5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want To Stay Married – Part 1

We spend a good deal of time going over what types of behaviors and habits make for stronger marriages. Things like spending quality time together, practicing communication skills, understanding the importance and methods of forgiveness…

All of these are important components of maintaining the health of your marriage. This time, however, we’re looking at something a little different –what NOT to do.

These practices can chip away at your marriage and poison the way you think about yourself, your spouse, and the relationship. If you want to stay happy and connected, follow this list of don’ts:

1. Don’t Play The Victim

When things aren’t at their best, take responsibility for your own thoughts, actions, and mood. If you cast yourself as the victim, you paralyze yourself from taking steps to change the situation. Your life and happiness are what you make them, not simply the product of what happens to you.

Self-pity and blaming others (especially your spouse) doesn’t help to make things any better, simply because they prevent you from taking action for yourself.

2. Don’t Criticize

Focusing on the negative aspects of your partner, your situation – even the room you’re in – can have unintended consequences. This negativity starts to become normal, and eventually you end up with a pessimistic view of yourself, your marriage, even the whole world! This makes you more irritable, harder to satisfy, and on the lookout for problems and things to complain about at every turn.

Don't do these things if you want a happy marriage!
Don’t do these things if you want a happy marriage!

Instead, try the opposite – look for the good in every situation, focus on your favorite things about your spouse, and try to spin irritating situations into positive lessons.

3. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

We’re all going to have times when we are too emotional, stressed, making mistakes, doing embarrassing things, etc., but if we can’t shake them off or laugh at ourselves later, they can become a long list of damaging experiences that chip away at self esteem – and ultimately drive a wedge between you and your spouse.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves or own up to our mistakes (without beating ourselves up too much), that low self-esteem can affect the way your spouse sees you, the amount of joy you’re able to bring to the relationship, and even your ability to be happy on a day-to-day basis.

We all make mistakes, we’re all human, and forgetting how foolish we can all be is a sure fire path to stress and unhappiness.

4. Don’t Complain About Your Marriage To Others

No one is going to truly understand what your marriage is like except for you and your spouse. Complaining to friends and family is asking for biased advice, damaging people’s opinions of your spouse, and enabling you to avoid dealing with problems directly.

The ins and outs of your marriage should stay private, and if you have an issue – talk to your spouse! There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice if you’re in trouble or don’t know how to proceed, but don’t make a habit of using your family or friend time to complain about your marriage. You’ll also be hurting your own perception of the relationship, and those opinions will be reinforced by the people you complain to – even if they are just trying to empathize.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

No two marriages will be exactly alike. We all have to figure out the nuances of the dynamic we share. Additionally, what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story of another couple’s relationship. Instead of comparing your marriage to others (usually the ones you deem to be “better” than your own), look to making yours the best it can be.

This type of comparison is not just unrealistic; it’s also unfair to your spouse as well. It can make you both feel insecure about yourselves, and about the relationship you share. Instead of making comparisons, take note of what seem to be good ideas or good practices, and try to incorporate them into your marriage.

Make your decisions with confidence, be proud of each other, and don’t let the illusion of some “better” marriage make you doubt your own.

Take great care to avoid these bad practices, and you can prevent your marriage from spiraling into negativity. So much of how we treat each other (and how we think of ourselves) comes from having a positive outlook, the courage to tackle issues as they arise, and taking responsibility for how we think and feel. Stay positive and make the most of your marriage!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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16 comments

mackenzie 7 years ago

my husband and I have been together 10 years, married for 8, have two beautiful children and have had good years. I'm 27, him 30. I am unhappy. It has been progressively worse starting about 3 years ago. It got to the point where my once loving almost annoyingly so husband became miserable to live with. It got the worst when I went back to work and he had to start taking care of the kids more, and helping more with housework. I begged him to go to a counselor, he refused, stated he knew his problem was his job and the area we lived (military so we move often) and figured once we moved he'd be better. I tried, I really did, but he was gone, done, was set in his mind set.

mackenzie 7 years ago

my husband and I have been together 10 years, married for 8, have two beautiful children and have had good years. I'm 27, him 30. I am unhappy. It has been progressively worse starting about 3 years ago. It got to the point where my once loving almost annoyingly so husband became miserable to live with. It got the worst when I went back to work and he had to start taking care of the kids more, and helping more with housework. I begged him to go to a counselor, he refused, stated he knew his problem was his job and the area we lived (military so we move often) and figured once we moved he'd be better. I tried, I really did, but he was gone, done, was set in his mind set.

bioguy 7 years ago

My wife wants to separate. We have been married almost 29 years. Two grown kids and one and a half yr old grandson. My wife has been saying we are not connecting. She started a new career a few years ago after going back to school. I guess her life has gotten more exciting and interesting.

bioguy 7 years ago

My wife wants to separate. We have been married almost 29 years. Two grown kids and one and a half yr old grandson. My wife has been saying we are not connecting. She started a new career a few years ago after going back to school. I guess her life has gotten more exciting and interesting.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Bioguy, you both need to spice things up and remember why you married. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/reconnect-feel-close/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Bioguy, you both need to spice things up and remember why you married. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/reconnect-feel-close/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi MacKenzie, here is some advice on how to save your marriage alone - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/how-to-save-your-marriage/get-husband-wife-checked-back-marriage/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi MacKenzie, here is some advice on how to save your marriage alone - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/how-to-save-your-marriage/get-husband-wife-checked-back-marriage/

Brenda 7 years ago

I have MS, am confined to a wheelchair, and I have reason to believe my husband is being unfaithful. We have been married for 25 years. In addition to working full time in a demanding and stressful job, he also is my caregiver at times and does the majority of the work around the home. I try to do what I'm able and even things that are somewhat difficult, but he says he would prefer to do everything. He is a wonderful man and is attentive to my needs, but I dream of having a marriage that is good for both of us. Please help.

Brenda 7 years ago

I have MS, am confined to a wheelchair, and I have reason to believe my husband is being unfaithful. We have been married for 25 years. In addition to working full time in a demanding and stressful job, he also is my caregiver at times and does the majority of the work around the home. I try to do what I'm able and even things that are somewhat difficult, but he says he would prefer to do everything. He is a wonderful man and is attentive to my needs, but I dream of having a marriage that is good for both of us. Please help.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Brenda, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you both. You two are going to need to sit down and talk. He needs to be honest if he is overwhelmed. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/the-importance-of-honesty/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Brenda, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you both. You two are going to need to sit down and talk. He needs to be honest if he is overwhelmed. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/the-importance-of-honesty/

Sylvia Irizarry Pinela 7 years ago

Hi I've been married for 31 years ensure we had our ups and downs he says that we don't communicate battery time comes home he's tired so I'm I leave them alone cuz he falls asleep but he says we don't communicate as much I love him so much I don't know what to do . I'm planning to go back to school you trying to pick myself up be strong to put both my feet on the ground like you said I'm trying to save up some money so I can buy your videos I want my marriage to work

Sylvia Irizarry Pinela 7 years ago

Hi I've been married for 31 years ensure we had our ups and downs he says that we don't communicate battery time comes home he's tired so I'm I leave them alone cuz he falls asleep but he says we don't communicate as much I love him so much I don't know what to do . I'm planning to go back to school you trying to pick myself up be strong to put both my feet on the ground like you said I'm trying to save up some money so I can buy your videos I want my marriage to work

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Sylvia, set aside time just for the two of you. Make a regular date night, or try a new hobby together. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/grown-apart-how-fix-marriage/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Sylvia, set aside time just for the two of you. Make a regular date night, or try a new hobby together. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/grown-apart-how-fix-marriage/