Recently, we published a list of 5 big DON’Ts to keep in mind for your marriage. We’re back today with part 2 because, well, bad habits can have as much of an impact on your relationship as good ones.
So, to expand on the first list, here are another 5 habits to avoid if you want to keep your marriage in good shape:
1. Don’t Obsess Over Roles
Gender roles can sometimes have their place in certain relationships, and every couple will embrace different roles (gender or otherwise) as the marriage becomes more routine, but healthy couples remain flexible and don’t concern themselves with whose “job” a particular task might be. Instead, they share the responsibilities of running a household, raising a family, etc., and take care of what they have to, regardless of whether or not it’s their strongest skill or preferred chore.
This could be getting dinner ready, taking out the trash, fixing something minor around the house, getting the kids in bed… anything. Just worry about what needs to get done, not who “should” be doing it.
2. Don’t Try To Read Your Spouse’s Mind
Communication is key in any relationship, and making assumptions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling is basically the opposite of healthy communication. No matter how connected you might feel, you still can’t read each other’s minds. If your spouse seems upset, don’t just assume you know why – ask them!
The same is true about what they might think about a decision of yours, whether or not they’ll want to participate in an activity… really anything at all. It’s always better to ask, and move forward with real information, than it is to think you can read your spouse’s mind and move forward with potentially incorrect assumptions.
Just ask! Communicating will help prevent arguments, confusion, and disappointment in a massive way.
3. Don’t Ignore Finances
As you probably know, money is one of the most common things couples fight about. When financial matters go ignored or overlooked, it leads to big stresses, unwelcome surprises, and ultimately, a great deal of discord in the relationship.
Whether it’s not communicating about major expenses, not making joint decisions, or simply not keeping up with ongoing bills, financial woes keep people on edge. It can affect your ability to enjoy leisure time, and even your ability to maintain basic necessities. As those things start to fall apart, so does the stability and happiness in your marriage. Simply making family finances a priority in your marriage can make a HUGE difference in your ability to be a happy couple.
4. Don’t Nag
We can all be tempted from time to time… If we’re feeling annoyed, if we feel like we’ve asked for the same thing over and over, if we’re having rough day or week… Sometimes we fall into nagging our spouse, but it’s a terrible habit to fall into.
Nagging is essentially pressure and negative feedback. It’s making your spouse feel bad for having not taken care of something, for having not followed through. If you really want your spouse to get something done, encourage them! Words of support and motivation go so much further!
It could be something small like a chore, or something big like finding a new job or managing an illness – regardless, beating someone down makes them either feel defeated (and unmotivated) or resentful (and spiteful)… and neither of those attitudes help people get things done! If, however, you can help your spouse feel confident and energized, they’re much more likely to get things done of their own volition – or at least take your suggestions and requests more readily because you’re offering them in a positive way.
5. Don’t Overshare
Healthy relationships take a little bit of tact and awareness. You can’t simply bombard your spouse with your frustrations about the relationship at the drop of a hat – this will likely only lead to defensiveness, arguments, and lack of resolution.
Similarly, your spouse is not your emotional punching bag, ready for you to just vent about anything and everything whenever you feel like it. They are also a person – with their own concerns and frustrations, their own inner struggles, and their own complaints!
If you need to talk about a problem in the marriage, bring it up calmly and ask your spouse if it’s a good time. When you’re upset about your day at work, try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before you blow up and vent your entire day. It’s important to share with your spouse, and it’s equally important to put any issues on the table so they can be resolved. When doing so, however, make sure you’re taking the other person’s feelings into account.
Sharing is important, oversharing can be a way to cause major resentment in the relationship.
With these 5 tips, as well as the 5 tips from Part 1, you’ve got a good overview of the simple things that can chip away at the quality of a marriage if left unchecked. Take special care to avoid falling into these traps, and if you see your spouse picking up these habits, talk to them about it and do your best to stop them before they do too much damage to your marriage.