The Biggest Challenges to Marriage

You may think I’ll bring up the marriage debates, but in my opinion it’s not related to the greatest challenges facing a successful marriage and successful interactions between the couples that are married. The challenges I want to talk about here are the challenges that can leave your relationship precarious and potentially lead to the dissolution of your marriage if you and your spouse aren’t equipped to handle the challenges.

I like to call these challenges the final five, because when you and your spouse are capable of overcoming these challenges, then you are usually in a stronger place in your marriage. So what would I list as these final five?

  • The care for an aging parent
  • Weight gain – with or without childbirth
  • Depression and depressive behavior
  • Major illness or long-term illness
  • Economic hardship and job loss

In and of themselves, these are challenges related to living and to existing. When you are married, these challenges can really make your relationship stronger – you just need to find a way to cope with them and support each other through them without overwhelming or injuring the other. Sounds like a tall order, right? Of course it is, but that’s the idea behind marriage – joining your life and overcoming challenges.

We’ve talked about caring for an aging parent and how that demand, both physical and emotional can really overwhelm both of you. The drain can be profound and it can create relationship where the harmony is threatened between you. You have to remember that when an aging parent is living with you or you are looking after them, it’s not about choosing between your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with the parent.

Weight gain is hard on any marriage because it can be hard on your individual self-image. Weight gain can also provide a challenge to your health and your self-confidence. The reverse, weight loss after weight gain, can also affect your relationship by challenging your spouse in a manner that makes them doubt themselves.

Depression is an illness that often requires outside intervention and care as well. When we’re depressed, we don’t care about much of anything. We may not care about our appearance, our financial situations, and more. If you suspect depression or if depression is an issue, it’s a problem that may need outside help. You can check our mental health blog for more information on this topic.

Finally, the strain of financial hardship brought on by job loss or by a physical illness can leave one or both spouses feeling like you are drowning. When these challenges occur, it’s paramount that you and your spouse maintain your intimacy and stay open to what is going on. You’ll need support on both sides because the best way to overcome all of these challenges is togetherness.

Have you or your spouse confronted any of these five challenges?

Related Articles:

Marriage Stress Busters: Don’t Let Stress Tear You Apart

Marriage Problems or Money Problems?

Relationship Problems

Instinct: Our Fight or Flight

The Other Side of the Coin

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.