verbal communication can create major friction in a marriage. It’s easy for one spouse to misread another’s facial expressions or even the words they use to express themselves. To further complicate matters, men and women often have very different communication styles.

The Solution: Poor communication can become a habit in a marriage that’s difficult to break. Both partners must make a conscious effort to communicate more effectively. Working with a therapist can help. More than anything, though, always give your partner the benefit of the doubt to avoid taking their words the wrong way.

16. Distractions Arising from Social Media and Technology

A distinctly modern problem in today’s marriages involves the use of technology and social media. People are increasingly keeping their faces in their phones, causing a breakdown in face-to-face communication that can leave both partners feeling alienated and alone.

The Solution: A terrific way to combat the negative impact of social media and technology on your marriage is by setting aside technology-free time as a couple. For example, you might set aside one hour per day – or one day per week – for device-free time together.

17. Dishonesty

Dishonesty in a marriage can take many forms. Major lies, like those involving infidelity, are clearly problematic, but small, regular lies can also deteriorate a marriage’s foundation. For instance, one spouse might lie about or exaggerate issues they’re experiencing at work or elsewhere to get sympathy or avoid responsibility. Over time, these lies can cast a pall on the marriage that may be difficult to overcome.

The Solution: To address this issue, you must figure out why one partner feels compelled to lie. You can sit down and speak openly about it together or enlist the help of a therapist. Once you understand the underlying reasons for one spouse’s lies, you can address them and change this harmful dynamic with time and patience.

18. Personality Differences

It’s often said that opposites attract, but significant personality differences can create chaos in a marriage. For example, one spouse may be an extrovert and the other an introvert. The introverted spouse may feel pressured to do things they don’t like while the extroverted one feels stifled and has to do things alone much of the time. Other common personality differences include one spouse being logical and practical and the other freewheeling, or one spouse being punctual and the other continually late.

The Solution: Instead of viewing personality differences as obstacles, try looking at them as gifts. Focus on the strengths of your partner’s unique personality and how their differences complement yours. Instead of criticizing each other for these differences, strive to appreciate and affirm your uniqueness as individuals.

19. Jealousy

The green-eyed monster often rears its head in a marriage, with one partner feeling insecure about their status with the other. Although a tiny amount of jealousy is natural and okay, it can spiral into a complete lack of trust. The insecure partner may question the other about who they’re speaking to, where they’re going and otherwise become overbearing and controlling, creating stress and strain that are highly detrimental to the marriage.

Jealousy young man

The Solution: The insecure spouse needs to sit down and reflect on why they feel so insecure in the marriage. Ideally, they should meet with a psychologist to understand the underlying reasons for their jealousy and to find ways to minimize it.

20. Feeling Unappreciated

Sometimes in a marriage, one spouse may feel like they are not appreciated by the other. Perceiving a lack of recognition or gratitude from a partner can create resentments that chip away at the foundation of the marriage.

The Solution: If you feel unappreciated by your spouse, sit down and talk about it with them frankly. Without blaming or cornering them, express that you want them to acknowledge your contributions better. Both spouses should strive to show appreciation whenever they can by leaving notes of thanks, giving gifts or simply expressing gratitude verbally from time to time.

21. Scorekeeping

In arguments and other conflicts, spouses sometimes fall into the toxic dynamic of keeping score about perceived wins and losses. Instead of viewing themselves as a team, they take an us-versus-them approach to problems. Wanting to “settle the score” constantly causes resentment and many other problems, prioritizing having the upper hand instead of being there for each other.

The Solution: If you and your partner have fallen into the scorekeeping dynamic, try shifting your focus to look at the big picture. Learn to let go of the small things and remember that you’re in this together.

22. Parenting Differences

Raising kids is hard work, so it’s no surprise that parenting differences often crop up to damage marriages. Such differences can prevent a couple from presenting a unified front, which can cause anxiety in their kids.

The Solution: As a couple, you should strive to present a unified front to your children, even if you have differing opinions about raising or disciplining them. Wait until you are both calm to discuss parenting problems, and consider deferring to the spouse who feels the most strongly about the issue at hand.

23. Lack of Attention

Sometimes in a marriage, one spouse may redirect most of their attention to other aspects of life besides their partner. In turn, the other spouse feels neglected and may act out or overreact to seemingly minor things.

The Solution: If your spouse tells you they feel neglected, hear them out and avoid being defensive. Try adding new activities to your routine that you can enjoy together, like riding bikes or ballroom dancing, and continually look for new ways to show each other attention.

24. Anger Issues

When one spouse continually struggles to stay calm and flies off the handle on the other regularly, it can be the beginning of the end of a marriage. If you or your partner regularly lose your temper, yells or even physically harms the other, a major intervention is in order.

Young couple quarrel, boyfriend yelling

The Solution: The partner with anger issues should meet with a therapist to work on new coping mechanisms for dealing with internal and external stressors in their life. For example, they can try counting to 10 before reacting to a situation outwardly or tell the other person they need time to reflect before discussing hot-button issues.

25. Unrealistic Expectations

Many people go into marriages with unrealistic expectations they’ve developed from movies, TV shows, books and other media. Frequently, spouses have a picture in their heads about how things should be. When things don’t pan out that way, a spouse may view this as a sign that the marriage is doomed.

The Solution: Unfulfilled expectations can breed resentment in a marriage. The optimal solution is to let go of your preconceived notions about how your marriage should unfold. Both partners should face reality and appreciate what they have together, even if it’s not exactly what they envisioned.

Every marriage is unique. Some couples face just a few of the above issues while others seem to face a revolving door of them. Either way, it’s important to remember that you married your spouse because you love them and want to spend the rest of your lives together. Instead of ignoring marital problems, shine a light on them and actively work to resolve them together. In the long run, your efforts will be well worth it.

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Dan Stone

Dan Stone has worn many hats (author, journalist, editor, counselor, coach, consultant, educator, trainer) but the connecting thread is using language to educate and support others, particularly those seeking help to become their best selves in or out of relationships.

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