only 4 minutes per day! This can be corrected; it is discussed
below and in chapters 9 & 13.
Problems with relatives are common, especially when one
spouse remains dependent on his/her parents for money or
Sexual problems (see end of chapter) occur in about 45% of
the couples seeking marriage counseling. But sex may not be
the basic problem; you don't want to make love if you are
uptight, sad, or mad.
Although your mom and dad may not have told you, marital
satisfaction goes down for most couples after children are born.
The work load becomes much greater. Parents frequently
disagree about how to raise and discipline children. There are
jealousies and criticisms: "You do too much for them" or "You
don't do enough!" Of course, children are wonderful blessings
(usually) but they aren't "good for the marriage."
Sometimes couples drift apart. They seek different friends,
develop new interests, and grow in different directions. When
there are few common interests, it is a problem.
There are other common problems--jealousy, being taken for
granted, unfaithfulness, criticism and nagging, bossiness,
clinging dependency, domination, abuse, loss of love, self-
centeredness, etc., etc. Don't expect it to be easy; there are
many challenging barriers to having a good marriage.
A list of warning signs: less respect and more disappointment in
the other, more anger-arguments, more negative criticism, more
blaming, doing less together, feeling lonely or neglected, less sex, less
trust, less joint decision-making, less sharing of thoughts and feelings,
less helping, less touching. Pay attention to these problems as soon as
they occur and get to the root of the problem. Another study (Kurdek,
1993) provided these danger signals (early in the marriage): knew
each other a short time, low income (h=husband), low education and
income (w), previously married (h or w), harmful beliefs about
marriage (h or w), highly neurotic (h or w), a stepfather (h), keep
separate accounts, large differences in need to be autonomous, and
different external reasons for marrying. During the marriage, these
were danger signals: marked decline (h and w) in satisfaction, faith in
marriage, degree of attachment, and pleasure or pay offs from the
Previous discussions of other problems in marriage
In chapter 6 we discussed the stages of divorce and the loneliness
and pain of losing a relationship. In chapter 7 we saw how anger,
abuse, power struggles, jealousy, and distrust were all-too-often a
part of marriage. In chapters 8 and 9 we realized how the social-
emotional dependency and the oppression involved in sex roles and
chauvinism can cause special problems for married women. In
chapters 9 and 13 we reviewed several skills involved in intimacy, such
as liking yourself and self-disclosing, checking your hunches, assuming
responsibility for your own feelings (and making "I" statements),