Summer and Couples Issues. It’s summer and life seems fun again. The sun is shining, school is out, kids are home distracting relationship conflict, and family vacations are to commence. For those who are affected by Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) life feels positive again. SAD sufferers experience winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summertime sadness, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter. As a Couples Counselor relationship problems don’t disappear just because the sun comes out.
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Relationship problems. Every couple has them. And sometimes you have them over and over again recycling them to the point of pure frustration. Conflict exists in all families to include sex, finances, parenting, in-laws/out-laws, work stress, and whatever else is unique to your particular household.
In long term relationships the passion can dissipate and you realize that your sexual desires are not as heightened as they once were. Sex is monotonous. Because the subject is difficult to discuss, lustful advances can become annoying and unfulfilled desires can be perceived as rejection.
As difficult as it may be to talk about sex talk openly and frequently about your emotional needs and sexual desires. Having a dialogue about what turns you on makes for hot sex. Make it a game: each writes five secret desires (sexual or otherwise).
Money is the number one problem couples fight about. Newlyweds especially don’t know how to balance the freedom and power that money brings with the security and trust that it is suppose to foster.
Plan as a financial team. Decide your goals as a couple (home, college for the kids, cars, vacation home, retirement) and review them regularly. Open a joint bank account to manage these areas and deposit 90 percent of your paycheck there. Then open individual checking accounts for the remaining 10 percent of pay. This is discretionary (personal money) that you can spend however the account owner wants. No questions asked.
70 percent of women report being significantly less satisfied with their marriages after children are born. Women tend to take on the responsibility of childcare whether they are working outside the home or not.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist I recommend both parents share the responsibility of taking care of the children during the summer months while they are on summer vacation or during the school year when their schedules are filled with homework and extra curricular activities not just the family fun time.
Solidarity is essential to the success of a marriage, so you both must present a united front. Husband must side with his wife in any disagreement—even if she’s wrong. Mom must understand that her son is a husband first, son second.
According to a University of Michigan study of a nationally representative sample of US families having a husband creates an extra 7 hours a week of housework for women, while a wife saves a man an hour of housework per week. The problem lies within that disparity. Wives feel unsupported when their husbands don’t pitch in with the dusting, vacuuming, dish and clothes washing, as well as putting away all that stuff they just washed. Men model the behavior they grew up with. If they were raised in traditional homes where the father was in charge of the hard labor or garbage and yard they typically don’t help out within the home.
As a Marriage Counselor I highly recommend you tell your husband how important it is to you that he pitches in around the house. Then dangle this carrot: Gottman’s research shows that when husbands do their share to maintain the home, the couple reports a more satisfying sex life. That’s always a good motivator.