Phone: 314-567-3040

Marital Problems




Spouses have marital difficulties as varied as the reason for getting married in the first place. The desire for companionship, for emotional closeness, for sex and physical intimacy, for financial security, for children and all these can become sources of marital distress, just as they can draw a couple together.

Sex, emotional closeness, or money, for instance, can each raise issues of, whose needs get met, who feels burdened or cheated, and whose resentment grows to anger or rage. The hurtful silences, or the tears and raised voices or marital arguments, are likely to revolve around these issues or similar ones; how to raise the children, how to balance the demands of work and family, getting along with relatives.

Problems are more likely to flare during transitions; the first year of marriage, the birth of a child, an undesired pregnancy or abortion, or when a child enters school or leaves home. Even the most robust, harmonious marriage, and the most well-balance spouses, can and do experience times of tension.

How do marital problems begin? How did ours begin? These are questions you are sure to ask, but probably should not, because asking how it all began is sure to lead to a cycle of blaming.

Who stared it is beside the point. The truth is that marital problems are a difficulty in the relationship, NOT in either or both of the partners. The problem is in the way you relate to each other and manage you relationship together. NOTE: There are exceptions to this when either or both spouses struggle with their own individual psychological, emotional, psychiatric, or addiction issues.

If it is truly a marital problem, you are both, in different ways, contributing to the problem. And so, you need to work it out together.  What needs therapy is what goes on between husband and wife, not just what is happening to one or the other of you.

The signs of trouble are often not the obvious fights, threats, accusations, and weeping that typify a stormy union. Often they are subtle: not being able to talk about an issue, each partner blaming the other for a litany of ills, an emotional abyss that is hidden in a false cordiality, a deadening routine, or a retreat into role-playing.  Any of these can eat away at the core of caring and trust that is the foundation of a healthy marriage.

It may be hard for one or both of you to admit to a serious problem in your marriage. It is upsetting to think you may have "FAILED" as a wife or husband, and frightening to think of things not working out. But having trouble "in your marriage is not a sign that the two of you have failed.  Rather it is a signal that you could use help for a time to work on your marriage. Even if things seem to have gone too far, if you seem to have genuinely irreconcilable differences, counseling can help you begin talking to see if some hope for the marriage remains.

There appears to be wide spread agreement that, while marriage is one of the richest and most rewarding of all human relationships, it is also, the most complex and requires the greatest amount of effort and attention. However, it is also true that we tend to put the least amount of effort in keeping our marriages alive and healthy. In fact, if we would put as much effort as we -do in our career planning, social life, and other interests, the divorce rate would most assuredly show a major decrease.

There are many causes of marital unhappiness. Usually, involved in most marital problems are ongoing poor communication and lack of an effective method for settling disagreements.

We live in a society in which we have never been taught how to communicate in depth with another human being. There are two levels in any communication between a husband and wife: The content level and the feeling level. The content level involves talking about. "Did it happen on Wednesday or did it happen on Thursday?" "You spent fifty dollars, not thirty dollars.”   In other words, the content level involves facts and/or details. The feeling level, on the other hand, involves the feelings beneath the content: Anger, hurt, joy, disappointment.  Most of the time, a couple will talk about content and not about feelings.  It is the feeling level that is most important for intimacy and happiness in a marital relationship. It is the feeling level that is important for emotionally connecting with your partner, and sensing that you are being understood. Too frequently, spouses do not know how to communicate with one another.  This is why arguments never seem to get resolve and angry flare-ups keep coming up over and over again. Or, some couples attempt a quiet truce and agree never to talk about anything important, only to fall back into arguments that lead nowhere.  DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?

Many marriages, particularly young marriages, begin based on false assumptions or myths. These myths, if not sorted 'out, understood and eventually corrected and dispersed of, will continue to undercut and will inevitably destroy the relationship. The following are some of the more common marital myths:

  1. Couples marry only because they love each other.
  2. Feeling of being in love is necessary for a satisfactory marriage.
  3. There are inherent behavioral and attitudinal differences between females and males and that these differences cause most marital troubles.
  4. The advent of children automatically improves a potentially difficult or an unfulfilled marriage.
  5. Loneliness will be cured by marriage.
  6. If you get angry at your spouse you have a poor marriage.
  7. Money will fix an unfulfilled marriage

These are just a few assumptions/myths that many bring to marriage that cause ongoing marital difficulties and will probabilities of divorce.

After reviewing the aforementioned information, you may be considering a thorough evaluation to determine if psychotherapy, personal growth counseling and/or marriage counseling can help. I recommend you first review the website link, "When to consider psychotherapy?" also review any other link you may think applies to your circumstances.

My name is Oliver (Mike) Siems, MSW, LCSW, ACSW.
My company, Personal Growth, LLC, has been providing counseling services since 1975.

Personal Growth, LLC is located at:
443 N. New Ballas Rd., Ste. 201
St. Louis, MO 63141
314 567-3040