Common Causes of Problems in Marriage

By Susan Nduta Gitau►

The writer is the Vice Secretary of St. Dominic Small Christian Community►

There are some things that follow people when they get married.  Such are the issues that unknowingly tend to ruin marital relationships.   It is important for everyone desirous of getting married to know the common causes of problems in marriage, and to appropriately work on them before they ruin the marriage. It is good to discover the benefit of enhancing a sound marriage rather than letting the relationship become terminally ill and in need of a miracle cure.   You must watch out for the following if you want a good marriage:

Failure to adjust

Getting married is a transition from one stage of life into another.  You can therefore not afford to live just like you did while you were single.  You thought and planned things alone, but after you get married, you ought to adjust to include your spouse.  

Social immaturity

There are people whose social skills are not developed enough to handle certain issues. Some partners would therefore nag at mere telephone calls from an individual of the opposite sex – worse still their contacts in the spouse’s phone.  Marriage demands social maturity.

Unreasonable expectations

There are a lot of expectations when people are getting married, some of which are unrealistic e.g. a wife expecting the husband to have enough money all the time.  Others believe that their partners must always reason the same way as them without considering the origin, experiences, background and orientation.  They actually forget that both of them have two different heads and can in no way reason alike.


This term stems from a Greek ancient legend which talks about a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool so much so that he remained there until he died.   There are some marital partners who have so much self-love that they think they are God’s gift to humanity, and more so to their spouse.  They crave constant attention.  They use other people for their own purpose including sex.   They stand transfixed at the mirror instead of thinking about how they can be a blessing to their partner.

Tremendous trifles

It is not the big storms that mess the marital relationship but the very small things such as leaving dirty socks on the floor, leaving the towel on the neat bed after the shower, placing legs on the coffee table, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle instead of the end etc. I was impressed by a husband who told us in a seminar I attended that he does not allow squeezing of toothpaste to ruin his relationship with his wife and children.

He deliberately allowed them to learn that it causes a lot of waste of the toothpaste.  One day he discovered that his family had devised another way of making sure that there was no waste incurred ………they had cut the other end of the tube to make use of the paste remaining behind.  “If you cannot beat them, join them”, said the man.  They amicably agreed to start off from the top of the tube and later slice up the bottom end of the tube.

Reluctance to discuss irritants

One might choose to keep quiet and avoid addressing issues that need to be discussed depending on individual personalities.  This strains the relationship.  The sooner the partners address their issues, the easier they are to resolve.

Partner ‘make over’

Human beings tend to be self-centered.  They would therefore, consciously or unconsciously try to turn around their partners into the person they want…… and for their own benefits.   This causes a lot of frustration. You must avoid attempts to ‘make over’ your spouse.   As you make up your mind to marry him or her, observe their traits well because some of them might be hard to change.

Lack of balance in life

There are partners who emphasize on certain activities more than others.  Marital bliss requires that you strike a balance in your relationship.  For example, there are those who feel justified to give all their time to church activities, leaving no quality time for their families.

Sex Rationing

Sex is the highest form of communication.  It reconciles spouses without any conscious effort.  One partner choosing to have sex only when he/she needs it is quite damaging to your marriage. Try to be available for your spouse unconditionally.

Negative emotional expressions

There are spouses who use resentment and threats on their partners.  This does not add value to the relationship.  Mature people take an approach that helps to reduce anger and pave way for healing.   Avoid threatening your spouse, lest you also teach him/her the same game.

Work stress

Many people bury themselves in their professional duties with little or no attention to the marriage.  Workaholic and perfectionists are not necessarily perfect.  Work, however productive, can work against one’s emotional health.  Mature people work at striking a balance between work and family.

Excessive responsibility

It is good to avoid taking too many responsibilities from outside home circles, lest  one leaves himself without enough energy for the family.   It is okay to say no to some offers without feeling guilty.


This is putting off or delaying something requiring immediate attention.  Procrastinating can be very offending to your partner.   It can also be a source of stress since it only delays performance and therewith beeping up future assignments.  You must remember that a stitch in time saves nine.  Partner with your spouse in planning your events and time together.


Sex and relationships are often a hot potato and engagements from which much problems brew.  Some people may have a slightly different definition of what qualifies as infidelity.  A general acceptable definition however is an act involving sexual or emotional betrayal.   Sex in marriage is purely monogamous.

Adapted from the Basilican Magazine volume 1 issue 7, December 2017