Having a great relationship with someone you love is a wonderful thing! Relationships can give us purpose, love, support, fulfillment, excitement, and many wonderful things! However, we all know that great relationships don’t just magically appear; they are developed with time, commitment, work and effort. Even when you have a great relationship, it doesn’t mean you wont have your share of challenges. On the contrary, if you are in a relationship for any length of time, chances are you will face your share of adversity and issues to work through. So don’t feel like you are alone if you and your partner are facing some trials or rough spots in your relationship. This is totally normal and to be expected. Even when faced with negative situations, these issues can actually make us grow even closer together. It’s all based on how we choose to handle our problems.

Here are four of the most common relationship challenges:

Communication Problems 

According to research, communication problems are a leading cause of divorce worldwide. One communication issue expected in most relationships is the failure to convey negative emotions in a positive way. Most people have a certain level of difficulty expressing themselves in constructive ways. For example, when you feel jealous, angry or insecure, you might try to cover-up these emotions because you do not want to feel vulnerable. If you are jealous, own the jealousy and acknowledge the associated emotions. If one partner in a relationship is not honest about his /her feelings, it can be the cause of little, petty arguments over things that don’t really matter, and the root cause of the development of resentment. When something bothers you, take time to first be honest with yourself and identify the true cause of

your feelings. Then ask yourself, “How can I explain this to my partner/spouse in a way that’s clear, understandable and not accusatory?” You will feel better trying to communicate your feelings and viewpoint if you have first taken the time to identify and clarify what you’re feeling yourself. Make sure to schedule time to get together to talk and communicate on a regular basis so when issues arise, they will get resolved quickly.

Equal Division of Responsibility/Workload 

Another common area of relationship problems is in the area of division of responsibilities. Whether it is in the area of childcare, daily chores, financial responsibility, there are times that one person in a relationship will feel like he/she is taking on more that their fair share of the workload. Although there are times throughout any relationship that certain responsibilities shift to one person or the other, will become problematic if the problem goes unaddressed and festering and resentment builds. Resentment can be a poison for relationships and the key is to address a situation before resentment builds. One effective antidote to resentment is expressing gratitude for what the other person is doing. Assure them that you recognize their value and the positive effect they are having on your life. If you are feeling that you are the one bearing most of the load right now, acknowledge your feelings and ask yourself what actions could be taken to help you feel differently.

Dealing with Blended Families, Extended Families 

A huge stress to any relationship is that of dealing with parents, previous spouses, blended family and extended family. One key ingredient for maneuvering the tricky waters of family dynamics is to make sure your partner/spouse always knows that you are “on their side”. Your partner might not be always right, but you must remember that you are a team that should remain united. For example, if your spouse has conflict with your mother, remain on

your wife/husband’s side. If an argument or disagreement occurs, avoid confronting your partner in front of other people. Speak to him/her in private to discuss the problem. Come up with a game plan on the best way to solve your problems.

Problems in the Bedroom

For many couples, underwhelming sex can mean two things: first, it might symbolize that there are underlying problems in the relationship. Some couples will say that their relationship is good but their sex life is not. The underwhelming sex is not a diagnosis, but perhaps a symptom of other problems. Unequal distribution of household chores, responsibilities or just a plain over-loaded work schedule might be one reason why couples stop having sex. The desire might be there, but they are just physically exhausted. Nevertheless, sex issues might be exactly what they are – the sex is not up to par.

Whether you have made sex a priority, your sex is unsatisfying, or your partner does not attract you sexually, you must understand the difference between attachment and passion. Passion is usually a driver during the first stage of a relationship. After the relationship matures, couples are able to know each other on a deeper level and the passion melts into attachment (a feeling of companionship and comfort). To get the passion back, you have to incite excitement and fear of the unknown. Think back about when you first met your partner/spouse and jot down some of the things that excited you about them. Also think about activities that put you both in a romantic mood. Take time to schedule some special alone time together, without the kids, work or anything to interrupt you. Do something you both enjoy together, even if it’s just taking a walk or meeting in your favorite café or special spot…. Make an effort to set the stage for romance, intimacy and lovemaking. Your extra-effort won’t go unnoticed.

Having a great relationship takes time and effort but the reward is definitely worth it! Maybe you’ve hit a rough patch in your relationship and you need some guidance. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trained relationship professional such as Dr. Michael Cristiano to help you resolve your situation and get your relationship back on track to being everything it can be!

Dr. Michael Cristiano in Boca Raton, Florida is a board-certified psychologist and highly respected relationship expert. Earning the coveted Psychology Today verification, Dr. Cristiano is a leader in the field of relationship issues and couples therapy. Take a moment and call (561) 571-2772 to schedule your appointment. Take that step and help your relationship become the fulfilling, nourishing relationship that it’s meant to be!