When we are good, we’re very good! But when we are bad, we are disastrous!! I have heard that phrase or something similar to it from almost every couple that has come into my office. Marriage is unique in the fact that when the relationship is good, it is very fulfilling; yet, when the relationship is not so good, marriage is frustrating and aggravating. I have heard some people say, “I love my wife but I do not like her whatsoever!” Everyone that has been married for any length of time has had similar feelings and thoughts about their marriage. What causes these feelings? Where do we go wrong when it comes to being married?
I want to give you what I consider the top seven areas of conflict in marriage. Over the next couple of weeks, we will address each one specifically.
- Expectations: When we get married, we have a set of expectations that govern our thoughts about marriage. Either those expectations are formed by the way our parents treated their marriage, or by a fantasy that was developed while we were young. If our parents had a good marriage, then we probably expect our marriage to be similar. If our parents divorced or had major conflict, we develop our fantasy of what we desire. Either way, our expectations can become a source of conflict in our marriage.
- Children: I do believe that children are a gift from God. No one is ever a mistake or a problem, yet children are something that couples fight about within marriage quite often. Some of the topics of concern are when to have children, how many to have, how to discipline them, and how to educate them. Then if you have children from another relationship, those issues are magnified. Obviously, kids can be a great source of blessing and fulfillment. Or they can be a great source of conflict.
- Money: How do we budget? What do we spend it on? Who makes the decisions about what is spent? How do we save? Do we make enough? Each one of these topics can be a source of conflict.
- Time: Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Using time for yourself versus using time for your marriage is the main issue. Everyone needs time alone, but how much? Everyone needs to have hobbies, but do they interfere with the marriage? Everyone has to work, but when is it enough? Time can be a major source of conflict for a couple.
- Sex: Most people do not expect the sexual relationship to be an issue when they get married. They believe that area will be one that is very fulfilling, yet is becomes an area of frustration for many couples. There is so much more to this area of the relationship than just being in bed together.
- Family: The extended family can create sources of conflict for a couple. Their demands and expectations can be a strain. The conflicts among family members can create struggles. The physical distance between families can be a source of problems for a couple, not to mention the free advice that can be given.
- Communication: We live in the information age. We are connected through all different forms of communication. We text, chat, tweet, post and sometimes we talk. Even with all of that, sometimes we do not understand one another or connect with each other.
Each one of these issues can create great conflict in a marriage. This list is not necessarily in any specific order. It does represent the struggles that I have seen over the years in a lot of marriages. Again, over the next couple of weeks I will address each topic in depth.
What would you add to the list? I would love to hear any additional topics that you would like for me to address.
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.