Let’s face it: we all make mistakes in marriage. It’s just a matter of which mistakes and how often.
However, becoming aware of the mistakes you make most frequently can help you make them less. Just being honest with yourself about the areas where you struggle is the first step toward becoming a better spouse and enjoying a better marriage! Whether it’s your tendency to keep score, or failing to be a team player when it comes to parenting the kids, there are ways to fight your natural tendencies and get it right more often. Take a look at the top 10 marriage mistakes and strategies for overcoming them.
1. Taking your spouse for granted.
Remember: your spouse doesn’t have to be here—he chooses to be. And one day he could choose not to be. We’re not suggesting you should live in fear of divorce, but recognize what’s incredible about your relationship: you have chosen one another, and that’s no small thing. Celebrate it and honor it.
2. Keeping secrets.
A marriage is no place for secrets. Even the small ones are a slippery slope, because they help you develop a comfort with holding back on your spouse. Strive to be an open book and ask that your husband to do the same.
3. Putting the kids first.
Your children are super important, but they can’t be at the top of the relationship hierarchy in your life. You should be closest to God, then to your husband, and then to your children. Your children actually benefit more when your marriage is strong, so let go of any guilt you feel about putting their dad first.
4. Letting the romance die.
We know that in a marriage that lasts 40+ years, you’re going to have ups and down in the romance department—and that’s okay. But it does need to make an appearance every now and then. If it’s been a while since you’ve felt those butterflies, be intentional about bringing the romance back for an encore performance.
5. Keeping score.
If you operate in a marriage like an accountant, constantly keeping tabs of who did which task and who screwed up, you’ll make everybody crazy. Make up your mind to give more than your fair share, and your spouse will likely follow suit.
6. Flirting with disaster.
If you’re flirting with anyone besides your spouse, you’re flirting with disaster. Just don’t do it—ever.
7. Getting marriage advice in all the wrong places.
When things are tough in your marriage, you may need some wise counsel.
8. Talking more than you listen.
Understanding another person requires that you listen, and listen hard. Marriage is no exception. Don’t assume that you know what your husband is feeling or what he’s going to say, especially in moments of conflict.
9. Not making time.
Does your spouse have to fight to get on your calendar somewhere between your career, your friends, the kids, and your hobbies? If so, something needs to change. Make time for your spouse, even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to spend it together.
10. Avoiding tough conversations.
Avoiding conflict won’t make the source of it disappear; it will only bury it for a while. Learn how to have tough conversations fairly, with love, and with an eye toward compromise and resolution.
Want to hear a man’s perspective on the topic? Check out Mark Merrill’s 8 Mistakes I’ve Made in Marriage to see what husbands often struggle with and why
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