Married? Dating? Committed relationship? Regardless of the phase you are currently in, I’m sure you want to avoid the major relationship pitfalls. Do you think, “Our love is unbreakable!”? Well statistics show otherwise because divorce rates are at an all-time high. Every single day, relationships that appear to be healthy and strong are ended due to irreconcilable differences, abuse, and unfaithfulness. These relationships do not typically end quickly – they slowly fade. Each day, decisions are made that gradually dictate either the growth or demise of the relationship.
The decisions you make during your relationship will either make or break it. Below is a list of common problems that many relationships suffer from.
1.) Social Media Addiction
On a date, sitting at home, out for a walk, lying in bed: are you staring at a screen instead of your significant other? Do you prefer to scroll through a social media account over having a meaningful conversation? This needs to STOP! “But they do the same thing!” you may say. Then you need to sit down and have a conversation about spending more quality time together. An electronic device can come between you just as much as another person can. For a relationship to thrive, you need to give your undivided attention to your partner, encouraging open and uninhibited communication. Your relationship should always be a higher priority than any piece of technology.
If jealousy has become a normal part of your relationship, there is a problem. Is someone purposefully making the other person feel this way? Or is envy something you have allowed to control your relationship? “Why did you look in the direction of that girl?” “Why would you talk to him?”
Unless jealousy is something your partner is wrongfully causing, you need to work through this toxic feeling. Do you trust each other? Have you communicated your expectations with each other? Maybe your significant other does not know your insecurities and comfort level with their interactions with the opposite sex. Let each other know your expectations; this will lead to deepened trust.
3.) Relationship Comparisons
“Her husband brings her flowers and chocolate every week!” “His wife has a full-time career and still cooks every meal.” If you spend more time evaluating and comparing your relationship with someone else’s, you will never see the beauty in your own. In all areas of life, someone is always doing something better than you. Take some time to appreciate the things your partner already does. And if you are unsatisfied with something, let them know – kindly.
4.) Avoiding Disagreements
Disagreements are an important part of every relationship because no couple ever agrees on everything. If you choose to ignore or suppress your opinion when you disagree with your partner, bitterness will always start to grow. Disagreements are NORMAL! You don’t have to yell, fight, and get angry at each other. But you certainly do need to express your opinion and talk through your differences.
In the beginning, we had to work on this. We had to sit down and focus on talking through our differences. Otherwise, emotions would have been suppressed and the result would have been a red-hot explosion. Learn to “fight fairly” and talk things through. Practice makes perfect!
5.) Financial Irresponsibility
Combined finances need to be completely open to each other. We use the term “combined finances” because many partners choose to keep their finances separate. However, if you have joint finances, both partners need to have equal access and make an effort to stay aware of its condition. In most relationships, one person is more financially savvy than the other. Make sure to keep your partner “in the know” on what you are doing with the finances. A relationship’s financial decline is one of the top reasons for divorce. You must come to a joint agreement on debt, credit cards, spending, savings, and retirement. An important step in financial health is getting a trusted financial adviser.
6.) Letting Someone Come Between You and Your Partner
It can be a parent, friend, sibling, or even an online presence. When your significant other starts to feel replaced in a certain area, this does not indicate that good times are ahead. Has date night been replaced with boy’s night or game night? Does your partner discuss your personal life with someone else? Are you becoming a little too friendly and open with your coworker?
If something inside of you is cautioning you, step back and evaluate the situation. If your partner is uncomfortable with a circumstance or relationship, you need to seriously consider their concern and come to an agreement. Feeling replaced is a lonely place to be – one where bitterness and insecurity thrive.
7.) Forgetting the Little Things
In the beginning, small tokens of love were normal. You loved how your partner treated you with such thought and care! What happened to date nights, small gifts, flowers, head rubs, little kisses, public displays of affection, etc.? Now that you are committed to each other, does it feel like you are taken for granted? START DOING IT AGAIN! There is truth in the saying “How you got them is how you keep them.” Don’t underestimate those small tokens of love and affection. They can go a long way to keep the fire burning and the love alive!
8.) Criticizing Each Other
When you and your partner disagree, the last thing you want to do is criticize them. This makes them feel unappreciated and hurt. When you make nitpicking a part of your life, you begin to see all your partner’s faults instead of all their accomplishments. Over time, your critical attitude will become a habit that will harm the health of your relationship. A nagging and negative partner can cripple the other’s self-image and confidence. Be the person the builds them up and supports them! That is what a team-mate and partner is supposed to do.
9.) Someone Always Has To Be Right
Do you and/or your partner find yourselves bickering over who is right? Even over the dumbest little things? Why are you creating a power struggle over who is right or wrong? Not only does this damage your relationship, but it shows others that you are immature and petty. Ask yourself the question, “Why do I always have to be right?” YOU DON’T! Being wrong isn’t a bad thing and you do not have to prove you are right at the expense of your partner. If you are in public, you need to save that conversation for private. Try letting something go, even when you know you are right. A relationship isn’t about being right or keeping score.
10.) Not Apologizing
In some relationships, the words “I am sorry” are never uttered, while in others “I am sorry” is often said, but not truly meant. A real heart-felt apology needs to result in an effort to change. Saying the words does not excuse your behavior and allow you to escape the consequences. You must explain what you did, ask for forgiveness, and make an effort to not repeat the offense. Don’t make an excuse for yourself, “It is just the way I am” or “I had a lapse of judgement.” Own up and move forward.
11.) Talking Behind Each Other’s Backs
From Day #1 of our relationship, we made privacy our priority. We agreed to talk through our differences together and not share our problems with others. I’m not talking about serious relational problems; I’m referring to the everyday problems and difficulties every relationship faces. If you have made a habit of seeking input from your friends and revealing private information about your partner without their consent, you need to stop. Don’t talk behind your partner’s back and paint them in a negative light to others. Long after you have forgotten the argument, your friends will remember and may hold it against them.
With so many day-to-day responsibilities competing for our attention, it is easy to lose focus on the things that really matter. Not making your partner your #1 priority is a mistake that may cost you the most valuable relationship of your life. Whether you feel the problem lies with you or your partner, you must take the first step of open and honest communication. This is the key to every successful relationship.