In my office I frequently hear couples say, “When a couple can’t agree on things like sex and money and can’t communicate, they end up getting divorced…Right?” These may be perceived reasons that cause divorce, but I suggest that there are three categories where the majority of relationship problems land. May I suggest that it is the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, that are at the root of each of the three categories below, that leads to relationship problems and ultimately leads to relationship dissolution (divorce/breakup).
1. Placing a sole focus on your own emotional and physical desires instead of seeking to understand your spouse/partner’s emotional and physical desires. Problems in this category include sexual dysfunction, feeling lonely, not feeling emotionally connected, etc..
2. Giving in to consumeristic thoughts and beliefs (e.g. “My spouse does not have all of the qualities that I deserve in a relationship). These thoughts suggest that you deserve better and that you should be looking outside the relationship for someone who has qualities that will provide more personal fulfilment. Problems in this category include physical and emotional infidelity and developing a stronger relationships with friends and coworkers rather than with your spouse/partner.
3. Place a higher emphasis on getting things (e.g. bigger house, fancier car, etc.) and gaining personal achievement (e.g. better job, more education, etc.) than on establishing and maintaining a good relationship. Problems in this area include financial infidelity, financial strain, emotional disconnection and feelings of relationship neglect, just to name a few.
All three of the above categories usually also involve poor communication on some level. Most relationship problems fall in to one of these three categories and, in today’s world, it takes consistent effort to not get wrapped up in any of them. If you are willing to do a personal inventory of how wrapped up your are in an of these categories, and seek to avoid them, you will find that your relationship will be more enjoyable and you will have a greater ability to weather the challenges in your relationship with your spouse/partner.