Do you want to help your marriage or hurt it? I’m sure you want to help it. I would hope that’s what any levelheaded person wants for their marriage. Even if you aren’t happy and you feel like your marriage is in trouble, you probably want to do whatever you can to help it—not hurt it. But sometimes, and even with the best intentions, we end up damaging our relationship with simple day-to-day behaviors and habits.
If you want to foster a healthy, happy marriage, you have to be mindful of how even the smallest actions could be causing large-scale damage to your marital bond.
Here are nine things that are probably hurting your marriage—whether you realize it or not.
- Sharing problems outside of your marriage. If your marriage is in trouble, the whole world doesn’t need to know it. I am not suggesting you don’t share your feelings or pain with close friends or family, because I know that coping on your own is tough. But does your spouse know how you feel? You can’t go around telling the world about how you’ve been done wrong when you haven’t even shared your true feelings with the so-called wrongdoer. Also, looking for support and encouragement from loved ones during a difficult time is very different than spilling all the intimate details of your marriage and portraying your spouse as the villain. Constantly taking your issues outside of your marriage can destroy any trust you have with your spouse.
- Holding grudges. Work through it or let it go. Those should be your only two options. Holding on to grudges is unhealthy on a personal level, and it is certainly damaging to your marriage. When you have been hurt, you have to figure out how you can forgive and move on. When resentment builds up, grudges can be poisonous. If you let your bitterness linger for too long, it may begin to sour your spirit and taint your marriage
- Pointing fingers. Pointing fingers is such a waste of time. Plus, no one truly listens to what you have to say when he or she feels attacked or blamed for something. Even if you are confident that your spouse is in the wrong, learn how to share your feelings and get your “point” across without finger pointing. Present a solution-driven dialogue, where the goal is to prevent future incidents versus assigning culpability on past acts.
When you feign forgiveness, all those feelings and issues surrounding that hurt never really go away.
- Pretending you’re not hurt. Forgiveness is a critical part of a successful marriage, but forgiving isn’t easy. It takes time. Yes, despite how difficult practicing forgiveness is, you have to do it if you choose to stay in your marriage. When you feign forgiveness, all those feelings and issues surrounding that hurt never really go away. If you’re still hurting, don’t be afraid to ask your spouse or even professional counseling for help moving on.
- Settling on something you shouldn’t. Compromise is the cornerstone of all happy marriages, but I believe there are things that you shouldn’t have to compromise on. Once you begin making compromises that don’t sit well with your soul, it does damage that may be irreparable. When the moment is right, speak up and go back to the drawing board again to etch out a solution that works for the both of you.
- Ignoring signs and mood changes. You’ve got a pretty good read on your mate, so don’t ignore what’s right in front of you. If you feel like your spouse is struggling with something and you notice a change in his or her mood, offer support. Marriages (and people) suffer when the obvious is ignored. Walking through all the highs and lows together will only strengthen your bond.
Yelling is rarely an effective way to get your message across. If you want to help your marriage, lower your voice and communicate with compassion.
- Yelling often. Talk about a bad communication move. The minute you start yelling, your mate either tunes you out or tries to yell louder. Nothing gets accomplished. Yelling is rarely an effective way to get your message across. If you want to help your marriage, lower your voice and communicate with compassion. Lighten the atmosphere with calm, measured dialogue and allow your spouse to be receptive to your viewpoints.
- Making major decisions without your spouse. Like many professional women, I am an independent woman who doesn’t need to ask her husband for permission to do anything. However, I do consult with him before I make any major decisions. If it’s a major decision, it impacts him. The respectful thing to do is discuss it with him.
- Not supporting your spouse’s dreams. You don’t have to agree with all of your spouse’s dreams to show support. When you fail to support someone you love, they never forget it. Never. Be keen to show positivity as if it were your dream and the tables were turned.
BMWK family, in your experiences, what do you think hurts a marriage?