By Melodie Veldhuizen
You still love each other, but your marriage no longer is the safe place it used to be. Perhaps one or more small habits are busy destroying your once happy marriage. An incident here or there can still be overlooked, but a regular repetition of the same must cause the hazard lights to start flickering. Do you recognise some of them?
- You use work as an excuse to avoid your partner, by staying at the office for long hours or even bringing work home.
- Finances: Only one party manages your financial affairs, or you are dishonest about how money was spent.
- You leave things that matter in abeyance – a sincere thank you, compliment or gesture of loving and caring (such as not saying goodbye properly before leaving home, when you get home, or in the evening before going to sleep).
- Selfishness, like making tea for yourself without asking if he/she would also like a cup, or enjoying a slab of chocolate by yourself.
- You don’t agree on important matters. Each one puts his/her needs and aims first and do not acknowledge those of your partner. You don’t show understanding for each other’s point of view.
- You disregard or forget your partner’s requests or promises to him/her, such as fetching his/her coat from the dry-cleaners.
- The affection between you wanes, or both of you believe you no longer love each other. You are only staying together for the sake of the children.
- Lies or withholding information will damage the relationship.
- Grievances and the injustice your partner caused you years ago are brought up in every quarrel.
- To avoid conflict, you pretend there is no problem, or you postpone discussing the problem as soon as it rears its ugly head.
- Continuous criticism destroys your partner’s self-confidence as well as his/her trust in you, while you are supposed to love each other regardless of your faults.
- You consider yourself to be better than your partner and try to prove it by questioning every decision or action taken by him/her.
- You allow someone else to come between you. It can be a relationship with a third party, but it could be a colleague, friend, your children or your family – anyone who makes too great a demand on your attention, time and congeniality, or whose opinion is more important to you than that of your life partner.
- Handling conflict: You don’t want to find a solution to the problem, but want to emerge from the battle the winner at all cost. You attack your partner with your tongue, humiliates him/her, tarnishes his/her character and refuse to listen to his/her point of view.
- You neglect intimacy or use it as a weapon. Affection and tenderness wane for various reasons. Harboured grievances cause you to want to punish your partner.
- Loss of respect for each other due to incidents from the past.
- Setting conditions so that your partner has to choose between him/her and your parents, best friend, sister, brother or career.
- Addiction to social media, alcohol or drugs, shopping, gambling or pornography.
- You use your partner as a punch bag when you are tired, irritated or stressed, instead of telling him/her what is upsetting you.
- The silent treatment builds a wall between you when one partner is not prepared to discuss the matter. This will not solve the problem.
- Threats to leave your partner creates the impression that you don’t take your commitment to the marriage seriously. It will only push him/her away further. If you threaten one time too many, it might be he/she who packs his/her bags.
A last word
No couple intends for their marriage to fail and no-one wants to be trapped in an unhappy marriage forever. If you can identify one or more of the small habits busy destroying your marriage, make a concerted effort to build up your relationship and hold on to your marriage vows – until death you will part.
Claudia Arp said, “Marriage is a journey, not a destination. It is a lifelong commitment between two imperfect people who love each other.”
Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/9-bad-habits-could-ruin-your-marriage/
Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/relationships/a47694/bad-habits-relationships/