Six Things You're Doing That Are Killing Your Marriage
All long term relationships will have to endure both the good and bad times.
But the hard times can be made even worse when certain behaviours you don't consciously realise are there start to creep into your daily life.
Marriage therapists recognise several key traits that over time can cause a long term relationship to suffer, and you may not even be aware just how much these habits are eroding the base that the marriage was built on.
1) Not Having Friends Outside The Relationship
While spending time together as a couple is important, so too is the need to hang out with your friends.
A night on the town with your friends is great way to give each other some much needed space.
Psychologist Ryan Howes says:
“It’s so important for both of you to build and sustain friendships with others,”
“Through your friends, you can gain other experiences, perspectives and support that may actually enhance your relationship. You have to have confidants outside the relationship.”
2) You Stop Being Intimate
While only having 'special occasion sex' is cause for concern, so too is the lack of passion that stems from simply kissing and cuddling on a regular basis.
Psychologist and couple’s therapist Debra Campbell:
“You don’t have to be having sex every day, but some kind of near-daily sexual or erotic acknowledgement is important in relationships,”
“It might be the slightest touch; it’s not always about orgasms and getting hot and sweaty.”
3) You Don't Do Your Bit Around The House
If only one person is pulling their weight when it comes to cleaning, cooking and general household chores, issues can quickly escalate.
A 2015 University of Alberta study found that couples who didn’t split chores had less relationship satisfaction and less sex than couples who share the load more equally.
Psychologist Ryan Howes again:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the clean one or the messy one, what matters is whether or not the clean partner can flex and the messy partner can clean up once in a while,”
“Resentments can build over time so it pays to have an honest discussion about your priorities regarding the orderliness of your home.”
4) Your Mutual Friends Are A Bad Influence
As highlighted earlier, having time with your friends is important, but so too is making sure you hang out with the right type of friends.
Marriage and family therapist Laura Heck says:
“Your friend’s actions are actively influencing your marriage, whether you realize it or not,”
“In private, do your friends complain or vent their frustrations about their partner? Do your friends flirt or hit on others behind their partner’s back? Bad relationships and boundaries are toxic and are actively at play in changing your own habits.”
5) You Feel More Like Housemates Than A Couple
One of the biggest silent killers is when you feel you're living separate lives, connected only by being under the same roof with your kids and a shared bank account.
Laura Heck recommends:
“When you’ve fallen into the lock-step of living as roommates, you must be very intentional about shaking up your routine and bringing back the fire and passion to the relationship,”
She recommends working on something together.
“It needs to be something both partners have energy and excitement around. Maybe it’s remodeling a home, starting Crossfit together, finally take that RV out on the weekends or learning to cook vegan. Figure out what works for the two of you and then do it.”
6) You Don't Talk About Your Relationship
Occasionally asking each other about how your day was is simply not enough when it comes to communicating effectively.
Couples therapist Liz Higgins suggests:
“Having intentional conversations about your relationship means asking deeper, more open-ended questions: ‘What did we do well at as a couple today?’ ‘What is something I did today to contribute to our relationship?’ ‘What is something I can do for you?’ ‘When did you feel the most connected with or loved by me today?’”
“I encourage the couples I work with to implement time once a week to come together and talk solely about their relationship,”
“Once you start, you’ll notice it often bypasses the need to get defensive, angry or disconnected with one another.”