Remember when you got married, and you promised to love and live with your partner forever? Sometimes, that's a whole lot easier said than done. These days, the majority of marriages come apart, and a major reason this happens is because one partner simply cannot abide the behavior and/or habits of the other. In case you're wondering what those habits might be, here is a breakdown of the small, everyday habits that can break a marriage to bits.
Nobody enjoys being compared unfavorably to another person, especially when that other person is their spouse's ex. A wife who complains to her new mate that he's not as funny, talented or as romantic as her ex may cause him to look elsewhere for acceptance and admiration. If you constantly think things like “Oh, my ex was so talkative, and my current spouse barely speaks,” you could be sowing the seeds of dissatisfaction.
Comparisons don't have to be vocalized to cause irreparable damage to a marital relationship. A husband who makes a big show of admiring another woman's appearance in front of his wife may be doing more than “just looking.”
Intimacy outside the marriage
When a person is newly in love, they generally turn to their partner with every little bit of news. When they hear a funny story or witness an amazing antic, they can't wait to tell their better half all about it. When they get a job promotion or other good news, their mate is the first one to know. If something sad occurs, they find comfort in their spouse's embrace.
If one partner pulls back from that intimacy and begins sharing their most important news with someone else, the marriage could be in trouble. If both partners find it easier to share their secrets with a “facebook friend” than with the person who put a ring on their finger, they may be figuratively or literally on their way out the door. A partner who would rather text the details of their day to a cell phone confidant than hurry home and share the info with their mate is showing his or her dissatisfaction with the marriage in a not-so-subtle way.
The advent of cell phones and the internet changed the way that spouses cheat. A husband who would rather sit in bed and scroll Snapchat flirts than cuddle with his own wife at night weakens the marital bond in a way that might not ever be repaired.
Fighting too much, fighting unfairly or not fighting at all
Every couple has disagreements. The thing that matters most is not what you disagree about, but the way that you handle it.
Relationship experts at the University of Florida Counseling and Wellness Center remind us that even the most loving couples occasional find themselves on opposite sides of the fence, especially when making important decisions. If the easy give-and-take of a honeymoon couple evolves into one person making all the decisions for them both, that's a habit that can tear a union asunder.
Partners who become instantly enraged instead of calmly listening to –and actually hearing– their partner's side of an issue do a relationship no favors whatsoever. Unhappy spouses who bring up unrelated issues in an effort to “win” an argument may be setting themselves up to leave for good. When one mate cannot ever let the other be right, it may be time to speak to a legal professional about drawing up divorce papers.
“Forgive and forget” is not just an ancient adage; it's also a philosophy that can hold a marriage together. When one or both partners keeps a running tally of everything the other has done wrong, especially when they haul out their list of grievances at every chance, a once-blissful couple can come right apart.
It used to be that a divorce was a difficult thing to obtain. One partner had to prove the infidelity or cruelty of the other. Today, a couple who decides to call it quits can do so anytime they want. If you're sure your marriage is done, speak with an experienced family law attorney without delay.
James Parker is a relationship therapist who works with couples in long-term relationships and marriages to resolve conflict. He also writes about relationships and making a marriage work, his articles appearing online.