You Won’t Be Married Long If You…

BY: - 21 Feb '12 | Marriage

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Most of the married couples in my family get married and (the most important part) they stay married. I’ve got more than a handful of 30-year-plus marriages to draw inspiration and lessons from. Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learned from watching these marriages up close:

You won’t be married long if you…

…decide you will only care as much as your spouse cares. Marriage requires us to be selfless. And this can be scary, I’ll admit. This requires a vulnerability that can unnerve even the most loving spouse.

…decide that being introspective is a waste of time. Marriage is a partnership. Each person is supposed to bring their best to the relationship for the benefit of all. Problems erupt once the blame for everything (lackluster sex life, piss-poor attempts at quality time, upside finances, etc) get pushed onto your spouse. Acknowledging the role that you play in certain situations is crucial to a marriage that is balanced and fair.

…can’t humble yourself enough to give or receive a genuine apology. Guess what? At a certain point in every marriage, one or both of you is bound to mess up. Someone will tell a white lie, or spend money without consulting the other, or otherwise do something to disappoint the other. That is life and that is marriage. The hallmark of a good marriage is how well you move past these incidents. Can you sincerely say “I’m sorry” without being prompted or being beat over the head about it? Can you accept when your spouse says “I’m sorry” without questioning their sincerity for the next week and a half?

…are okay with having two different life plans. Before you got married, did you talk about what you hoped the future looked like? Did you want your spouse to be a stay-at-home parent while you had the high powered career? Did you want to raise your children Baptist, while your Catholic spouse thinks their religion is more suitable? Getting married doesn’t mean that you lose your individual identities, but if there is no room for your spouse in your future, why are you married?

What destructive behaviors/mindsets would you add to the list?  


About the author

Tara Pringle Jefferson wrote 277 articles on this blog.

Tara Pringle Jefferson is managing editor of She\'s also the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she\'s too tired to remember.


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52 WordPress comments on “You Won’t Be Married Long If You…

  1. Adreinniko

    ….are reckless with what you say out your mouth. I was notorius for cussing my husband out at the drop of dime and calling him everything but a child of God for small stuff….that is until he decided enough was enough and threatened to  divorce me if I didn’t stop. I never realized how much damage  and hurt I caused  with my smart mouth and  nasty attitude, but I really did.  Watch your mouth and your attitudes  ladies, or you might wake up manless!  

    1. Carlotah80

       I heard a Pastor say recently that a woman’s words are a powerful as a man’s fist. If we as women and wives learn how much authority we have to 1) build up our husbands or 2) tear them down, we would find ourselves in much different situations/relationships.

    2. Tanya

      That was big and good for you to admit that. I’ve seen women do that and it is so horrible. I’m glad that you worked on that and your husband is happier for it im sure.!!

    1. laketarenal

      there is so much truth to this. too many times men and women get caught up in the physical and lose sight of what’s really important. you don’t marry someone because of how they look because looks fade. you want someone who can/will take care of your business, your home, your children. someone who will love you (and struggle with you) unconditionally. and it does go without saying that you don’t leave what you have at home (for what you think is better) because the grass isn’t always greener…

  2. Karen

    …don’t permit your partner to grow. We are all affected by things differently and have any number of fluctuating ideas and information. In short, people change. You should supportive of your partner’s transformation and desire to learn new things. Your spouse shouldn’t be exactly the same person you married 5 or 10 years ago. While you should share fundamentals, trying new things and taking on different roles keeps the marriage interesting.

    1. Gmartin5337

      Most people are afraid of what they don’t understand. Anything that is different will result to a person having to “change” or grasp it in stride and move forward. Change can be exciting or fearful because we cannot foresee what’s ahead. Now that’s where God comes in but most tends to push Him aside and try to handle their emotions themselves.

    1. laketarenal

      this is everything. many don’t realize you have to compromise all the time. and never say you’re tired of compromising all the time because you can’t be to make your marriage work.

  3. Mikedabarber

    If u devalue the thing he do because you are so use to it….. Let him not he’s wanted and needed, and then there’s the disconnect in the bed room that’s where the bond of the marriage is strengthened….. Sex is the bond, glue, nails, what ever u wanna call it

  4. Carlotah80

    Allow other’s comments or opinions to influence your relationship. Mama and ’em do not live with you and your spouse. Too often couples allow their family members into their relationships and that drama spills over and affects the couple’s lives. When couples have a fight and run to mom or dad, the parents become upset as well. Then, once the couple makes up, everyone else is still mad.  

    1. Gmartin5337

      That is definitely true! My in laws are nosey but they don’t try to interfere in my marriage as a matter of fact  I’m having some serious issues which might end in a divorce and  I need them to talk to my husband but they won’t  but they will gossip to other family members.  I know this because before GOD dealt with me I used to be just like them. When GOD exposed my heart I got so scared and did’nt want to return to visit them but GOD said I had to so they can see HIS LIGHT through me. That felt like torture but it worked. Now they have’nt stopped gossiping but they do watch what they say around me and that goes for the rest of the family members. It’s so funny to watch them straighten up when I arrive as if my presence is saying “hey everyone GOD’s in the house”-lol.

    2. BlackButterfly

      Amen! This is one of the things that destroyed my ex fiance and I relationship. Everybody was in our relationship but us. And then when we made up, we couldn’t understand why everyone else couldn’t stand the other.

  5. Reij413

    ……If you talk to everyone else (family, friends, coworkers) more than you talk to your spouse. I have been guilty in a past marraige to discuss my goals, dreams, with others and not my spouse.

    1. laketarenal

      this is so very key. it’s not everyone elses business what’s going on in your house. no matter how bad you two have to try to work it out without constantly talking to family members. especially when they can’t give you anything positive to build up your marriage because if you’re able to get past the tough times and make up all they continue to see is the bad. you’ve moved on but they can’t.

  6. Sonia

    Holding honesty as a high priority in your relationship. All of these tips help, but if both people can’t be honest about how they really feel about certain situations, nothing will be resolved and they only end up building resentment. I want to know that my mate can not only tell me how he feels, but that he will be honest about it too.

  7. Gmartin5337

    When you’re mindset is out of order then so are your priorities. Last year my husband finally admitted after being married for 18 yrs that his parents come before me. I was so hurt but in my heart I sort of knew it but needed him to say it which he did in an argument. Now we’re going to seek counseling from our Pastor and that’s my last attempt to help save this marriage. So thats the  destructive behavior & mindset that  could make or break up our union.

    1. laketarenal

      mindset does play a huge part in how people care for their marriage. Both husband and wife should put their marriage first before all other family. The Bible says that you leave your father and mother… when you get married. That doesn’t mean that you stop caring for your parents or other family members. It means that your spouse is now the closest person to you and they should be our priority. G i will keep you two in my prayers and really hope that your husbands gets this soon.

  8. Chundraharris

    When I got married to my husband 3yrs ago, we both talked about having children. He has had the same job as a truck washing supervisor making $11.50hr for 4yrs. I have been layed off from graphic design jobs due to lack of money within those companies. NOW I DON’T WANT KIDS! We are not poor but we live paycheck to paycheck. He wants kids, and I tell him I want a Nissan Altima but it would be stupid to get one just becuz I want it. Do u think he will resent me later when we are old?

    1. j

      I don’t know if your husband will resent you later. But I do know that kids are expensive, and if you are barely getting by with the 2 of you, adding a baby will add a strain to your finances. Spend time praying about your situation and WAIT until God tells you to have a baby. Hope this helps! 🙂

    2. Brass King

      You will never be prepared…financially or otherwise for a child. Children are the blessings that will bring you all the riches you will need. The tree will bare fruit when its time, not when you are hungry. You have to be ready to reap the harvest. Not everything will go to your schedule, but I promise, a child will come RIGHT ON TIME! Dont deny the blessings that are waiting for you!

  9. Tatia L Sanchez

    One destructive thing that I know I am guilty of is being right all the time.   Yes, I may in fact be technically correct, but rubbing my husbands nose it it, or beating him over the head with it is not the correct way to go about showing that I’m right.   In fact, I have learned that it is good to sometimes not say anything, and let him come to his own conclusions about the matter – without saying I TOLD YOU SO.   Hard to do, but it has improved my marriage SO MUCH…and I haven’t even perfected that move yet 🙂

  10. Slynnbut

    It won’t last if:  you focus on your spouses faults and flaws…we all fall short in some area or another.  So focus on what that person has to offer and not so much on what you wish they did, didn’t or won’t do.    Be open, honest, and vulnerable with one another.  I love the part where you said it’s okay to have two different life plans.  After all its takes to different individuals to create a partnership, each person brings certain strength and weakness to make the partnership whole.  Where I am weak you are strong, and where I am strong you are weak and thats okay!!!

  11. dr. kellie

    …   if you are not committed to weathering difficult times with your spouse.   We’re often sold a bill of goods about marriage.   We’re told about “happily ever after” but not about the work that it takes to get there.   In real true marriage, giving up is not supposed to be an option that’s put on the table every time the going gets tough.

    1. Gmartin5337

      One thing that I’ve learned is that if you’re not honest with yourself you’re most likely not going to be honest with God or  your spouse. Lack of honesty, communication and interests in one another  will put an end to any relationship and will open all windows and doors for anyone to be tempted. Being true to our heart means that we have to humble ourselves and confront what’s real.

    2. laketarenal

      Kelly this is so very true. people don’t stay when things get rough because they’re not committed. they will stay as long as they’re getting what they want or things are going smooth, but when trouble rears it’s head, they’re out the door for what they think is better. you’re right in a real marriage divorce shouldn’t be an option.


    As a Pastor I began to read and flow through many of the comments and questions I cane upon, and what it did was truly allow me to begin to reflect on a 21 year marrage to someone who honestly believes that her family and friends feelings and concerns would become even more important to her that my feelings and concerns in the life I would some how be trapped in allowed me to feel like I was truly alone in this marriage, and in never ever haveing being honored or truly appreciated or respected made me realize that perhaps I made a mistake in not asking God was this person the right fit for me, and in my understanding of many thinsg in my 49 years on this earth, most people do not ask God is he the rightone, or is she the right one, and this can cause you much pain on the inside of your heart as well as for your spirit, so i sugest before you decide to ever marry amyone consult God first because he will save you a whole lot of grief and heart ach Amen…

  13. Jaime

    Im married this sounds good n all but when there has been much pain/hurt and you try to move on…..sometimes ur spouses actions reopen old wounds. You try counseling, pastoral input…..prayer but things don’t seems to change I have been married 19 years…the infidelity, the illegimate child, the lies on a constant basis. We have separated 5 times and the promises are made and never done this last separation was my final one…..we end up bring in the same household again!!!!! I promise you with everything in me I don’t want this man because I know I deserve better. But it seems God keep putting us back togetherso now I’m just waiting on God, He knows my pain and He knows my thoughts……I’m just saying I have given all I can give to this relationship.

  14. Deedeedee

    You will not stay married for long if you…. consider your spouse at any or all times to be in competition with you. You are a team called a family which means you do not compete with one another, you compete together in the world. Competing as a team means bringing your best and encouraging the best in your spouse for the benefit of the team. Not getting your team mate to do for you so you will not have too, or blaming your team mate for being tired or making a mistake, because by the time you finished blaming… you both lost the game.

  15. MrsJ

    You won’t be married long if you do not continue to do the things that got you to the altar in the first place. Too many times after the I do’s we stop dating each other, stop communicating, stop looking good for one another. We get too comfy as if marriage is the finish line of the relationship race

  16. Superwife

    You won’t be married long if you cannot resolve issues/problems like an emotional ADULT and not a child. Tantrums, fits, silent-treatment, screaming, will not bring resolution – only division. Marriage is for emotionally grown folks only.

  17. Tameca Brown

    I have a friend whose husband is as similar to yours. Every time she took back her husband things got worse for her. and for the 11 years counting she is now at the lowest in her life in every area you could think of. all because again she took back her husband again. She kept saying God wants him in her life for a reason. All I saw was God trying to keep him out so that she can grow spiritually and also other areas of her life.

    The worse thing is to be in something that slowly kills you spiritually because after a while it kills all other areas of your life too.

    For a marriage to work it takes two active participants. God is not the one putting him in your life you are the who keeps doing it. God helps those who help themselves.

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7 Reasons To Attend Couples Counseling

BY: - 21 Feb '12 | Marriage

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by Tiffany Sanders, Ph.D

Couples too often wait until their relationship is on the verge of a break-up or when one partner is “done” before they decide to attend couples counseling. Many couples hesitate to go because they don’t want to be told what to do in their relationship, and often they believe they can fix the problems on their own. However, relationships are hard work and a licensed counselor can help couples weather a storm that is threatening their union. Here are 7 reasons to attend couples counseling to revitalize, save or improve your relationship.

1)  Enhance communication

 Unreliable strategies such as the “silent treatment,” shouting or using disrespectful words can damage a relationship. In couples counseling, discover effective, healthy communication strategies to ensure that both of your wants, needs and frustrations are heard in a respectful manner, while learning how to create a relationship that encourages sharing, talking and connecting.

2) Increase intimacy  

Ignoring you partners pleas for intimacy and/or sex can lead to a lack of connectedness, foster feelings of insecurity and rejections, and increase the likelihood of infidelity. Couples counseling can not only help you discover your partner’s language of love, but it can also provide you with tips and strategies to keep the spice in the relationship.

3) Work through infidelity

Relationships can recover and be saved when rocked by infidelity. In couples counseling, learn what factors contributed to infidelity, safeguard your relationship from future occurrences of infidelity, and learn ways to forgive, trust and to be trusted.

4) Let go of the past

Baggage from past issues of abandonment, trust or lack of follow through can fracture a relationship, and your partner may be unaware you are still stewing over those issues from the past! In couples counseling learn to become unstuck, find ways to move on, forgive and focus on your happiness and the future.

5) When you think you might be happier with someone else

If you have been with your partner for many years, things can become boring. Attention from a past lover or coworker has you wondering if you could be happier with someone else. However, the grass is not always greener on the other side. In couples counseling learn how to reconnect with your partner and regain the excitement to create a lasting relationship.

6) Disagreements in raising children
If you have been with your partner for many years, things can become boring. Attention from a past lover or coworker has you wondering if you could be happier with someone else. However, the grass is not always greener on the other side. In couples counseling learn how to reconnect with your partner and regain the excitement to create a lasting relationship.


The way you parent, discipline, and nurture your children anger or frustrate your partner. Couples counseling can help you agree upon effective strategies to raise your children and reduce inconsistencies in parenting which can breed children who misbehave.

7) Money management

He loves new gadgets and electronics, recklessly spends money, and pays the bills late while you are frugal, saving money for a rainy day, purchase of a home and retirement. Working with a counselor can get at the root of the financial problem or reckless spending, and outline financial goals for the family to save and to enjoy the pleasures of life.

Have you ever been to couples counseling? What was your experience?  

Tiffany D. Sanders, PhD, is a relationship expert, licensed psychologist, owner of Sanders & Associates, a group counseling practice based in Naperville, IL, and author of the book My Purpose is For Real: 7 Simple Steps to Get Back on Track to Achieve Your Dreams


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