Marriage has never been easy.
There are many factors that affect the success and longevity of marital relationships. Happiness is a conscious choice, as is feeding, nurturing, and sustaining a blissful marriage. This requires work and maintenance every day.
Here are the six main things that can ruin your relationship. Though they may seem simplistic, the little things sometimes lead to a relationship’s undoing.
1. Taking your Partner for Granted
When you take your wedding vows, you pledge a lifetime of love, devotion, and care. Once you exit the honeymoon phase, it is very easy for even the happiest relationship to become stale. This is especially true if you begin to take your partner for granted or fail to appreciate the qualities you initially fell in love with.
There are many ways to show gratitude, even on a small scale. Start by mastering the basics: saying “Thank you” and recognizing the little things, like when you come home to a clean house or your husband fulfills an item on the “honey-do” list.
Reciprocation is the golden rule: do things for your spouse that you would like them to do for you.
2. Talking in a Condescending Tone or “Down” to your Spouse
Condescension is a relationship slayer because it suggests you are not on the same page.
Give the other person the benefit of the doubt or preface with, “You may already know this but…” It’s an easy trick that immediately takes some of the bite out of your tone and makes a big difference in how you come across.
Bottom line: It is not what you say but how you say it!
3. Hearing but Not Listening
Hearing is a physiological response, but listening implies active engagement and attention. If your partner is fired up about something and your only response is “uh huh” or “yeah”, you’ve already messed up.
Admittedly there are times to avoid conversations, like in the middle of the Super Bowl or when your spouse is clearly engrossed in something else, but they deserve to be listened to 100% any other time.
Marriage expert Dave Willis sums it up best when he says, “Taking the time to truly listen to someone can communicate our love and respect even more than our spoken words.”
4. Neglecting your Appearance
This may seem superficial, but the effort you put (or don’t put) into your appearance is often an accurate representation of your inherent values and attitude toward your relationship.
When you met, you looked one way; you were both slimmer, trimmer, and put effort into your appearance. Now a few years (or many) in, you are older, busier, might have children, and other responsibilities that compete for your time.
Make sure that maintaining your appearance remains a top priority, not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for your general health and sense of well-being. You want to keep their attention on you. Looking and feeling your best is one of the most effective ways to do that.
5. Maintaining Your Own Interests
You are a couple, so shared hobbies and activities offer a chance to reinforce your bond. However, it is equally important to have your own interests. Doing things on your own keeps things fresh, gives you something to talk about, and helps avoid boredom and frustration with the routines of daily life.
6. Refusing to Apologize (Especially When You are Wrong)
Mutual respect is critical in every relationship, but especially in a marriage. Respect can be shown in many ways. The most direct way is to apologize and show remorse when you are wrong. Society tends to view apologies as a sign of weakness, when in fact, they require great strength.
If you want to keep your marriage intact, learn how to apologize or it may cost you your relationship.
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