It takes hard work to sustain a marriage, but happy couples will tell you it’s worth it. If you want to make sure your marriage is destined for disaster, commit to these 11 relationship killers.
Criticize your spouse.
- In our culture, it is common to hear married couples putting each other down. While a little good-natured teasing can be appropriate in a healthy marriage, constant nagging and bad-mouthing is never a good thing. If the only words that come out of your mouth about your spouse are negative (whether to his face or not), your marriage could be in trouble.
- Don’t ask about each other’s day.
“How was your day, dear?” sounds like such a boring, cliché question, which may be why many couples just stop asking. If we want to maintain a connection with our spouse, however, we need to keep asking. That doesn’t mean that every night has to feature lengthy monologues from each of you. But it’s valuable to touch base and at least hit the highlights so you don’t miss out on each other’s crucial emotions and events. You can save the lengthier discussions for date nights
- Ditch date night.
Whether you’re busy at work or school or you’re up to your elbows in diapers, it can be tough to find the time or the energy for date nights with your spouse. After all, busyness is the hallmark of life with young children, demanding careers, and education pursuits. But if you don’t carve out time and space for each other now, you’ll wake up one day when the kids are gone, the degrees have been earned, and the jobs are secure, and you’ll wonder how you ended up sleeping next to a stranger.
- Stop showing physical affection.
You’re not teenagers anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop snuggling, cuddling, hugging, kissing, and holding hands. Those small signs of affection make each other feel loved and wanted. Sex is a must, too. Maybe you don’t do it as often as you used to (or maybe you do it more!), but you still need to make time to connect with each other intimately in order to keep your marriage strong.
- Never talk about your marriage.
When I was in college, my friends and I joked about how often dating couples had relationship-defining talks (RDTs). It seemed like all people ever did was talk about their relationship instead of actually having one. In marriage, I think the opposite danger exists. We get so comfortable in the routines of marriage that we forget to check in with each other and talk about how our life together is going. Too many RDTs can suffocate a relationship, but no RDTs can make us ignorant of and insensitive to our spouse.
- Talk bad about your spouse’s family.
In-law issues are par for the course in marriage, and couples have to find ways to balance each family’s needs and desires in order to survive. While it’s healthy to have open and honest discussions about each family’s quirks, in-law bashing is a definite no-no. When you’re talking about your spouse’s mother, father, sister, or brother, tread lightly. Your spouse’s loyalty is to you, but he shouldn’t be forced to listen to your rants about his family of origin. That’s a surefire way to build resentment in your marriage.
- Keep all your money separate.
My husband and I have separate credit cards so we can shop for each other without the other person seeing the bill, and we each have our own spending money. But our bank accounts are joint, because what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine. Sharing money is a way to cultivate relational trust. If you divide your money right down the line, or keep “his” and “hers” accounts with nothing designated as “ours,” you’re living separate lives. You’re not partners; you’re roommates.
- Keep a record of wrongs.
Nothing kills a relationship quicker than keeping a record of the other person’s wrongs – and referring to it often. If every disagreement sparks a recounting of all the ways you’ve hurt each other in the past, your relationship (and your own sanity) will suffer. Holding grudges and harboring unforgiveness is poisonous to your relationship and your own soul.
- Break your promises.
Broken promises, big and small, can lead to the demise of your marriage. Of course, infidelity is a major breach in trust from which it is difficult (but not impossible) to recover. But smaller missteps like promising to take the kids to the park and failing to follow through are also responsible for eroding the health of your relationship. If you can’t trust each other, your marriage is on shaky ground.
10.Neglect all other friendships.
Even if your spouse is your best friend, you still need to invest in other friendships. Making your spouse your go-to person for absolutely everything is way too much emotional weight for one person to carry. No one person can meet all your needs, no matter how wonderful he or she may be. Spread the love by sharing your stories and your time with at least one or two people other than your spouse. Otherwise, your marriage could crash under the weight of unrealistic expectations.
- Forget why you fell in love in the first place.
After you’ve been married for a while, it’s easy to get into a rut and focus on all the things that are wrong with your spouse rather than all the things that are right. Each of us has a mountain of faults that we’re (hopefully) working to overcome. But dwelling or harping on your partner’s faults can send your attitude and your marriage on a downward spiral. Instead, make it a point to remember all his positive qualities – the things that drew you to him in the first place.