Difficulties Married Couples Face

On their wedding day, the bride and groom promise to be faithful to each other “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Sooner or later, all couples face the “worse,” “poorer,” or “sickness” in their marriage. At these times of difficulty, married couples benefit tremendously from the support of their Church family, friends, and relatives.

Below are common difficulties faced by married couples, listed alphabetically, with links to articles and resources from the USCCB.

Addictions

If you or your spouse in the past month have taken a drink first thing in the morning to help you recover from a hangover you may be dealing with an addiction problem. In addition to the person with the addiction, there is often a spouse who suffers from co-dependency.
Read more:
Addictions
Drug Use Can Ruin a Marriage

Career and Employment Issues

At first, it probably sounds simple. Get a job to pay the bills so we can live happily ever after. But jobs take a lot of time and sometimes that time is stolen from the time that the marriage relationship needs.
Read more:
Careers
When Unemployment Hits Home: Seven Ways to Help Your Marriage
Webpage about labor and employment
Prayer for Work

Conflict

Conflict is normal in marriage. However, when conflicts escalate to contempt and disrespect, or when they seem unsolvable and are causing grief for one or both spouses, there is no shame in reaching out for help. For Your Marriage maintains a list of organizations dedicated to helping couples deal with conflict and work toward a healthier, happier marriage.
Read more:
Conflict Resolution Skills

Death of a Loved One

Losing a child, family member, or friend can be a heavy weight for a marriage to bear. Losing a spouse is a devastating blow. Grieving spouses and parents need support, love, and time to heal.
Read more:
A Lesson in Love from Our Dying Son
It Is Well: Life in the Storm
Prayer at the Death of a Baptized Child
Prayer for Mourners

Disillusionment

The most common disillusionment often is phrased as “I just don’t know if I love him (her) anymore.” It’s usually accompanied by a general feeling of loss of excitement and passion for your spouse. You wonder, "Is this all that marriage is supposed to be?"
Read more:
Disillusionment
When Rain Drenches a Marriage

Domestic Violence

Conflict is part of every intimate relationship–that’s why conflict resolution skills are important. Domestic violence, however, has no place in a healthy relationship, whether the couple is dating, engaged, married, or cohabiting.
Read more:
Domestic Violence
Web page on Domestic Violence, including the pastoral statement “When I Call for Help” 
Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse

Finances

Financial counselors often point to finances as the most common cause of divorce. That’s only partially true. Financial problems are as much a result of how we think about money as to how we spend it.

Read more:
Finances
Living Simply: A Lasting and Fulfilling Way of Life

Household Duties

In studies that measure marital satisfaction, the topic of sharing household duties is one of the primary sources of dissatisfaction for couples, especially in the early years of marriage and when both spouses work outside the home.
Read more:
Household Duties
Whose Job Is It?

Illness

Illness, especially chronic illness, changes the relationship with spouse, family, friends, social network, and God. Illness can bring out the best - and sometimes the worst - in both spouses.
Read more:
Illness
Till Death Do Us Part

Infertility

When a couple is unable to have children, it causes great pain emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. The feelings of emptiness and loss can be overwhelming.
Read more:
Infertility
The Blessing of “Unanswered Prayers”: An Adoption Story
Web page on infertility, with Catholic teaching and resources for couples

Infidelity

Healing a marriage when there has been infidelity takes teamwork. Both spouses must commit to getting the marriage back, or possibly getting to where it never was. This calls for courage. 
Read more:

Infidelity
Getting Past the Affair 

In-laws

In-laws can be a blessing to a couple, but can also bring tension to a marriage. Boundaries and clear paths of communication are key.
Read more:
In-laws
The Sandwich Generation

Miscarriage

15% of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Couples often bear this grief in silence and confusion.
Read more: 
Miscarriage
Loving Parents After Miscarriage

Personality Differences

Identifying similarities and differences in their personalities help couples understand the dynamics of their relationship more clearly, but generosity towards each other is still the key to personality compatibility.
Read more:
Personality Differences
If Opposites Attract, How Can We Get Along?

Pornography

Pornography damages the trust and intimacy within the husband-wife relationship and can even lead to the end of the marriage itself. It draws focus away from one’s family life and relationship with God and sets a destructive example for one’s children. In 2015, the bishops published a formal statement on this subject, called "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography." Read or order the statement here, in English and Spanish.
Read more:
How to Strengthen Your Marriage After Porn Addiction
Help for men and women struggling with pornography use and addiction: a list of support groups, books, videos, and more
Faith and Safety: a website with advice for parents on how to protect the home from Internet pornography and other digital dangers
Church teaching on pornography plus three talks on the subject
Daniel Spadaro, "Life Matters: Pornography and Our Call to Love" (Respect Life Program, 2012)
"The Internet and Pornography" (Child and Youth Protection office)