Common Communication Issues in Premarital and Married Couples
Updated: Mar 13, 2020
Amidst the excitement of the engagement and selecting the perfect day to say "I do", and figuring out how to merge two independent live into one (pre and post wedding day) there are crucial conversations that should be had that have nothing to do with color schemes and guest list, living location or couch selection. I hear these topics most frequently is sessions with couples. Most couples express that they should have sought premarital counseling, taken their premarital counseling more seriously, or sough a more qualified premarital counselor.
Culture tells us that the major issues that arise in marriage surround sex and money. And while those subjects do come up in counseling time and time again, I submit that these are only the surface of a much deeper problem: inadequate communication regarding expectations and insecurities between spouses. There are several areas in which this lack of health y communication can be especially harmful to new and even established marriages.
Call it personality types or family of origin or both, we all have our own ideas about how money should be saved and spent. If we are not honest with ourselves or our fiance/spouse about these expectations, our insecurities will creep in and start dividing our relationship. You may find your partner's spending habits threatening to your insecurities, but if you ask, you may find out that saving every penny is not as important to them as it is to you. They probably have no clue that you feel this way.
Again, everyone has different expectations and insecurities. If your expectation is that intimacy should happen more frequently than it is, then your insecurities might start telling you that your spouse no longer finds you attractive. If you express this to your spouse, you may find out that his or her expectations, needs or desires are just not on the same wave-length.
Sometimes, how our fiance/spouse expresses their emotions can bring up some issues within our own thoughts and feelings. Those need to be communicated about. For example, someone may think of crying as a manipulation tactic. Either this was a family of origin belief or was used in past relationships. If you express this concern in a loving way, you may find out that tears are just the primary way the person you love expresses emotion and they do not expect your behavior to change whether they are crying or not.
Now here is a place where MANY couples get stuck. The most common issues I see include: a. Each person prioritizing different chores, and b. Comparison to others. One partner may want all counter tops and tables decluttered to feel as though the hoe is clean, while the other partner wants the floors to be cleared and cleaned. The problem comes up, once again, if there is no communication! I may think I did an amazing job cleaning the floors all day and become disappointed when my husband isn't as excited about it as I am when he gets home. Meanwhile, he is disappointed, feeling like I don't care about him because the dinner table has paperwork all over it. No one is in the wrong for their feelings, but this situation could be avoided with communication. And comparison is typically not a good motivator. Sentiments like, "Why can't you take out the trash as frequently as my dad does" or "My mom always had dinner on the table" will not help your relationship move in the direction you want it to.
5. Raising Children
This topic needs to be discussed BEFORE you are engaged, WHILE you are engaged, AFTER you say "I do", WHILE you are trying to have children, WHEN you are pregnant, and ALL THE TIME your children are alive. Here's the thing, not everyone will get to all of these stages for whatever reason, but you need to know that if children are being planned for, you NEED to plan on having conversations about raising children regularly!
You can probably tell that I am only touching briefly on each of these topics. That is because entire books, book series, courses and Bible studies have been dedicated to each of these subjects. And I know I haven't mentioned every situation in which our poor communication, expectations and insecurities can cause problems.
My hope is, that this spurs you to communicate more, understand your expectations and how these inform our insecurities.