Common relationship friction areas include:
Communication and closeness
Keeping the eyes on the prize involves not getting caught up in who is right and who is wrong, who needs to have the last word, or ego battles. It can be the subject matter or simply the communication style can trigger irritation. Key qualities needed for closeness and a positive connection in relationships are understanding, empathy, kindness, and compassion for the other.
An illicit affair coming to light can cause incredible pain and havoc in a committed relationship. If the affair does not rip the relationship apart, it will certainly redefine it. As long as both individuals are able to rise from a place of blame and move towards healing, there is even possibility of increased intimacy and honesty in the aftermath of an affair, perhaps allowing for discussion on topics previously avoided or neglected.
Partners may have very different views, practices and expectations about spending, budgeting and saving. This is a leading cause for friction in a relationship. It is important for each partner to discuss their feelings and beliefs about finances. Decisions such as joining finances, sharing expenses, budgeting and investing are extremely important to be clear about early on in the relationship. Friction due to differences in earning and handling of finances can show up anytime during a relationship, but starting off with clear communication and plan can help create understanding and mutual respect around this subject.
Dividing household responsibilities can get tricky. Often women feel they need to take the larger share of household chores while men get it easy. On the other hand men feel they get the raw end of not getting credit for all that they do around the house.
Differences in child-rearing and parenting are another common and big concern. Sometimes this shows up as one parent being stricter and the other more lenient. It would be beneficial for the couple to discuss their child rearing goals, ideals and practices beforehand and also to discuss how they will handle difference if and when they come up. Parents must have a handle on communication, discipline, rules, and compromise. If they do not, children may learn to play one against the other to get what they want.
Connection After Children
After children, dynamics in the relationship can change drastically so that the focus shifts with such ferocity on being a parent that being a partner or spouse is not given its due attention. The relationship can become too practical and transactional sapping the connection and closeness. It is important for young parents to remember and nurture their relationship along with fulfilling their roles as parents. This can be helped by maintaining emotional intimacy and being mindful and intentional of the quality of the relationship.
Partners may have differences in their desire for sex, which can lead to friction and feelings of intense distress. Open conversation about their desires, scheduling sex dates and accommodating for each individuals feelings is key.
Problems such as addictions to gambling, substance, alcohol, shopping, technology use, pornography, or exercise (anorexia in its extreme form) can cause extreme distress and loss in a relationship.
In that regard prioritizing work over the relationship without a reasonable balance can also cause havoc in the relationship leading to distancing and resentment. The term “workaholic” was coined for those who are consumed by work at the cost of other aspects of their lives.
Though every relationship has rough patches, successful couples learn to navigate the storms and complex life situations by sticking by their commitment, facing problems, seeking help from relationship experts and counsellors, reading books on the issues in their relationship, observing other successful couples, trial and error and supporting one another through it.