Is a big wrecking ball whacking away at your marriage? Or maybe it’s a small wrecking ball that’s doing every bit as much damage. Either way, just as a wrecking ball will eventually bring down a building.
You might not think you’re sabotaging your marriage. But taking a closer look at your attitudes and actions may reveal ways you tear down the relationship that holds your family together.
1. You Keep Score. Few things create tension in a relationship like keeping score. Whether it’s the positive kind (reminding your spouse of all you’ve done to make the money, keep the home or care for the kids) or the negative kind (dragging out your spouse’s past mistakes), it creates an atmosphere where resentment thrives. True love is doing and caring for others because you want to, and demanding nothing in return.
2. You Keep Secrets. If there’s anyplace in the world where there is no room for secrets, it’s between a husband and a wife. All relationships are built on trust, and hiding things from one another erodes that. Covering your tracks financially, or with regard to where and with whom you’re spending time is destructive.
3. You Keep Up with the Joneses. In our consumer-driven world, this may be one of the greatest threats to marital peace. The desire to acquire more and more begins to set the agenda for every area of life. It usually goes something like this: we want the bigger house, so we have to work more hours. The long work week leaves everyone tired and stressed out, lacking patience for one another or the children. The spending finally reaches a point where our incomes can’t cover it, no matter how hard we work, and our financial house begins to implode. We point fingers in desperation to try to assign blame for the predicament we’re in…
4. You Keep Talking. Few of us realize the power of our words. We’ve heard enough pop psychology in recent generations to know that we’re supposed to affirm and build the self-esteem of our children, so we’re thoughtful about the ways we praise and correct them. But what about your husband? Just because he’s a big boy doesn’t mean that he’s immune to the sharp edges of your words.
And even if we’re not being harsh or critical, sometimes we just need to be quiet. Many wives complain that their husbands don’t communicate enough. Maybe he’s just waiting for an opportunity, but you’re filling up all the dead air with your chatter. Try listening more than you speak, and choose your words carefully when you do.
5. You Keep Draining Him Dry. No, this one’s not about money. It’s about making your spouse completely responsible for your contentment. We were designed as spiritual beings with a need for a relationship with God. That relationship is supposed to provide the foundation of our emotional fulfillment. Making your spouse responsible for filling that hole in your heart will wear him out in a hurry. No person can do that for you.
So if you’re unhappy, take a long look in the mirror. Your lack of a spiritual life may be what’s missing. Maybe it’s time to let him off the hook, and seek some peace from a higher power.