When we are talking about a marriage dissolving, we all know very well that infidelity as well as other big things is dangerous to a marital relationship. However, there are a lot of divorce cases in which both spouses never seem to have committed a serious error in their relationships, and those couples parted amicably. And actually, even though infidelity is involved, the underlying problems usually have started long before the red line was crossed. Nobody wakes up and somehow thinks of having a marital affair. A divorce is usually a long-term consequence of negative behavior patterns in marriage. For many problematic couples, in daily life, they may have got used to doing some routine things that are actually ruining their marriages, but they may have never realized their impacts.
The following points out top 5 common little things that ruin a marriage:
(1) Saying hurtful words:Are you adept at brandishing your sharp words in order to demean, belittle, and shame your spouse? If you keep this up, the constant verbal abuse is bound to disgust your spouse and make him/her less unresponsive to you and less concerned about you. Hurtful words are like the water that has been poured out, it can not be taken back; regardless of how sorry and guilty you feel afterwards, you have already done harm to your spouse.
Usually, new lovers watch their word choices carefully even when they are in the heat of an argument. Newlyweds are very aware that they would not like to say anything that distance their spouses, so they watch closely for any potential sign of distress. They truly treasure their closeness, and they can’t bear being at odds with their spouses for a long time. But unfortunately, as marriage mature, couples tend to care less about the way they speak to their spouses, and sometimes hurtful words inadvertently damage the intimacy in marriage. For example, when their frustration builds and their temper flares, they are tempted to dig up the past and use destructive phrases from those memories of long-forgotten events. As couples speak more and more hurtful words to their spouses, their spouses are more likely to feel that those negative remarks resemble what some hateful, malicious people have ever uttered.
Generally, the majority of couples do not resort to hostile exchanges unless they exhausted their attempts to get what they want from their spouses. They begin as devoted lovers and friends, trying their best to become considerate; but as time passes, gradually they become less and less determined to put each other first; imperceptibly, they become verbal opponents, struggling to emotionally survive at the expense of each other. As their exchanges get heated, they tend to lose the touch with their words’ possible negative effects. Even gradually they may get accustomed to rationalizing their emotional venting with little or no apology and remorse. Due to the lack of remorse and apology, marital conflict is more likely to escalate to a hostile state. When couples focus on winning instead of maintaining intimate connection or mutual trust, it is probable that verbal blow leaves an invisible and permanent scar on one or both of spouse’s minds.
(2) Not putting each other first:
As an interdependent relationship, a marriage is always hard to maintain, because it requires continuous efforts that seem endless. Because of its difficulty and highly time-consuming, a spouse may prioritize other issues above marital issues at some point, according to the principle “doing easy things first”.
When a spouse notices that his/her spouse is devoting more time and efforts in other relationships (e.g. relationships with kids, in-laws, friends, colleagues or even pets), he/she is apt to feel slighted or even hurt.
Nobody likes being moved from the number one spot into the second spot or any feeling as if he/she has been demoted. It is a natural reaction – one that results in feelings of jealousy.
Furthermore, in a blended family, prioritizing family members is a tricky business. Putting each other first doesn’t mean that a spouse must love his/her spouse more than his/her own children. Making a marriage the top priority does not have to be associated with the levels of love. It just means fully considering the spouse’s needs before making a decision that may affect the entire household.
(3) A transactional attitude:
When couples stop communicating each other at a deep level, their relationships tends to deteriorate. No doubt, lack of healthy communication is a big culprit behind breakups and divorces.
A lot of couples try to avoid an unpleasant argument by quit communicating as quickly as possible; due to increased communication barriers between two sides, probably they often have an extreme (e.g. angry, furious, and even violent) argument, so they consciously or unconsciously set limits on daily communication with each other (e.g. what they talk about, and how long they can talk), therefore they can be easily caught in a destructive communication pattern – they spend limited time together discussing children, work, household budget, household chores, and so on. Then once the discussion about those important matters is over, the conversation ends instantly; over time, the conversation between them becomes more and more “transactional”. Of course, it is always necessary to discuss those serious issues; but for those couples with a transactional attitude, they have a dangerous confusion – their conversations are more and more like business dialogues.
As we all know, arguments arise frequently in business meetings, in which unexpected conflict, tension, and feelings of disconnection are often created; and that kind of discussion is tough and struggling for both sides usually; if discussion in marriage is regarded as business meetings, couples will be sorely tempted to avoid talking to each other; after all, in a marriage, generally neither side likes sparking or getting involved in intense conflict. Therefore, husbands and wives probably condition to each other unintentionally to feel: now that engaging in the conversation is often not safe and fun, it is better to stop it or at least cut it short.
Anyway, couples need to seek a way of communicating that suits their own relationships, instead of not expressing. And the posts below provide insights in how to better communicate with your spouse:
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(4) Being over-familiar:
It is surely a good thing for a person to know his/her partner like the back of his/her partner’s hand. And it is also great to know the partner’s favorite color shirt, what drink he/she would order with which food… Familiarity is often viewed as an asset; but too much of a good thing can be deadly; likewise, over-familiarity can be a liability.
So the question arises: how much familiarity can be defined as over-familiarity in a relationship? Over-familiarity is when a spouse thinks he/she is close enough to the other to excuse his/her obnoxious behavior, while not allowing the same things to be done to him/her. Over-familiarity can be thought as a type of entitlement – a spouse believes he/she has already earned a free pass or a privilege to do certain things. These things include: yelling, ignoring, criticizing, being openly grumpy, teasing (even in play), being crude, complaining, nagging… More often than not, dishonoring, disrespectful, and negative energy become “familiar territory”.
One thing needs to be particularly pointed out is mutual respect erodes with increased familiarity, when over-familiarity sets in. For example, if a spouse often has the other one to pick up his/her scattered clothes or has the other one to clean up after him/her, he/she may not show gratitude towards the other because those things has been taken for granted; in his/her mind, it is totally unnecessary to stand on ceremony about those small things, and that characterizes the intimate relationship. But on the other side, these acts of over-familiarity are very likely to disappoint the other and draw the other’s ire because these acts are too easily regarded as a lack of respect.
Over-familiarity is definitely one of little things that ruin a marriage, because no one wants to feel disrespected in a marriage.
For many problematic couples whose marriages are overwhelmed by “unhealthy boundaries”, they think a marriage is a relationship between a boundary lover and a boundary resistor. In such a marriage, the boundary lover may not know the exact perspective of the boundary resistor; the boundary lover just hopes that his/her spouse can deal with things the same way as he/she does; but on the other hand, the boundary resistor may attempt to demand more freedom by violating a boundary. And in reality, a boundary lover is often shocked or surprised to find how differently his/her spouse thinks about relationship issues. As his/her spouse oversteps his/her boundary again and again, he/she will naturally think that his/her spouse doesn’t respect him/her.
In normal circumstances, a boundary resistor and a boundary lover can be a loving couple. And maybe they deeply care each other and are genuinely drawn to each other, until boundary conflict arises. Then their good feelings for each other fade away quickly, and negative feelings start to take their place.
The final word on little things that ruin a marriage:
Yes, something a partner did may make a relationship come to an end abruptly, but it is more common that long-term relationships are dying a slow death. Maybe, your marriage also suffers due to neglect of little things that ruin a marriage – some little and customary things you often do may be toxic to your relationship, but you may have never noticed them. If you want to follow a step-by-step guide about how to save your failing marriage life alone, you may go on to watch the presentation below to listen to the opinion of Dr. Lee Baucom, a verified expert who has spent 20+ years on helping couples mend their broken marriages: