A Daily-Grind Rut
How to recognize it: Day-to-day duties have you both acting like drones, and your relationship is droning along, too. You're so drained by all the demands on you, you can't think about the future.
How to bust out of it: Even if it seems as if there's no end in sight to work and chores and errands, it may help to swap fantasies. Share your daydreams about what life will be like when you no longer have that debt hanging over your heads, when the kids are more independent, or when you've passed through a mini challenge, like moving. Ask yourselves where you will travel when life gets easier (Texas? Tahiti?) or what hobbies you have let slide that you want to take up again. "Seeing that light at the end of the tunnel offers hope to you as individuals and to your relationship," says psychologist Dorothy Cantor. Comparing your wish lists for the next months or years "also provides a reminder that you won't be dealing with this grind forever and reaffirms that you want to get through this together, which strengthens your bond."