At the beginning of a relationship, when everything is new. You can’t imagine you would ever have any kind of a challenge in your relationship. You can’t see your partner’s flaws. The relationship makes you feel wonderful.

But, eventually the honeymoon is over. You start to see your partner as a real human being. With flaws, like the rest of us. Problems are part of every relationship. The Gottman’s research has found, that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. This means, learn to understand your partner and your problems in the relationship. Nothing is as black and white as it seems.

Here are 4 of the most common relationship challenges:

  1. You will not meet all of the dreams you had for the relationship. You entered the relationship with your dreams of what love is. You thought you knew your partner’s love language. You thought your partner would always understand you and take your side. It’s alright to go into a relationship with dreams and expectations. But, I’m here to tell you they won’t all be met. This is where you need to learn to self-soothe. You can’t rely on your partner for everything and to always be able to soothe you. It’s really easy when you have been in a relationship for a while, to always want your partner to soothe you when you are feeling down. If your partner is not available, then this is a great opportunity to self-soothe. Take a bubble bath, meditate, go for a walk in the sunshine, listen to positive music. Make sure you do something that helps revive you and brings you pleasure. This will help take a lot of pressure off of the relationship.
  2. The sex isn’t always going to be hot. In the beginning you can’t wait to jump in the sack with your partner. It’s like a new adventure. You are getting to know your partner from the inside out. You’ve never felt this kind of chemistry. It must be right. We all know, after being married for a while that changes. Your list of responsibilities start to take over, and your relationship gets lower on the list. We have found that what keeps the spark going is a good friendship. It might be time to update your LoveMaps. This is where you really get to know your partner inside and out. Let go of any secrets you may have. The relationship needs to feel safe in order to do this. This means you don’t criticize one another. You also use “I” statements. Let your partner know how you feel and what you need.
  3. Your in-laws will get in the way. You may have been the best of friends before the marriage, but now they are in the way. You may feel your partner puts his family first. You don’t like feeling like second best in the marriage. This makes you feel left out. Or, maybe you never got along. You thought getting married would change things and it didn’t. You aren’t alone, many couples have problems with the in-laws. They just do things differently than your family did, and you don’t understand it. This is an area where you want to stay away from judgement. Remember, they are your partner’s parents. Try to listen to their side, again without judgement. Make sure to let your partner know you need to feel first in the relationship.
  4. Money will get in the middle of your relationship. When you first got together you were both working. You loved your work. It didn’t matter who picked up the check. It just seemed to always work out. Or did it? Maybe, you just didn’t say anything because you didn’t want to upset your partner. Now, you have a mortgage and a family. Your work may not be as steady as it used to. You didn’t think your job would be outsourced and it was. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a new one. I know times have changed, but a lot of the time men carry the financial burden. After a while, they can feel resentful about this. It’s important to feel appreciated in the relationship. Whether you work outside the home or inside the home. So, how do you do this? You say it. Let your partner know how much you appreciate how hard they work. This one can be easy to forget when the list of responsibilities had added up.

Even the best of relationships have their ups and downs. What’s important is that you learn to repair and forgive. No one is perfect, don’t expect your partner to be. This means let your partner know when you have messed up, with a sincere apology. This can be one of the simplest ways to repair, but so many people have a hard time doing this.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many couples overcome relationship challenges, and live a reasonably happy life. For a free phone consultation or more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or

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