Hidden Issues that Destroy Relationships - Blog

Hidden Issues that Destroy Relationships

You and your partner just had an intense argument over something petty that did not seem that important. This is a clear sign that there is something else going on in your relationship. The explosion has less to do with the topic at hand and more to do with how important a hidden issue is to your partner.  When couples have different ideas about how to solve a problem, whether it is about money, sex, kids, family, friends, or even careers, there is always a hidden issue.
Hidden issues include those tough conversations we like to avoid.  When you tend to argue about things that are on the surface instead of what is really going on these are the “hidden issues” which destroy relationships.  What if we could show you how love, recognition, respect, and trust are the “hidden issues” behind a majority of your arguments?

Hidden issues that destroy relationships are the ones which include unspoken needs and emotions that, if not addressed cause significant harm.

Warning Signs There is a Hidden Issue

Check out these warning signs you can look out for that tell you there is more to an argument, and it is typically a hidden issue:
Petty Arguments: Petty insignificant things lead to big blowout fights, which means that something bigger, the hidden issue, needs attention.
Keeping Score: If you are keeping track of something in your relationship, it is usually a sign of something deeper and more important, like commitment, trust, or feeling like you are not being recognized. It makes it seem like you are competing against each other instead of learning how to work together to solve problems.
Broken Record: If you are listening to your partner and your first thought is “Here we go again,” there may be a deeper problem. If you are the one who is always complaining, you feel like the problem is never really fixed, so you keep saying it over and over; in the hopes that things will get better. But it does not.

Basic Human Needs & Hidden Issues

As humans whether we are in a relationship or not, we need to have four basic human needs met. Those basic needs are love, recognition, respect, and trust.  What you will discover about these basic needs is that we either do not know how to communicate our needs to our partners; or do not know how to identify our needs. What happens next is that we use minor issues to conceal the real problem, which is a hidden issue.
Many people do not know how to talk about or understand their basic needs, feelings, or unspoken expectations of themselves or others. This is one of the main reasons why romantic partners have trouble when hidden issues creep up in their relationships. Instead, we have been shamed, which makes us feel ashamed or even scared of our needs, so we express them in other ways through petty misunderstandings with our mates.
People experience these problems because they come from childhood needs not met or were not met well. For example, you grew up with parents who rarely hugged or touched you, who did not show affection, and who never expressed love. You can be sure you will have a big reaction if your partner stops showing you affection or saying they love you. It hits a sensitive spot that you have had your whole life. That is why it bothers you so much and it becomes your hidden issue.

Identifying Hidden Issues

You can improve the health and strength of your relationship quickly and with little effort; once you are able to identify the hidden issues. Hidden issues block healthy relationships because we fight about the surface issue, not the deeper meaning of our issues. A hidden issue is not so much about what you are arguing about in itself. It is more about how it makes us feel and how it makes us want to connect with our partner. The most common hidden issues include:
  • Love
  • Recognition
  • Respect
  • Trust
Sometimes, when we are married or in a relationship, we get so busy with the demands of daily life that we forget about the most important things that our relationships need to stay alive.  Things like…love, recognition, respect, and trust!
  • When Tony gets the credit card statement and starts to complain about how Laura spent more than $1000 on clothes without telling him, it is clear what is bothering him. There is no hidden issue here other than Tony is upset.
  • Jessica starts swearing at Frank because he is late to their marriage coaching session because of work. The harsh words hide the fact that Jessica feels like Frank cares less about her than his work. The fact that he is late hides the fact that Jessica thinks he does not care about her or their relationship. The real problem, though, is the hidden issue the problem not him being late.


Love & Hidden Issues

Let us say your caretakers rarely praised you but criticized and punished you when you made mistakes or disappointed them. When you are in a relationship and your partner yells at you; or criticizes you, even if it was well-deserved, you will defend yourself. That will be more important than hearing and considering their criticism. You will not feel hurt by them and will not think they are honoring your needs and wishes.
Guess what you will fight about in your relationship? You will fight to speak your mind, and not criticized and judged. This is now one of your hidden issues, which will manifest itself in your intimate relationships.

Recognition & Hidden Issues

Hidden issues of recognition are less about a partner being loved. It is more about being valued for who you are and what you bring to the relationship. You want to be recognized!
When you work hard to provide for your family, take care of the house and kids, and keep a close relationship with your partner, but your partner does not notice or appreciate it, it is likely that you will feel emotionally drained and unappreciated.
Imagine growing up in a home where you did nothing but chores.  You know the Cinderella story, right? Fast forward to being in a long-term relationship and feeling obligated to keep things in order yet you are not appreciated for it.  A conversation needs to be had with your partner to explain how not being recognized is a trigger from your past.
It is necessary to show your partner how you appreciate what they do for you, the relationship, your home, and for themselves. Telling your partner what you like about them or what makes you proud makes them feel seen and loved.

Respect & Hidden Issues

Respect! Aretha Franklin sang about it, and it is the key to every healthy relationship. People always say that communication and trust are the most important parts of a marriage or relationship, but respect is just as important.
If you grew up in a home where you lacked privacy because it was not an option, respect will be especially important to you as an adult. What does respect have to do with hidden issues that destroy relationships? Everyday stresses and strains can slowly make people lose respect for each other. If you or your partner is stressed or having problems, you may become negative and irritable and take out your anger on your partner. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which partners treat each other more badly.
Everyone wants to feel like they are doing their best as a spouse. To do our best, we need to be honest about what gets in our way. The goal is to face the truth about our childhoods or triggers so that we can learn from them and grow.
In the same way, not being able to solve or deal with disagreements or conflicts can lead to anger and frustration, which, if shown in a negative and blaming way, can start the same cycle of negative interactions and lead to the loss of respect.

Trust & Hidden Issues

You may not have had much money when you were young, or you may not have cared about money at all. This is a secret problem that has to do with trust. Talking about the budget with a partner who does not trust you with money or calls you an impulsive spender creates the hidden issue.
When there are worries about the safety of the relationship, there can be hidden issues with trust. People fight because they are afraid of being left alone and do not know if the other person will leave.
Margaret and Tom did not combine their money, for example. Before moving in together, they also did not talk about a savings plan or what would work best for them. Instead, whenever they talked about money or finances, Margaret would complain about how they had separate bank accounts. At first glance, this was about bank accounts, and since they were paying the bills, Tom didn’t think it was that important.
Now, Margaret’s complaining was a cover for her worry that Tom wanted a separate bank account so he could get out of the relationship quickly if things got bad.  But Margaret never told Tom about this fear in an open way. She held it in until they got into a big fight and had to go to Marriage Means Moore Inc. for help.
Finally, Margaret mentions the fact that her stepfather had a secret bank account and disappeared one day without a trace when she talks about this issue. Her mother was hurt and surprised. She felt blindsided. Margaret cannot stop thinking about those times, and she was afraid it would happen again in her relationship. The real problem was trust!
Couples often do not know how to talk about money. When two people do not feel comfortable talking about money, problems are not found until it is too late. Do you keep secrets about money? Do you find it hard to decide how to spend or save the money? It is important for a relationship or marriage to plan for money.  If you do not tell your partner about a new outfit you bought, it will not be the reason for a break-up. However, if you do not tell them about a big purchase on a credit card or financial commitments, it will.

What Do Husbands and Wives Really Want and Need Most?

 “We are so different! How can my partner and I be able to communicate our needs better?

Men and women are definitely not the same. Anyone in a relationship can tell you it does not take a rocket science to tell us that. Here are a few ways that your partner needs love and how you can meet those needs.  We keep hearing the same thing from couples during coaching: “Men are so different from women! How can my partner and I be able to communicate better?

 The Three (3) Main Things Husbands Need

  1. Respect.  Men do not like to say it, but they want their wives to respect them. When people are treated with respect, they feel like they can take over the world. If they do not have it, it could make them feel upset. When a husband loves and respects his wife, it can push him to be the best he can be. Even though he has flaws, show him respect. Not because he “deserves” it, but because you care about him and love him. He wants to be respected!
  2. Sex.  If a man’s sexual life is good, he can deal with anything. Most women want an emotional connection before a physical one, but for men, it often takes sexual intimacy for them to feel safe enough to show how they feel emotionally.   Most women do not know how important sexual relationships are to men. Most women want to have an emotional connection with a man before they want to have a physical one. Men, on the other hand, often need to touch someone to feel safe enough to show how they feel. In the end, it is a good thing to be with a man who is sexually driven. It is a different way to meet someone.
  1. Peaceful Household.  Men do not always know how to say this, but we they really want our wives to make the home a place where there is “peace.” This does not mean that the house always must smell like food or be spotless, but husbands want a place they don’t want to leave and want to get back to as soon as possible. If wives would just ask their husbands how they can make the house feel peaceful and really listen, they would be surprised.

The Three (3) Main Things Wives Need

  1. Love.  When a woman says “love,” she does not just mean the warm, fuzzy feeling you get after reading a Hallmark card. The “love” that wives need from their husbands comes in the form of consistent adoration, affection, protection, and a strong commitment. Men, love your wives with all you have. Not only do you love her, but you also teach your sons how to treat women and your daughters what they can expect from men.
  2. Communicating.  Most of the time, a woman’s need to talk is just as strong as a man’s need for sex. I know it is not natural for men to talk about their days, but if your wife needs it as much as you need sex, which should be reason enough for you to make it a top priority!
  3. Security.  A woman needs to know that her husband will take care of her heart, her finances, her family, and her physical safety. She needs to know that if it came down to it, her husband would gladly give up his own life to save hers. More importantly, he would spend every moment of his life working to give her the best life possible and share it with her. Husbands, ask your wives what you can do to give them a life like this, and let them tell you the truth.

Adjusting to Each Other’s Needs

Even when people marry with the best of intentions and because they really love each other, they do not always know how to show that love in their actions. This is because each person’s needs for love, affection, and need-satisfaction in different areas are complex and different. So, each partner needs to give feedback and explain what he or she wants from the other person often, especially as people change over time and as family situations change.
Hidden agendas do not stay hidden forever; they come out at some point. When they do, they often cause surprises and problems, but they do not have to ruin a relationship. When they are talked about directly, both sides can make changes. If both people in a relationship care about each other, they will find a way to tell each other what they need and try to meet those needs. Most of the time, their hard work will pay off well.

Talk with a Relationship Coach

Relationship and marriage coaching is also an option if you need a referee or just someone to vent to confidentially. At Marriage Means Moore, we even help couples who have broken up get back together. Your relationship is sacred and needs love and care before things start to go wrong.
Lastly, one of the best ways to figure out how to deal with relationship stress is to talk it over with a relationship coach. At Marriage Means Moore, you can take your relationship from functioning to thriving!
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By Antonio and Laura Moore | Relationship Coaches | Marriage Means Moore Inc. | June 8, 2022
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