Marriage is a beautiful institution with countless benefits. Studies have shown that happily married couples experience a reduction in their risk of common diseases, as well as better sleep and improved life fulfillment. However, like any good thing, marriage requires work to get the reward. Sharing your entire life with another person can be incredibly stressful and you are bound to clash at some point or another.
One of the best ways to keep your marriage on sound footing is by identifying stressors and dealing with them promptly. Take off your rose-colored glasses and assess your partner for who they really are. Know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own, and gauge your responses to them with their personality in mind.
While many life events are out of your control, there are many that require careful planning and thought.
Included here are a few of the most common stressors that could be damaging your marriage.
Before heading into a massive home remodel, understand that stress and disagreements will be a part of the experience and be understanding of your partner.
For many couples, settling into a home sounds like the end of conflict; no more dealing with landlords, expensive rent, and the lack of equity. In reality, purchasing a house can be just the opposite. Beginning a home remodel is a great way to cause a lot of stress and disagreement in your relationship.
Before agreeing to a remodel, sit down with your partner and identify what elements they always envisioned present in their dream home. Do your ideas clash or go together? Can you find compromises before the remodel is underway? Knowing exactly what your partner is picturing and how your dream relates can help you resolve problems before they arise.
Lack of Boundaries
While many men “jokingly” refer to their wife as a “ball and chain,” boundaries can be helpful in any relationship. If you do not feel joyful about being committed to one person, marriage may not be the best option for you yet. In any healthy relationship, there will be established boundaries and limitations for where each person is comfortable.
One area many couples run into trouble is when they fail to identify relationship boundaries with people of the opposite sex. While close, best-friend relationships may have existed with members of the opposite sex before you were married, they can cause a great deal of conflict once you are married. Your spouse should never feel that they are competing for your attention with another friend.
Another boundary that should be in place is that of emotional intimacy. Many married individuals inadvertently cheat on their spouses emotionally, because they choose someone else to confide in. Growing a relationship means continued support and intimacy, so do not find someone else who “understands” you better than your spouse. Remember that marriages take work and sometimes long hours spent talking just to understand each other are necessary.
Too Much Money
Ah, finances, one of the greatest relationship stressors since the beginning of time. You may believe all you need to be happy is a little more money. Unfortunately, couples with higher income ratios do not tend to be happier. A recent study by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that the ideal income for happiness tends to be around $50,000 per year. Your ideal income will vary based on where you live and the size of your family, but happiness can be accomplished whenever your basic needs are met.
Earning above this income can result in a slew of relationship problems for even the happiest of couples. One study demonstrated the fact that having too many choices can make an individual unhappy or overwhelmed. The same holds true for those in relationships. Too much money can mean too many options for where to live, what to eat, where to vacation and so on. Having a little less limits your options enough that you and your spouse can compromise.