Wouldn’t that be nice, a relationship without problems. That really is a dream. We all go into a relationship with our own set of problems. We learn to be in a relationship through our own family of origin. Which is different for everyone. Then, you try to mesh the two together.
That isn’t always easy. Which, if you have been in a relationship for a while you’ve probably figured out. So, the answer is no there is not a relationship that doesn’t have problems. The Gottman’s research has found, what’s important is that you repair. This means you accept one another’s differences and you learn to make up after an argument.
After working with many couples over the years in my practice, I have learned to appreciate the importance of perpetual problems. A perpetual problems is a problem that keeps coming up in your relationship that you just can’t solve, or come to a compromise that works for both of you.
5 benefits of perpetual problems:
- Make-up sex. What nobody tells you about sex, is that it is much more enjoyable when you talk about it. This is another area that our culture leads us to believe, that it will automatically be great. You each have your own body and it can take time to get to know one another sexually. Your likes and dislikes may differ. Maybe your partner is more adventurous. It’s alright to have differences, but you will never know unless you talk about it. After a while, sex may start to feel mundane or like a chore. If that is the case, you are in the danger zone. The good news is, you can get out of it. Talking to a professional may be the best route to go.
- You will build understanding in one another. This is a great time to talk about your background. You can talk about your childhood, your parent’s relationship, what has brought pain to you in your life and what has brought you happiness? You must understand your partner before you try to solve any problem. Even if it seems small, you must have understanding. This can take time and many conversations. If you keep at it, there will be a huge pay off in the long run.
- You learn to talk it out. Society leads us to believe that when you get married everything will just work out. You know this is not true. It takes time to get to know your partner’s style and develop your own culture for the relationship. What do you like for breakfast? Do you like to sleep in? What is your favorite comedy or drama? Are you a big spender or are you more thrifty? Do you prefer to stay in or do you like to go out? Your answers don’t have to be the same. What’s important is that you know these things about one another, and that you can compromise.
- You will become more aware of the positive in your partner. After you have been in a relationship for a while, it’s easy to focus on what you don’t like about your partner. I think you forget what drew you to your partner in the first place. Think back to when you first met, what stood out? What made you feel, this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? I know, work, a house and children change things. But, you can bring some of that magic back and look forward to seeing your partner at the end of the day again.
- 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. (Gottman) What does that mean, you are not alone all couples have problems. Problems can actually help keep your relationship together. You have to admit, when you work through a problem and come to a compromise it feels good. All relationships go through highs and lows. Learn to ride through it. Let go of what’s not working. In the long run, this will make the relationship stronger.
You go through seasons in a relationship. Try and learn from them. There is a lesson in each one. You don’t want to hide from your problems. Maybe, there is something in your past, that you need to resolve. Problems from the past can creep up in your relationship. Because, this is the person closest to you. If that is the case, then you need to get help for it. Talk to a friend, family member or a therapist.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many couples come to a compromise on their perpetual problems. For a free phone consultation or more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.