The General Run of Problems
More serious conditions apart, whatever our initial stance, life will certainly generate enough challenges and difficulties to put our relationships to the test ! Difficulties are entirely normal and the need for help as normal as the need to visit a doctor.
Life Cycle Crises :-
Grandparents or other close relations will die causing the children upset. Partners may not quite know how to handle the complex flux of unresolved emotions and unexpected reactions that can erupt - especially amongst siblings - around the death of a parent. As with other issues, they may want to come individually or jointly with their partner.
Also there will be the emotional wench of children going to school - especially if they are boarding. Surprisingly quickly behind all this come hot-house difficulties of pubertal uncertainty & teenage breakaway strivings. Later the nest is empty and deserted. Increased time for one another can be enriching or arid and conflict-ridden.
Throughout - dual career households generally carry higher levels of stress with less time to address them.
Changes in physical or mental health, employment or careers, can arise at any time. Career reverses, redundancy or retirement from work also bring profound adjustments far better addressed in good time - before they actually arrive.
All these problems are better addressed whilst something positive can be done, rather than left to fester and regretted later as lost opportunities for change.
Children & In-Laws :-
The imminence or arrival of children can shift the balance profoundly - particularly where one or both new partners have a child or children from a pre-existing relationship. Whether or not they live within the newly-established household, visiting and other arrangements with ex-partners can be fraught with destructive tension, particularly where the broken partnership has unresolved difficulties. Even where they are not used as proxies in parental battles step-siblings may suffer their own conflicts and rivalries that are better contextualised through professional calm.
Even in less complex settings, the novelty & interest of living together may wane & important aspects of the relationship be sacrificed, neglected or taken-for granted.
One partner may have to postpone, abandon or change a career with the possibility for resentment or later recrimination. Deep conflict may also develop over choice of location, schools or religion, etc.
Some difficulties can originate with or be further complicated by in-laws. Sometimes these relatives seek to exert undue influence or bestow benevolence with rather knotted strings attached. Rivalries and conflict of loyalties in this arena can test the solidity of the couple bond. Sometimes some personal or joint counselling can be helpful.