Common Social Problems Encountered In Family Life And How They Affect The Marriage

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In this paper I will be addressing some common social problems a family faces. A social problem is an issue that influences a large number of individuals within a society. The social problems I will be discussing in this paper are divorce, violence, financial problems, infidelity and infertility. In examining these social problems, I will discuss its effects to the couples in the family and the children. I will then come up with ways on managing these social problems in the family.


Divorce is one of the most serious social problems in the modern world. Back in the days it was not so common but currently in the twenty first century it has increasingly became quite common that it affects all levels of society in one way or another. Reasons for people getting divorce are lack of love and trust in marriage, infidelity, incompatibility, physical or mental abuse, money, lack of communication, etc. Almost fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce or separation. People do not get married planning to divorce. Divorce is the result of a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship. (Chapman, 2014)

Effects or Divorce

The high levels of divorce have great effects on children. Children of divorced parents often have social or emotional problems. They may lack support or care in the home or have difficulties in the new family. They may even have problems at school or with the police.

Physical and psychological effects can also result from divorce. It not only affects the children but also both the woman and the man. Due to financial problems after getting divorce and one partner filling for child custody leading to child and parent separation can cause them experience depression, insomnia, substance abuse, identity crisis, loneliness, etc.

Managing Divorce

Coping with the chaos caused by the collapse of your marriage is an enormous task therefore takes one step at a time. It is going to be hard for the children but take time to let them in on what is going on, help them understand that it is not their fault for your failed marriage and your love for them will not change despite the circumstances. Managing divorce is not easy but with every difficulty comes an ease.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence can be physical or psychological, and it can affect anyone of any age, gender, race, or sexual orientation. It may include behaviors meant to scare, physically harm, or control a partner. While every relationship is different, domestic violence generally involves an unequal power dynamic in which one partner tries to assert control over the other in a variety of ways. 10 percent of American women will be raped by intimate partners in their lifetime, and intimate partners, usually men, are responsible for killing one-third of female murder victims annually. Domestic violence is behavior that is learnt through observation and reinforcement. In situations of captivity the perpetrator becomes the most powerful person in the life of the victim, and the psychology of the victim is shaped by the actions and beliefs of the perpetrator. (Herman, 1992)

Effects of Domestic Violence

It creates some psychological problems in children and some of them display negative attitudes to people. They get hurt when they see their parents being yelled at, pushed or hit. There is emotional effects which include developing low self esteem, increased levels of anxiety, repressed feelings of fear & anger, regression, suicidal thoughts, lack of social competence. There is also cognitive and attitudinal effects which include pre-violence attitudes, lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, fear of making mistakes, inability to form stable relationships, self harming tendencies such as hair pulling and nail biting, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.

Another effect is the intimate femicide which is considered to be the most extreme form and consequence of intimate partner violence. Research says that its mostly men who kill their partner. The murder stems from masculine possessiveness; it is the embodiment of the murderer’s personality and sexual jealousy and anger are two emotions that trigger it. The murder is not an unintended result of violence that went too far—as most of these murders are well-planned. Furthermore, wife murder cannot be understood in terms of loss of control or local insanity. It is rather a deliberate act which is the result of emotional ripeness that created mental readiness for committing the murder as an act of profound despair that is ready to destroy the other even if this means destroying oneself.

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Managing Domestic Violence

If we want to prevent domestic violence, we have to look at what works. San Francisco's Manalive program has been successful in teaching male prisoners and domestic violence offenders in the community techniques to identify when they get triggered and to hit the 'pause button' at those moments of stress. These men are then able to make more reasonable decisions in terms of their behavior. The program directly challenges the destructive thoughts, critical inner voices that feed aggressive behaviors.

Some ways of managing domestic violence is by providing emotional support to the victim through provision of self-help through support groups and helping the victims to build self-esteem and self confidence. Another way is for the victim to have access to advocacy and legal assistance programs which includes child custody and use of restraining order against the abuser. On the child’s side, it’s advised that they get counseling and therapy on managing this issue.

Financial problem

A 2009 Gallup poll lists lack of money, excess debt, the cost of owning or renting a home, job loss and healthcare cost as the most important financial problems families face. Families to worry more about basic economic problems than they do about specific concerns, such as the high gas and oil prices, or taxes. Many families experience financial problems because they don't have good money management skills and make unwise decisions about how to use income and credit. Uncontrollable factors such as unemployment can add to families' financial problems. Lack of communication can cause problems when shopping gets out of control. Other causes of family financial problems include addiction, emotional problems and stress that lead to irrational spending patterns.

Effects of Financial problems to the Family

Economic hardship and financial distress can have devastating effects on families. In tough economic times, many families lose their jobs, homes, cars, retirement accounts, belongings, savings, health insurance, and more. Families often struggle just to meet their basic needs. Stay-at-home moms may suddenly find themselves searching for work or selling their prized possessions. Unemployed fathers feel like a failure, are guilt stricken and ashamed of losing their identity as the family's provider. Grown, adult men and women with children may find themselves moving back in with their parents until they can put the pieces of their lives back together; other families are moving in with each other.

The shift from having 'something,' even moderate means, to having 'nothing' is devastating. When families are faced with the grief of losing everything and the fear of never being able to recover, these uncontrollable circumstances have a drastic impact on families as a whole, on marriages, and on husbands, wives, parents, and children.

Family financial problems can lead to stress. Some couples fight over spending habits instead of searching for solutions to their money-related issues. Sometimes disagreements over money become so severe that they lead to divorce. Children may feel caught in the middle of the arguments, and feel guilt when they benefit from purchases, or disappointment when money problems prevent them from having certain things.

Families may become torn apart or separated. For example, children may move in with extended family or friends, or marriages may be extremely stressed and fall apart, and there may be underlying tension or feelings of despair. Parents may interact with their children in tense or punitive ways with a short temper; children may respond with negative behaviors and emotions, and teens may face problems in school, negative peer groups, lost self-esteem, and delinquency.

Managing Financial issues

Since the financial problems affect the whole family, have a meeting to explain the financial issue and make a plan to solve it. Create a budget to eliminate debt and save money. Implement good record keeping practices, then establish priorities and stick to them. Viewing last 6 months bank statements, monthly bills, and monthly income information will help determine the family's budget needs. Family heads can work to create a budget to eliminate debt and save money. Then, implement good record keeping practices and establish priorities and stick to them. If credit issues are out of control, contact creditors to make manageable payment arrangements or seek professional help through Consumer Credit Counseling.

Seeking Help

A marriage and family therapist (MFT) can help you or your loved one and the family. MFTs are trained to understand the complex nature of problems, especially problems resulting from external social factors, such as economic hardship. They address problems that an individual may be experiencing, as well as difficulties in couple and parent-child relationships. An MFT can help alleviate symptoms like anxiety or depression through addressing the social or familial circumstances that may be contributing. They can help you to ensure that your children are buffered from the worst effects of financial strain in effective and concrete ways.


This is the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person's current spouse or partner. An estimated 40 percent of American marriages experience at least one episode of infidelity. Studies show more men than women cheat, but they often do it for the same reasons. Infidelity is breaking a promise to remain faithful to a sexual partner, whether that be marriage vows sanctified by the state or privately uttered agreements between lovers. As unthinkable as the notion of breaking such bonds may be at the time, infidelity is all too common. And when it happens, it raises thorny and painful questions. Should you stay? Can trust be rebuilt? Or are there no hope, and no choice but to pack up and move on? Infidelity affects the entire family, immediate and extended (Schwartz, 2007).

Effects of infidelity on the Family

When parents are in crisis so too their children. When a house burns down, the children along with the adults become homeless. The same is true when infidelity plagues a family. The turmoil, fear, uncertainty, the anger, the tears, the withdrawal, the accusations, the distraction, the fighting affects everyone in the family and in particular children who by nature are very sensitive and dependent upon their parents for emotional and physical stability and safety. A family is like passengers on a boat. If the boat sinks, everyone drowns. Using this analogy of a sinking boat and taking it one step further, adults know how to swim, but often children do not. The same is true with a divorce. Most adults can handle the breakup of their marriage or committed relationship and move forward even if it is difficult and painful. Research shows that often this is not the case for children. Children from divorced homes are at increased risk for academic, social, and emotional injury or failure.

There are psychological effects that rise in a partner when they find out their husband or wife cheated outside their marriage. One of them is self blaming and self-loathing. This is when the person thinks that they are the reason their partner cheated. Did you cause your partner to cheat? Did you make yourself look good enough? Should you have been more protected, invested, intimate, loving?

The list of questions is endless. They start blaming themselves and ask themselves where they went wrong. This makes the person have low self-esteem, that they were not enough for their spouse and they won’t be to any other person. They may also get depressed if these symptoms become long term. When we are in the midst of dealing with a spouse who has cheated, we will be reconciling the fact that the person, who you loved, trusted and invested your life in has essentially chosen somebody else over you. This creates a dysfunction in the family.

Managing infidelity in a family

When adultery hits a family, the children are also injured. They need to be spoken to in an age-appropriate way. Pretending that nothing has happened or nothing has changed hurts them even more since they then feel guilty thinking something terrible is happening, but they are not able to talk about it. To add on that not being able to talk about the affair increases fear for the future and makes processing the event far more difficult.

Try marriage therapy or take a marriage education class. You really need to find a counselor or therapist who is pro-marriage, and can help get your relationship back on track, say Weiner-Davis. Steer clear of therapists who see infidelity as a marital death sentence, it isn't. (Davis, 2017)


Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. Evaluation may be initiated sooner in patients who have risk factors for infertility or if the female partner is older than 35 years. Causes of infertility include male factors, ovulatory dysfunction, uterine abnormalities, tubal obstruction, peritoneal factors, or cervical factors. It is one of the most severe crises that a person or couple may ever face in their family. Majority of the couples get into marriage in hopes of conceiving children of their own and failure to do that can be very painful in their marriage.

Effects of infertility on Couples

Most people go through a series of intense feelings after being diagnosed with infertility. Feelings of anger and sadness are quite common, as are feelings of loss and betrayal. A couple's or individual's sadness may turn to grief- grief for the child of their fantasies or grief for the experiences they imagined sharing with the child. Couples, in particular, are likely to experience changes in their relationship. These may include feeling more emotionally distant or needing to withdraw from intimacy. Feelings of guilt and self-blame may also arise, particularly if one of the partners is identified as being the primary cause of the infertility. Additionally, the unfertile partner may fear that the other person might leave the relationship.

Managing infertility issues

Seeking marriage and family therapy would be a possible solution to infertility faced by married couples. The marriage and family therapist will provide his or her clients with a safe, neutral ground in which to discuss the numerous issues related to infertility, and also validate the intense feelings and emotions which often accompany the crisis. Although marriage and family therapists cannot actually intervene in medical treatments to help a woman become pregnant, they can help individuals wade through the process, communicate better with each other, and gather more support from family and friends. Since marriage and family therapists are trained to focus on an individual or couple within a systems context, they can help persons experiencing infertility to address issues in a clearer way. Therapists are trained to help couples understand how the interactions between the couple and their families can sometimes get in the way and create conflict.

For married couples who still wish to have children but are not able, adoption can be a possible solution. It may not fully heal the desire of them having their own children but it will somewhat provide the missing gap in their family.

At first it may not be easy, and the couples may reject the idea but they later come to realize that adoption can benefit both the adoptive parents and the child. The couples need a child and the child needs parents and a home to call their own therefore it is pretty much a win win on both sides. Adoption gives infertile couples the ability to become parents when they would not be able to have children otherwise. Adoption gives these hopeful parents an opportunity to share their lives with a child and experience the joy and blessings of being parents.

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