Common Marriage Problems Solved

If you're married, you'll no doubt recognize many of these relationship problems. But what may surprise you is how easily they can be fixed

The cause: Trouble usually originates between the wife and her husband's mother. Why? Marriage researcher John Gottman, PhD, says it's usually because both women are competing for the attention of the husband.

The cure: Solidarity is essential to the success of a marriage, so you both must present a united front. Husband must side with his wife in any disagreement—even if she's wrong. Mom must understand that her son is a husband first, son second.

The cause: Newlyweds especially don't know how to balance the freedom and power that money brings with the security and trust that it's supposed to foster.

The cure: Plan as a financial team. Decide your goals as a couple (home, college for the kids, cars, vacation home, retirement) and review them regularly. Open a joint bank account to manage these areas and deposit 90 percent of your paycheck there. Then open individual checking accounts for the remaining 10 percent of pay. This is personal money that you can spend however the account owner wants. No questions asked.

The cause: Having a husband creates an extra 7 hours a week of housework for women, while a wife saves a man an hour of housework per week, according to a University of Michigan study of a nationally representative sample of US families.

The problem lies within that disparity. Wives feel unsupported when their husbands don't pitch in with the dusting, vacuuming, dish and clothes washing—and putting away all that stuff they just washed. Men model the behavior they grew up with. If they were raised in traditional homes where the father did the hard labor and never lifted a can of Pledge, they handle garbage detail and lawn mowing and think that they've done their part.

The cure: Tell your guy how important it is to you that he pitches in around the house. Then dangle this carrot: Gottman's research shows that when husbands do their share to maintain the home, the couple reports a more satisfying sex life. We bet he makes a beeline for the Mop and Glow.

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