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Top 4 relationship challenges

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Biggest love hurdles

Relationships have lots of ups and downs and couples argue about any number of different issues, but there are a few things in particular that seem to be on top of every couple's list of touchy topics. After polling dozens of our paired up pals, we've come up with a list of what we can safely say are four of the biggest challenges couples face. Read on to find out what's causing the most relationship frustration.

Woman annoyed with her husband

1Finding quality time

This is probably the biggest complaint we heard from the committed couples we talked to. Even those that don't have kids are finding it hard to make time for date nights. Long hours at work, social commitments on weekends and in the evenings and simply wanting to decompress and do nothing after a hard day can all play roles in how much quality time you have to spend with your significant other. And by quality time we mean time that actually means something – where you're actually engaged and connected, versus simply in the same room together.

How to deal: Inject some fun into every day activities you do together like grocery shopping, running errands or cooking dinner. Quality time doesn't have to mean date night, though those are important, too. Cooking dinner together can be a great way to reconnect after a day or week. Choose a recipe online or from a cookbook and chop, stir, sauté and mix as a team. Turning other mundane tasks into chances to catch up on each other's lives make it easier to keep your relationship thriving.

2Dealing with finances

Money seems to trip up even the most organized couples at some point, whether it's because someone is paying more rent than the other or someone owes the other one money or there are simply discrepancies on what money should be spent on. Keep in mind that financial woes plague most couples at some point.

How to deal: Get your shared finances in order and make sure whatever bills need to be paid are split equally between the two of you. What may have started off as equal could easily have tilted more heavily towards one person after a few years as you incurred more expenses as a couple. Then set up a monthly budget – rent or mortgage, phone, utilities, food, etc. and stick to it. Save towards a mutual goal (new car, travel) so you have an incentive not to spend on frivolous things.

3Dividing housework

We've talked about how hard dividing housework is in the past and the couples we polled all had something to say about fights that erupted because one person wasn't pulling their weight. Let's face it – no one likes doing housework, so it's understandable that figuring out who does what and making sure it's equal will cause arguments among even the happiest couples.

How to deal: The best way to deal with constant fights about chores is to sit down and discuss what has each of you most frustrated. Come up with a plan that pleases both parties and that doesn't leave one person with more work than the other. If all else fails, create a chore chart so each of you knows exactly what you're responsible for each week.

4Sex

Sex is the cause of so many ups and downs in so many relationships. Usually one person feels like it's not happening frequently enough or sometimes there are issues involving satisfaction (or lack thereof) or simply boredom on the part of one or both parties. To top it all off, any problems involving sex tend to get worse before they get better because sex is so hard to discuss.

How to deal: Take stock of your sex life. Are you happy? What could be improved? What should stay the same? Once you've looked at the situation honestly, find a way to bring up any issues that need discussing with your partner. The only way to improve your sex life is to be open and honest about it, as hard as that may be.

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