Relationship problems Archives

Relationship Quiz: How Strong is Your Marriage?

How strong is your marriage? Will your relationship succeed or fail?

Won’t it be nice to find out the state of your marriage, so that you can do something about it?couple

Well veteran relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman has developed a simple effective quiz on how to gauge the state of your marriage.

Gottman, after spending thousands of hours watching, interviewing and counselling couples, is able to tell within minutes whether a relationship is weak and headed for a breakdown or strong and will happily last for life.

Below is a series of questions (22) he has developed to help people evaluate the state of their relationship.

Answer Yes or No to the 22 questions below and total your yes answers:

  1. I can name my partner’s best friends. (Yes, No)
  2. I can tell you what stresses my partner is currently facing. (Yes, No)
  3. I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately. (Yes, No)
  4. I can tell you some of my partner’s life dreams. (Yes, No)
  5. I can tell you about my partner’s basic philosophy of life. (Yes, No)
  6. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least. (Yes, No)
  7. I feel that my partner knows me pretty well. (Yes, No)
  8. When we are apart, I often think fondly of my partner. (Yes, No)
  9. I often touch or kiss my partner affectionately. (Yes, No)
  10. My partner really respects me. (Yes, No)
  11. There is fire and passion in this relationship. (Yes, No)
  12. Romance is definitely still part of our relationship. (Yes, No)
  13. My partner appreciates the things I do in this relationship. (Yes, No)
  14. My partner generally likes my personality. (Yes, No)
  15. Our sex life is mostly satisfying. (Yes, No)
  16. At the end of the day my partner is glad to see me. (Yes, No)
  17. My partner is one of my best friends. (Yes, No)
  18. We just love talking to each other. (Yes, No)
  19. There is lots of give and take (both people have influence) in our discussions. (Yes, No)
  20. My partner listens respectfully, even when we disagree. (Yes, No)
  21. My partner is usually a great help as a problem solver. (Yes, No)
  22. We generally mesh well on basic values and goals in life. (Yes, No)

Add the number of yeses you got

More than 12: You a strong relationship. Congratulations! Keep it up.

7 to 12: You are in a sensitive time in your marriage. You have much strength but there are also some weaknesses that need attention.

6 or less yes answers. Your marriage is serious trouble. If you value and want the relationship to survive you need to get help.

To learn more about what makes marriages work, read “10 lessons to transform your marriage,” by John Gottman.

For an interactive version of the quiz please visit this website

For free information on how to build a happy relationship check out this article

what lies 

Creative Commons License photo credit: Camdiluv

Can little white lies affect cause problems in your relationship?

They may not cause relationship problems but they are signs that your relationship needs attention.

In fact they are indicators that your relationship is in serious trouble.

I recently came across an article about  “5 worst relationship white lies” on Yahoo’s site.

The article mentions the following lies and goes into details on explaining what each is and how to interpret it. What was disappointing is that the article did not much details on how to go about dealing with these problems.

Don’t you just hate it when people go into annoying details of a problem but leave you with no solutions?

Lets first look at the white lies and then I will give you possible solutions on how to deal with each problem.

“I just need some space”

According to the article this can be interpreted as “I’m too much of a coward to break up with you properly.” The other person is looking for some exit strategy.

Actually I don’t agree with this interpretation. I think that anyone who says this is in the process of re-evaluating the relationship. Maybe they are overwhelmed, or something is happening that confuses them. They may even be wondering if the relationship is really worth it, whatever it is, sometimes they physically need to be away from you to mentally process the situation.

Being away from you gives them time and space to objectively re-assess the situation.

Yes in some instances, people use this as a copout but in the majority of cases I feel people need psychological space to think things through.

What should you do?

Give them the space they require, however it may be important to clarify the terms of the space.

How long? When would they feed back to you their conclusion? How would they contact you at the end of the time or should you contact them?

“Nothing’s wrong”

Translates as: “You should know what’s wrong without me having to tell you.”

I totally agree with this interpretation, although sometimes it may mean that I am not ready to talk to you about it and you should just leave me alone.

What should you do? 

Calmly and gently tell the person that you sense something is very wrong. You are sorry that you are not able to instinctively tell what is wrong, but you would really love to be able to support and help.

If they insist on blocking you out, let them know that you are not sure what to do, but you are there for them anytime you they want to let you in on what is happening.

Then give them time and space. Hopefully they would come around with time.

It’s not my fault.”

Translates as: “It’s your fault.”

Yes some spouses tend to lay the blame totally on the others person’s lap.  This can the very difficult to deal with.

What should you do?

The best way to handle this is not to bite into the bait and tries to defend yourself or casts blame back on the other person. This will only start a full fledge argument.

Instead I recommend that you accept and ask what you both can do to prevent it from happening again.

When you accept, there is nothing for them to argue about; you have taken the sting out of the bite. Asking for help with preventing it again is really going for solutions not arguments.

“I’m going to be late.”

Translates as: “I’ve more important things to do.”

The author of the article says that it indicates you are slipping down the priority list of your spouse.

While before they would drop anything to be with you, now anything can replace you or what you planned together.

The author does say you should explain how this makes you feel and ask your spouse to commit to spending time together with you.

If they do not want to do so, it indicates that they have lost interest in you and are slowly distancing themselves.

What should you do?

Don’t insist and force yourself, because they may drive them further away. Instead respect their decision and give them space, while at the same time leaving the door open for them to come back.

“I don’t like you hanging out with them.”

Translates as: “I’m jealous.”

Here the author says that you spouse may think you are spending too much time with your mates of friends, and try to control/dominate your time.

I don’t fully agree with this translation. Yes, if you are in a committed relationship and your spouse is spending more time with friends than with you then there should be cause for concern (especially if they are members of the opposite sex).

While some spouses are jealous controllers, it is also important that the people prioritise you with their time and space.

To read the entire article click here

How can you tell that your relationship is in troube before it breaks apart.

In this article I will show you  6 signs your relationship is in trouble

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Reinforcement stops

What are re-enforcements?

These are usually verbal comments that make the other person feel good about themselves. They serve to reassure the person of your love; some good thing about them or what they do.

Reinforcement can come in the form of

  • Complements
  • Praise
  • Appreciation
  • Common courtesy
  • Words of admiration and adorations
  • Smile
  • Thumps up
  • High five
  • Hugs of appreciation
  • Rewarding  gifts

If your spouse was accustom to doing any of the above stop doing it, this can be sign that something is beginning to happen which can lead to serious trouble.

Negative messages

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What is even worst is if the person not only stops positive reinforcement but also start to give in negative messages.

  • Rolling your eyes
  • Kissing your teeth
  • Criticizing
  • Condemnation
  • Defensiveness
  • No courtesy towards the person


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Uncertainty starts when you begin to notice the person is not relating to you in the way they use to before.

  • The affection and attention stops.
  • You are not sure where you stand in the relationship?
  • You somehow don’t seem to be able to trust their word.

It is an uneasy and uncomfortable situation that nags at you and make you want to find out exactly where you stand.

This is a sensitive situation because it can make people begin to begin to cling on to their spouse. This clingy or needy attitude actually makes him or her want to pull further away.

Attractiveness to others

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When you are going through problems in a relationship, thoughts of other potential mates begin to form in your head.

Members of the opposite sex somehow begin to look pretty or handsome.

This is where couples begin to compare their spouses with other people.

“Look at Jane and Jim. He treats her like a queen. Why can you treat me like that?”

There is also tendency to begin to wonder what it would have been like if you had marry one of your ex’s instead of your spouse.

Lies and deception

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Deception: either lying or not telling the entire truth so that you can avoid a nasty argument or save your spouse from getting hurt.

Deception although tempting is very deadly. It leads the other person to have an incorrect perception of you or the situation.

When they find out that they have been deceived the situation is usually even nastier.

They are not only angry with you for deceiving them but they are also upset with themselves not to be able to see through the deception.

Its very difficult for t hem to trust you again.

Honesty is always the best policy – even when it hurts to tell the truth.

The decline in the use of private language

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Lovers usually tend to call and talk to each other very private language.

Pet names, unique jokes and intimate language. These tend to disappear when problems appear in the relationship.

Relationship problems: First sign that a relationship is in trouble

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What will you see when a relationship is in trouble? What are the signs of relationship problems?

Here the red sweater lady discusses the first sign of a relationship break down.


When trouble starts to brew in a relationship someone begins to withdraw either emotionally or physically.

Have you ever felt hurt or resentful to the point you don’t want to be around your spouse?

This is because they are the source of your pain and you just want to separate yourself from that pain.

I often tell people that people stay with mainly because of the experiences they have with you. When the majority of their experiences are positive and edifying they love to be with you. However if those experiences are negative and bitter they begin to want to distance themselves away from you. They don’t even want you to touch them.

There  will be very little or no:

  • Eye contact
  • Smiles
  • Display of affection and love e.g. hug, light playful touches, kisses etc
  • Marriage rings or other presents are disappear.

When any of these happen the relationship or marriage is in serious trouble.

When you notice these in your relationship it is time that you do a relationship check up.

If you do nothing you are headed for a romantic heart attack. Your heart is going to be broken.

What can you do to avert a romantic heart attack?

Begin by analyzing what you are doing that is hurting your spouse of partner

Stop doing this immediately

Start doing things that you know will generate happiness and joy. Because they are not in a receptive mood it may take time for them to warm up to you. So do not stop at the first attempts when you get a cold response. Keep doing something to make them happy.









Want to know how to solve your relationship problems?

Learn 7 ways to do so by looking at this 2 minute video.

Talk and share

I agree that you must set boundaries and rules when discussing relationship problems


Intimate problems are very inflammatory. Nobody can press your hot buttons like your spouse or partner. And things can get out of control very easily.

I love the suggestion of meeting in public. It helps to keep the discussion in check because most people are embarrassed for others to hear what they are discussing.

There is one problem – there are few people who are show off and would like nothing more than to make a scene in public to embarrass and punish you.

What can you do about this? If this happens simply get up and walk away quietly – and ignore the show-off.

Demonstrate willingness

It’s a great idea to make time to share dreams, memories, and experiences again. This helps your spouse to bond and become part of a team to achieve them.

Keeping eye contact and nodding while listening shows the other person that you are listening and actively engaged with what they are telling you.

Compromise and sacrifice

I really don’t like the idea of compromising. I much prefer that both parties negotiate to arrive to a decision that will make them both happy.

Address money problems

Money is reported to be the number one problems of marriage relationship.

What can you do about it?

Well I agree with budgeting but both of you should also make plans not only on how to spend it but how to make it.

Accept differences

This is a wonderful suggestion. When you understand and accept the background and idiosyncrasies of your spouse, you will be able to avoid many of the major conflicts that crop up in relationships

Divide chores fairly

Hmmm. This is a hot potato; however it is best for couples to list all that needs to be done in running the home. Each partner should first choose what they would like to do. The remaining unwanted tasks should be divided equally or if you can afford it get some paid help.

Follow through

Yes it’s not enough to make plans and talk. Actions are necessary to solve and avoid relationship problems.

Do something, anything to solve your relationship problems.




Sex a major case of relationship breakdown

I don’t have to tell you that great sex can either be the boom or bane  of a relationship. In this video clip relations ship expert Tracy Goodwin discusses this major issue.

Check out the clip and let me know what you think about it in the comments box on this page


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I never knew that sex problems was second on the list of all relationship problems.

Tracy says it could include:

  • not enough sex
  • too much

She didn’t include fridgity, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfuction etc.

How can you overcome some of the sexual problems that may be causing marriage problems?

She suggests that you should communicate. As a lot of people have unexpressed expectation in sex. They maybe embarrassed to talk about them so they say nothing. It still bothers them.

The best way to deal with this to teach your spouse what sexually excites you.

Tracy also says that quality sex is much better than quantity.

Unfortunately she does not go into details about what would improve your sexual experience. This is disappointing.

If you have problems with your sex life here are some resources that you may find helpful:


Who to contact for sex therapy

Why do relationships fail?

Why do marriages breakdown?

In this video clip Tracy Goodwin (the red sweater lady) starts to discus the various reasons for relationship or marriage breakdown.

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One of the main reasons people develop relationship problems is due to changes.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Since I got married she/he has changed” or “she/he is just not the same person, I got married to years ago… s/he has changed.”

Well guess what change is inevitable. We all change however there are some types of changes that have a negative impact on the relationship.

What are some of these changes that can negatively impact on the relationship?

Attitudes: relationships breakdown because a change in attitude

Can you imagine what will happen to your relationship if your spouse’s attitude changes?

A friend of mine, who is now divorced, told me his problems started when his wife started to work and earn money. While that should have been a good thing, he found that she became more disrespectful of him. This attitudinal change started a downward spiral in the relationship.

Beliefs: a change in beliefs can make a relationship fail

Karen got converted to Islam. She became such a devout follower that Robert her partner wasn’t able to handle it.

Everything was fine up to this point. They both had some belief in God but were not a part of any particular religion. While he tried to be respectful of her, she began making demands of him that he felt was inconsiderate.

Even after marriage counselling things didn’t improve much.

Behaviour: Behavioural changes can be the death of a relationship

Radical change in behaviour can also cause major breakdown in relationship.

Take Tim for instance. He was very charming and helpful around the house when he and Susan got married. However since he started going out with some of his friends at work, he not only started coming home late, but he felt he should be saddled with domestic chores.

This caused a major rift in his relationship.

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