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Published on September 17, 2020

How to Deal With the 15 Most Common Marriage Problems

How to Deal With the 15 Most Common Marriage Problems

All the movies we have seen growing up—from Snow White to Titanic—have given our world a glimpse into what real love should look like. Women are looking for their Prince Charming because our world tends to glorify marriage.

As a result, marriage seems like a good idea for most people. After all, why shouldn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after?

But the movies make it look easy. And as any married person can tell you, marriage in real life is sometimes anything but easy. In fact, for many couples, it can be downright miserable if they don’t know how to work through their problems.

And think about it—no one teaches us how to have a happy, healthy marriage. If our parents didn’t model it for us, then we have no idea how to do it ourselves.

Because of this, almost all marriages have problems. Some couples are better at working through the ups and downs through the years than others, but they all have them.

Regardless of whether your problems lead to divorce or you work through them effectively, most married couples have similar issues. So, let’s take a look at 15 of the most common problems most marriages face.

1. Division of Labor

Research shows that even when both spouses work outside the home, the woman is usually the one who does more of the housework and chores.

Obviously, this creates more stress for her. But what’s even more stressful beyond these daily chores is called “psychological responsibility.” In other words, women are expected to remember things like “Johnny has a doctors’ appointment on Tuesday,” or “We have to go to Jane’s soccer game on Saturday at 2:00.”

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While it’s not always the woman who does more of the work, lack of balance with the division of labor can cause a lot of issues.

Learn more about how to tackle this problem here: Average Couples See Chores as a Cornerstone, Happy Couples See Them as the Gem Stone

2. Finances

Some people are spenders. Others are savers. So, if you get a spender and a saver together in a marriage, you can see how that would become a problem.

Maybe growing and investing money is important to one person, but the other couldn’t care less about it. Fighting over money and how it is spent is one of the most common problems in marriages.

3. Children and Parenting Differences

Let’s face it—children can be stressful! The crying/sleepless babies, temper tantrums, and rebellious teenagers are not a lot of fun sometimes, regardless of how much you love your kids! And that can cause a lot of stress to a couple. Even differing parenting styles like how to punish a child can cause a rift in a married couple.

4. Personality Differences

If one person is an introvert and the other is an extrovert, then there may be constant tension regarding how often to socialize.

The extrovert might feel unloved that the introvert never wants to go to a party with them. But the introvert might feel rejected because the extrovert always wants to socialize with people other than their spouse. And this is just one aspect of personality differences that can cause problems in marriages.

5. Fighting and Communication Style Differences

Maybe one spouse grew up in a family where they yelled and screamed at each other when they were angry, while the other spouse grew up in a family that turned their anger inward and would give people the silent treatment. Having different fighting or communication styles when it comes to conflict can be a huge obstacle to having a happy and healthy marriage.

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6. Different Love Languages

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. In it, he defines five different ways people give and receive love (acts of service, touch, time, giving of gifts, words of affirmation). If you both speak very different love languages, you might not feel loved by your partner, which may lead to marriage problems.

For example, if you want to be given gifts to feel loved but instead your partner would rather do acts of service for you—like fixing your car or rubbing your feet—then you might not understand that they really do love you.

Here’s Why You and Your Partner Don’t Need to Speak the Same Love Language to Stay Together

7. Sex

Everyone has different sexual needs—both in frequency and type. Some people love having sex as often as they can, while others could live the rest of their lives without it. And others need a lot of kinky stuff to be satisfied. Regardless of what you want, most couples have a problem with their sexual compatibility.

8. Jealousy and Infidelity

Many people are naturally insecure and unfortunately, many people are also tempted to cheat on their spouse. So, whether or not someone actually cheats, there can be jealousy that exists within the relationship.

Infidelity isn’t just limited to physical cheating either. Emotional infidelity is running rampant these days because of technology, such as phones and dating apps. They make it so easy to hide what someone is doing and whom they are talking to.

9. Boredom

Relationships are always exciting when they are new. Everyone feels like they are walking on cloud 9 because they are so in love. But then as time goes on, the newness and infatuation wear off. As that happens, many couples fall into a slump. Their relationship stagnates and seems to get boring. It takes effort to try to keep the love alive and to keep doing exciting things together.

Learn Why Your Relationship Has Become Boring (And How to Fix It).

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10. Power Inequity

Power can come in many forms—from financial power to parenting power. If one spouse makes more money than the other (or perhaps one is a stay-at-home parent), that creates an imbalance when it comes to who brings in the money. And this imbalance is a common marriage problem.

Who has more decision-making power? Many times, it’s not equal. So, that definitely causes problems because one of the spouses could start to feel powerless over time.

11. Abuse

Abuse also comes in several forms. Physical abuse is what most people think of when they hear the word abuse. But mental and emotional abuse is also very detrimental to people and the couple as a whole: The Invisible Violence in Relationships That Destroys People

When one or both people are not respecting each other by laying their hands on them or using horrible language when they speak, that can tear apart a marriage in no time.

12. Values and Beliefs

As the saying goes, “a bird and a fish may love each other, but where will they live?” In other words, when two people have very different ways of looking at the world, it makes it difficult to understand each other. And this may lead to problems in marriage.

For example, if a Catholic is married to a Muslim, they probably don’t share a lot of beliefs and worldviews. Even if one is a Republican and the other is a Democrat, that can cause major tension in a marriage as well.

13. Trying to Change Each Other

No one is perfect. There will always be something about everyone in the world that will annoy you. But when people don’t understand this, then they try to change each other.

They think, “I can’t stand that Bob doesn’t want to go to the gym and work out with me, but when we get married, I’ll change his mind.” No. That NEVER works! You cannot change people.

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So, you should just learn to accept each other the way you are. Otherwise, you will be making each other miserable with all of the naggings that go into trying to change a person—and besides, it’s just not possible.

14. Keeping Score

If someone feels like they are doing way more for the other person than they are for them, then it’s natural to keep score.

You think, “I work, and then I come home and cook and clean and take care of the kids. But all the while, Ben is just sitting on the couch, drinking his beer, and not even noticing how stressed out I am!” Then in your mind, you think you have racked up a lot more on the scoreboard than he has. As a result, resentment builds up over time and it can ruin a marriage.

15. Unrealistic Expectations

We all have an idea of how we want other people to act.

For example, maybe you think that when someone is married, they should have sex every day. But let’s face it—most couples are tired from work, kids, chores, etc. So, it doesn’t happen.

Maybe you think your wife should cook gourmet meals all the time just like your mom did. Well, maybe she hates to cook! Putting unrealistic expectations on your spouse will just make you both frustrated and angry.

Bottom Line

No one has a perfect marriage—not even the ones who are the happiest! Being happy while being married takes effort, but that doesn’t mean that effort has to be hard.

If you both try to give 100% to work through the inevitable marriage problems that you face, then the marriage can work well. It takes a lot of commitment and love, but it can definitely be done.

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More on How to Deal With Marriage Problems

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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