Everyone enters into marriage, intending to be a romantic success story!
Then life happens.
Things get busy, careers take off, priorities shift, kids might come into the picture, and both of your attentions are pulled in 100 different directions!
Little by little, habits enter your marriage that have a corrosive effect on your connection and affection for each other.
Suddenly “for better” turns into “for worse” and you start wondering if you were both actually “meant to be”.
Perhaps you have allowed some bad habits into your relationship.
Always know that there is hope! Marriage counselling and personal therapy have brought many couples back from the brink of divorce.
Below are 11 common habits that can lead to divorce.
1.) There is more criticism than encouragement
Do you and/or your spouse constantly criticize each other.
When you sit back, do you smile and think off all the sacrifices and small gestures of care that your significant other has shown to you and your family?
Or do you think about all the frustrating things they have done over the past few weeks?
If you and your spouse have become each other’s biggest critics, you have allowed toxic behavior into your marriage.
You are supposed to be each other’s biggest supporters and encouragers.
Yes, that includes telling each other your honest opinion, but that does NOT include belittling them, criticizing them, and discouraging them.
This behavior is often the beginning of a downward spiral, often ending in divorce.
2.) Focusing Your Attention on “the Kids” instead of your marriage
Children are an amazing part of your life! Busy, but rewarding.
You and your spouse might have the best intentions at heart by putting your children first, but it can take a toll on your marriage.
If your marriage is more of a “co-parenting partnership” than a loving relationship, you are actually doing your children more of a disservice!
You can put so much attention on the upbringing of your children that you forget that your spouse was your first love! What would you do without them?
The greatest gift you could ever give your children is a loving home with loving parents!
Put each other first! Your family will benefit so much more from parents who are happy, then parents who are simply going through the motions of “marriage”.
Go out on real dates! Fulfill each other’s love language. Take vacations ALONE once in a while.
Have a relationship that your kids can look up to one day and say, “I want a marriage like that!”
3.) Always Keeping Score
Offenses are going to happen! You are going to get incredibly annoyed with each other. You are going to argue and disagree on a few things.
But what happens after the situation is past and you’re suppose to move on?
Do you hold a grudge? Do you remind them of what they did – to make them feel bad?
When one of you have said or done hurtful things, there needs to be an apology and there needs to be forgiveness!
True forgiveness doesn’t include throwing it back in each other’s face years after it happened.
“Keeping Score” will turn into a bitterness and resentment problem that can ultimately become a nasty divorce.
Forgiveness takes effort and it is a CHOICE.
Healthy marriages choose to let bygones be bygones. It is powerful!
4.) Not “Feeling Right” About the Marriage Anymore
Your feelings are fickle!
They will lead you down the path of self-destruction and misery if you let them rule you!
There will be times in your marriage where you don’t “feel” like being loving and supportive.
The temptation to be unfaithful to your spouse will also present itself in many different shapes and forms.
“If only I were single right now!” “Man, my spouse is annoying me right now!” “Did I make a mistake by marrying them?”
In your wedding vows you said, “For better or for worse”.
You made a vow to stay committed and faithful to your marriage! It wasn’t a feeling, it was a promise to stay committed!
Staying committed to each other and knowing that you are there for each other through thick and thin will allow for a deeper connection and intimacy to grow – if you allow it!
5.) Making Decisions Without Consulting Each Other
This behavior is disrespectful and harmful to your relationship.
You are suppose to be a team! Teammates consult each other on life decisions, whether it directly impacts the other person or not.
Whether it is a decision about your children, career goals, finances, future planning, attendance at an event, volunteering your time, etc., you should have the respect to thoughtfully consult each other first.
It’s may seem like a small thing, but it can become a very big deal!
6.) Trying To Change Each Other
We’ve heard it over and over again, “Don’t marry someone if you want to change them!”
Trying to change your spouse will only end in frustration and resentment on BOTH sides!
You can talk through disagreements that directly impact your relationship.
But when it comes to little habits, personality quirks, or little differences – let it go!
If you point out to your spouse that you find certain aspects of their personality frustrating, they may start to believe that you don’t love them for who THEY are!
The only person you can change is yourself! You married your spouse for a reason and you need a change of perspective and priorities.
7.) Actually Talking About Divorce Beforehand
In some cases, a prenup is necessary.
But this conversation is not healthy for the future success of any marriage!
Talking about the potential end of your union can have a negative effect on how you see your marriage, whether you realize it in the moment or not!
During the tough times of your marriage, you will find yourself thinking back to your “backing-out” plan and even fantasizing about dating or marrying someone else!
Agreeing to never allow the term “Divorce” into your marriage is actually very healthy – mentally and emotionally.
Instead, discuss what commitment means to you! Couples who are both very committed to each other have a much higher success rate.
8.) Allowing Any Form of Addiction Into Your Relationship
…alcohol, drugs, medication, pornography, etc.
Yes, a porn addiction can ruin your marriage, no matter what modern-day culture likes to tell you.
Wandering eyes and wandering hearts are the only results of allowing this type of toxic fantasy into your marriage.
The first step of physically cheating on your spouse is mental infidelity, a direct result of porn.
9.) Not Being Supportive Of Each Other’s Dreams & Goals
This should be a major discussion before getting married!
“What do you want to do with your life? What are your dreams?”
Although dreams are a wonderful part of life, your spouse’s support should always come first on your priority list.
If your spouse doesn’t support you, sit back and evaluate why.
Are they concerned with your financial security? Do they believe that your dreams are not attainable? Are they scared of an unforeseen future? Are they reacting in a self-serving manner?
If your spouse doesn’t fully back your new dream, don’t allow bitterness to come between you! Be humble and listen to their concerns.
If necessary, change things up a bit, so you can make sure that your family bond remains healthy and intact.
Imagine fulfilling your dreams, but having no one to share them with.
10.) Falling for the trap of “Comparison”
Just scrolling through social media can make you start comparing your marriage to your friends and acquaintances!
Her husband buys her little gifts all the time!
His wife really looks up to him. Mine takes me for granted.
They have so much fun together! Why are we so boring!
Little by little, comparison eats away at your joy. You start to wish your marriage (or spouse) was like someone else’s and you become more and more discontented in your relationship.
If necessary, delete social media. Distance yourself form toxic relationships that encourage comparison. And maybe go to marriage counselling if this is a problem in your marriage.
Comparison will eat away at your marriage until you are so unhappy, you start to think you’d be better off without your spouse.
This bad habit will follow you wherever you go if you allow it into your life.
11.) Making Selfish Decisions
Selfishness is ingrained in all of us!
But marriage is all about self-sacrifice and being a servant to your spouse.
If one of you is sacrificial and the other selfish, this is a recipe for disaster!
To have a successful marriage, you both have to be willing to give up SELF to serve the other person.
Talk through differences respectfully. Don’t allow anger into your discussion about “different priorities and desires”.
If your marriage is all about “ME” over “US”, divorce will eventually be looming on the horizon.
Choose to collaborate and sometimes give in. Putting your spouse’s needs above your own is an art-form. But it will result in a much happier and healthier relationship!