As a marriage and family therapist, I have seen my fair share of couples. Couples usually seek out therapy when things are beyond what they feel they can handle, and they will seek help from an outside source, such as a therapist or clergy member. Since I have worked with couples for almost a decade, I have come to have a lot of experience in some of the common reasons relationships to awry.

1 . Do not communicate honestly

For some reason, when we get into relationships, the level of communication decreases. Chances are, the individuals in the relationship have suffered from communication challenges and have brought them into the relationship. Couples must be honest with what they need and what they are looking to make a successful connection happen.

2. No longer date

Relationships are just that, relationships! They are not to get neglected after the couple is official or the ink on the marriage is dry. However, life happens, and we all get that. And with responsibilities and kids, etc., it can hard to maintain the same cadence as when you first met. There needs to be an effort made to keep the romance going and continue investing in your partner and the relationship. As we are blessed to continue to go through life, we grow and evolve. We learn new things about ourselves and the world, and we must share that with our partners. Even if you can make dinner time intentional, once a week, where you talk, connect, etc., your relationship will be better for it.

3. Seek to be right, rather than to understand

I heard somewhere recently something like ‘show me a man who is always right, and I’ll show you someone single. Relationships are no place always to need to be right or have the last word. This is where you want to come to be heard and to listen as well. Chances are, you are not combatting with your friends 24/7, so the same should be valid for your spouse. Mutual respect is needed, and it is vital to be able to stand your ground at times. To be firm but not rigid in one’s stance on issues as they arise.

4. Not maintain self and relationship with self

To blend yourself with another can be a beautiful experience. However, after time goes on and you recognize that you are no longer the person you were before, resentments can start to set in. It is important to remember who you are in all relationships and continue figuring out more about yourself. Develop new interests separate from your partner, keep up with your friends and family members. Watch your favorite shows, and continue your favorite activities. Your relationship will be better for it, as it can also keep the “sparks” going. Take care of yourself as well

5. Not invest in the Relationship

Anything that is not cultivated will die. So, think of your relationship as a plant. With water, proper sunshine, and nutrients, your plant will stay alive. This is the same for your relationships. Don’t stop dating just because you’ve been in a relationship or married for an extended period. Talk! Spend time addressing your interests with one another. Having challenges? Invest in couples counseling to get a new way of dealing with one another. Counseling can also be great for improving skills like communication and intimacy.