Common Challenges in Marriage That Most Couples Don’t Expect

When exchanging wedding vows, most couples feel more than ready to face any obstacle that comes their way.

They have the utmost confidence that they will get through thick and thin, no matter what it takes.

However, no matter how much a couple loves each other or how long they have been together, they will still face new challenges in their married life that they were not prepared for.

Married couples go through a lot together, including significant life transitions, emergencies, and changes within themselves. Most of these are unforeseen and can put a strain on any relationship.  

If you’re about to marry or married recently and want to prepare thoroughly for your new life together, then read on to learn about some common challenges in marriage [1] that most newlyweds don’t expect.

With some forethought, good communication, respect, and understanding, you and your partner can navigate these obstacles together and keep your love strong for decades to come.

READ MORE: Tips For Maintaining Happiness While Planning Your Wedding


The dating and engagement phases are full of excitement and fun. However, most couples only date for a few years or even a few months before getting hitched.

This means that they haven’t been with each other long enough for the flames of fun and passion for cooling down.  

couple on a date under title Common Challenges in Marriage That Most Couples Don’t Expect

However, for many married couples, these flames do die down at some point. Living with each other for decades is much different than dating for a few years.

While a year or two is just short enough to stay madly in love, the truth is that the relationship can become a bit boring at times when with the same person for decades.  

Relationships become boring when they turn into a routine. Couples often forget to do things that keep their love fun and exciting [2] because they are bogged down by careers, busy schedules, and other responsibilities.

Most couples don’t consider that their life together might be boring when deeply in love and exchanging wedding vows.  

Couples can avoid or resolve boredom in marriage [3] by making time for each other. Planning date nights or enjoying hobbies together are great ways to make the marriage fun again and bring back intimacy.

Trying to Change Each Other

During the honeymoon phase, it’s easy for couples to accept or overlook their partner’s flaws. However, this becomes more difficult when reality sets in and commitment begins.  

Because of this, married couples often try to change each other [4]. Putting up with an undesirable personality trait for years can be difficult for many people.

Some people respond by trying to rid their partner of the trait [5].   Furthermore, life has a way of changing people, so the person you marry may not be the same in twenty years.

Many people try to force their partner to be the person they first met instead of accepting their changing personality or perspective.  

Couples who learn to accept and work through their differences and flaws remain happy in their marriage.

Couple arguing on a date

Resisting these inner changes or trying to “fix” them creates conflict and unhappiness.   However, this does not mean putting up with any abusive or harmful behavior.

If there is any harmful behavior or significantly altering the relationship negatively, then couples counseling may be the best solution.

Change in Values or Beliefs

The only constant in life is change; same goes for our inner lives. People rarely stay the same as their life progresses.

Their experiences often change their perspective, beliefs, values, and philosophy, meaning the person they are at the age of 50 is different than who they were at 20.  

Couples who have only dated for a year or two won’t experience this to an extreme extent.

However, married couples who stay together for decades often have very different values than their younger selves.  

Many couples still have a strong marriage despite their conflicting values [6]. They can keep their love strong by being empathetic and respectful of their partner’s changes.

These couples usually have excellent communication and can find ways to integrate their opposing values and beliefs to keep their marriage harmonious.

Disagreeing on How to Handle Life Changes

Before marrying, most couples already faced major life changes or transitions that strained the relationship.

However, no one can predict the future. Emergencies, financial crises, and other sudden changes can strain a marriage that isn’t ready to work through those problems.  

Furthermore, people’s challenges as they age (retirement, aging, kids, career changes) are far different from those in their younger years (college, starting a career).

Even though they may anticipate some of these changes, they don’t know how to handle them.  

Continuing to work on communication and conflict skills is a must.

black American couple in a disagreement

Understanding each other’s perspectives and creating compromises are the key to successfully navigating these significant changes.

And if the challenge seems too great, bringing in a counselor to help can be a great solution.

Bottom Line

“Til death do us part” is a very long time away. All couples are bound to have experiences, transitions, and challenges that they can’t possibly foresee when exchanging vows.

Many marriages end because they do not know how to work through these challenges.  

By learning more about the typical strains and challenges of marriage, you and your partner can develop strategies and communication skills that will help keep your bond strong no matter what comes your way.  


1. Marriage Tips & Advice From Collective Experience | BetterHelp [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from:

2. Julee A. How to Keep a Marriage Exciting • Mommy’s Memorandum [Internet]. Mommy’s Memorandum. 2020 [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from:

3. Happily Married Couples Make Sure to Do These 7 Things [Internet]. Fatherly. 2019 [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from:

4. Keys to Happier Marriage Include Not Demanding Change From Your Spouse, Psychologists Say [Internet]. UCLA. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from:

5. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Try to Change Your Partner | [Internet]. Marriage Advice – Expert Marriage Tips & Advice. 2018. Available from:

6. When the Fight Is Over Values | Psychology Today [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from:

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