By Brian Figeroux
The marriage ceremony, historically, represents a celebration of a blessed union between two people in love—a memorable and romantic and special day with vows to be faithful till death, do us part. This is a day when the ecstatic couple envision a happy life together spanning many generations to come. Rings have been exchanged; vows have been exchanged; the bridal bouquet has been tossed and eagerly grasped by a hopeful new bride –to-be. The honeymoon is over. The couple are now officially and legally wed. Harsh reality steps in as a plethora of irritating and heartbreaking problems now plague the couple. Let’s address some of the most common problems facing that young now disillusioned couple.
1. Money. Arguments develop and escalate over financial issues, e.g., bills, debts and spending habits. It’s no longer who is going to pick up the check in the restaurant on that third date. There are bigger issues to deal with. According to Jason Carroll, Brigham Young University, “Financial problems are as much a result of how we think about money as how we spend it.” For those couples who want to buy into the dream of home ownership, they face the stress of costly expenditures—mortgages, property taxes, and monthly maintenance costs. According to Pulse.com, quite conceivably, couples incorporate opposing value systems—one spends money freely; the other is more frugal. Ranjan Shaw, a marriage counselor and clinical psychologist, observes that most partners are indeed surprised by each other’s spending habits and debts which apparently they did not know about when they were just in the dating mode of their relationship.
2. Household responsibilities. Now that they are living under one roof, disagreements will inevitably arise over the equitable distribution of household chores—taking out the garbage, cooking, grocery shopping, etc. etc. etc. The to-do list is endless. This is particularly problematic in the very early days of the marriage when the honeymoon phase is over and both partners are employed outside the home. Once upon a time household chores fell into the domain of the woman—no longer a truism in the 21st century.
3. Addiction. According to Tim Lanigan, formerly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drug abusers, to satiate their addiction desires, make withdrawals from the family’s bank account, money that would ordinarily be used for such necessary expenditures as food, shelter and clothing . Witnessing an empty refrigerator, empty closets and the specter of eviction, will most certainly introduce an excessive amount of stress.
4. Children. Marriage counselor, Sonali Raisingh, observed that couples differ on what day they plan to check into the maternity ward to have that first child. Biological considerations dictate when women want to become mothers, whereas fathers prefer to be financially and emotionally prepared to enter into fatherhood. According to Directed Path Ministries, the subject of children involves when to have children, how many to have, how to discipline them and how to educate them. The issue significantly escalates when the parents inherit children from previous relationships or marriages.
5. Sex. Invariably, in most marriages men feel that they are in essence not getting enough love in the bedroom. Couples Counseling Center states that initiating a meaningful dialogue is often difficult due to embarrassment. Periodically, an infrequent occurrence of sexual relations will ensue due to such contributing factors as resentment, exhaustion, or stress. All the glasses of wine and candle-lit rooms will not inspire affection during such stressful times. Stephanie Mane, relationship therapist, observes from her own experience in her practice that, “More than money, kids…the most common issue with married couples…is a struggle with sexual intimacy. “
6. Technology. A new phenomenon has invaded the marriage counselor’s office as technology increasingly becomes a fact of life for us all. For marriage counselor Amy Morin, “People are texting while they’re at dinner, surfing the Internet in the evening, and using their smartphones. Sitting next to your partner and using separate laptops doesn’t constitute quality time.”
The aforementioned list is just the tip of the iceberg concerning what disrupts domestic tranquility and disrupts the happily ever after scenario.