The 3 Most Common Causes For Marriage Conflict? NOT What You Think.

Most people list money, sex, parenting, or lack of communication--with the “newcomer on the block” – competing with spouse phone/tablet screen time. Karen Ehman is a New York Times best-selling author and expert on relationships contends that “while these issues all win participation trophies, I’d like to suggest that the top trio of trouble consists instead of these.”


The reality is, both of your bags are packed with a lot of STUFF; much like a couple who packs separately for vacation, and neither partner knows what’s in the other's suitcase. Ehman says, “ I once innocently told my husband to, ‘Quit playing dumb!’ He felt that I’d called him stupid – which was NOT at all what I meant. As a dyslexic, he remembers as a fifth grader walking to the third-grade classroom for group read-aloud time. So, when his ears heard the word ‘dumb,’ his heart interpreted it to mean he was not smart.”

Breakup Couple Relationship Separation Divorce

2. UNMET EXPECTATIONS. If you had a parent who had many qualities you admired, you kinda expect the same from your spouse. Perhaps it’s the way you respond to different situations; most usually the way you would behave. Unfortunately, they don’t. “Unmet expectations also migrate into marriage via the assorted screens we stare at daily. We spy unrealistic Hollywood depictions or relational perfection in social media.” The resulting feelings can lead anywhere from a subtle sadness to jealousy.

3. UNTRUE PERCEPTIONS. They do something one way (in their mind) rather innocently. The conclusions drawn can be completely false, but the other partner believes them to be true. “Our reactive behavior to untrue perceptions may take our spouse by surprise. Like the time my husband swung by the market on his way home from work, bringing me some half-and-half, just as I’d requested. However, when I spied the phrase “Fat-Free” on the side, I deduced that my husband wished I were a little more fat-free myself!”

So, what does this New York Times best-selling author have to say about the solutions to these conflict(s)?

Believe the best. Don’t assume the worst.

Ask clarifying questions. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Grant grace. Over and over again. Don’t give it an expiration date.

CREDIT: Karen Ehman-Fox News

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