1. “Why does my wife feel the need to tell me every single detail about her friends’ lives? I love my wife, and I’m interested in what she says—unless it’s about her coworker Jill’s decision to get Botox. I haven’t met Jill, and have no opinion on the matter. And I’m sure Jill doesn’t care what I think, either.” – Charles, 39, married five years
Expert Rx: In general, guys want to know the point of a story before they hear it, says Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., a relationship psychologist. When you start talking about acquaintances they don’t know, their minds scramble to figure out the “so, what?” factor. If you’re looking for a gossip buddy, you’re better off chatting with your BFFs. But if you’re bringing up Jill’s plastic surgery because you want to gauge what your guy thinks of Botox, then start the conversation with that so he knows where things are headed.
2. “We’re not always a package. Sometimes, I don’t know where my wife is for the afternoon. That’s not weird—we’re individuals! But whenever I tell my buddies that, they look at me like I’m nuts.” — Nick, 40, married 10 yearsExpert Rx: Alone time is a healthy and natural, but if you or your guy express that you’re starting to feel like two ships passing in the night, maybe it is time to peek into the ever-mighty schedule and shore up some time for just you two. Even if date night’s a given, there are other opportunities, like asking him to come grocery shopping, or waiting with you while you stand in line at the DMV. It’s actually the kind of stuff you used to do when you were dating, and it can still be surprisingly fun—the trick is asking your man (which sends the signal that he can get hero points) rather than expecting him to (which, as you guessed, does the total opposite).
3. “Date nights. Don’t get me wrong—I love them—but the phrase sounds so forced.” — Brian, 31, married three years
Expert Rx: Nothing, including the name, about date night should feel obligatory. If you and your guy are a bit eh about the term, retire it in favor of Sunday Funday, Martini Monday… you get the point, suggests Laurie Puhn, a couples mediator and author of Fight Less, Love More. And switch it up. Instead of the same dinner and a movie combo, head to a local ice hockey game or spend the evening on a scavenger hunt around town in search of the best slice of pizza.
4. “I hate when my wife puts photos of me on Facebook without asking. They’re never bad and she always writes something nice, but it’s sort of embarrassing for the guys to know I sometimes play princesses with my daughters.” — John, 42, married 15 years
Expert Rx: You may think his Ariel impression is adorable, but unless he gives you the okay, it’s best to save those shots for the private photo album, says Judi Cinéas, a therapist in Palm Bach, FL. “At the end of the day, it’s about respect. If he feels uncomfortable with the photos, then posting them behind his back is undermining his wishes.”
5. “As soon as we got married, my mother-in-law started giving me unsolicited advice. I know she’s coming from a good place, but I already have a mother!” — Dylan, 27, married two years
Expert Rx: Your mom may know best, but experts agree it’s even better if she keeps her opinions to herself—unless she’s asked. Gently tell your mother that you know she wants what’s best for both of you, but that you and your guy are working out issues on your own. She’ll likely still offer advice, but the more you stick to that line, the more she’ll learn to back off, says Puhn. Even if Mom’s insight is smart, letting your guy figure it out naturally makes him more likely to actually listen to it.
6. “I feel like before we got married, weekends were for lounging around, meeting up with friends, or having sex. We still do those things, but more and more, weekends are times to do errands. It just doesn’t feel as romantic as it did back when we were dating.” — Steve, 37, married one year
Expert Rx: Limited free time plus a long to-do list can make weekends feel like a slog. But remember: You’re both grown-ups with the power to decide what goes on the list. So jot down some fun activities already! If you feel isolated on the weekends, it may be time to shake up your social lives, either by inviting some friends over or by joining a running club or other activity that’ll give you both chances to connect with new people.
7. “People always ask when we’re planning to have kids. My wife gets this question far more than I do, but even when people ask me, it sounds so invasive. Why is it their business?” — Dave, 29, married three years
Expert Rx: Rude? Absolutely. And while it’s easy to let an acquaintance know that the question is completely out of line with a chilly, ‘When we have news, we’ll let you know,’ the conversation can stay under your skin—especially if you and your guy haven’t recently had a conversation about kid timelines. Regularly checking about where you’re headed as a family can help you maintain a united front so that these comments don’t eat at you as much, says Lisa Bahar, a marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, CA.
8. “People seem so impressed that I’m usually the one who cooks. I’ll take the compliment, but what irks me is the implication that my wife isn’t pulling her weight.” — Aaron, 32, married one year
Expert Rx: It’s 2014, and it shouldn’t raise eyebrows that you spend time in the kitchen. But what you should keep tabs on is how happy both of you are with your roles around the house. Relatively small schedule changes—like a new gym habit or a busy streak at the office—can wreak havoc on routine, warns Charles J. Orlando, a relationship expert and author of The Trouble With Women… Is Men. Keep each other abreast of how you’re feeling, as it may help you both avoid becoming overwhelmed or resentful.
9. “There are so many family obligations! I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I feel like they’ve tripled since we actually got hitched. And if I don’t go, not only does my wife get upset, but I feel like it makes us look like we don’t have a good bond.” — Steve, 33, married three years
Expert Rx: If you two feel friction about family obligations, then it’s time to sit down and figure out where each of you is coming from, says Bahar. Fights about family can fester, so getting on the same page now is key to preventing future arguments. It might be as simple as articulating what gets under your skin about the gatherings—maybe you feel backed into a corner by your wife’s blowhard brother or you believe that her mom makes belittling comments toward you. Understanding the why can help you both figure out how to move forward.
10. “There’s this sense of, well, now what? The wedding was such a big project, and we know we won’t have kids for at least a few years, so it sort of feels like we’re in this anti-climactic slump.” — Brandon, 32, married one year
Expert Rx: There’s so much pressure (not to mention expense) involved in putting on a wedding that it’s only natural to feel a bit let down when the celebration is over. The good news is, you’ve accepted that, which means you’re ready to think of ways to move beyond it. Maybe it’s saving for a fabulous vacation, training for a triathlon together, or taking a sex challenge and doing it every night for a month. Whatever works!