People in love enter into marriage with high hopes for a happy future, but with the divorce rate in the United States at about 50 percent, many couples find their hopes in shatters. Marriages tend to survive when both partners have a deep commitment to the relationship and when they both avoid actions likely to damage the relationship.
Taking Your Spouse For Granted
Failure to recognize your spouse's efforts causes hurt and disappointment. Michael Tobin, psychologist and author, explains on the Aish.com website that taking a spouse for granted stems from an attitude of entitlement. These selfish spouses don't show appreciation for anything their spouses do. They never give compliments and complain often.
Failure to Communicate Clearly
Bad communicators aren't good listeners. They don't pay attention and aren't interested in what their spouses say. They frequently interrupt and second-guess what they think their spouse intends to say. Dedicated spouses communicate openly and honestly. When spouses don't say what they really mean -- saying "yes" when they mean "no" -- trouble often follows.
Broken promises erode trust between spouses. Whether you agree to pick up the dry cleaning and then forget or refuse to follow through with a plan to move to another city, broken promises suggest a lack of commitment to your spouse. This is particularly deadly when you promise to keep a spouse's secret and betray the confidence, according to Laurie Puhn, an attorney and couples mediator writing for Fox News.com.
Bringing up past transgressions during an argument escalates the negativity. Sentences starting with, "you always" and "you never" usually antagonize the other spouse. Making a big deal out of small issues, threatening divorce and dragging family members into your disputes are all recipes for disaster. Name-calling and physical violence are almost guaranteed to end your relationship.
Refusing to Correct Faults
Projecting an attitude that claims, "Take me as I am, flaws and all," demonstrates selfishness. This shows you don't care enough about your partner to make an effort to correct your shortcomings, even when you know your spouse is dissatisfied.
Criticism and Sniping
Criticizing your spouse, especially in front of others, is damaging. If you never give compliments, complain frequently about what annoys you and demand changes from your spouse, the marriage will suffer. Comparing a spouse unfavorably to an ex is particularly harmful.
Lying and Cheating
Good relationships are based on trust, so dishonesty is usually a deal breaker. Lying about past relationships and current finances are particularly damaging to the relationship. Cheating on your spouse is a definite sign of betrayal, especially if you cheat with your spouse's best friend or family member.
Blaming Your Spouse
Immature spouses who don't accept responsibility for their actions usually have problematic marriages. They never apologize for their mistakes and blame their spouses for their shortcomings. They make excuses for their bad behavior and accuse their partners of causing their unhappiness.
Physical intimacy binds partners together. Denying this aspect of marriage can erode the foundation of your relationship. It also increases the likelihood of your partner seeking a physical relationship with someone else.
Couples who don't engage in fun activities deny themselves the opportunity to bond more deeply. Keeping your life completely separate from your spouse and cultivating new time-consuming interests that exclude your spouse are harmful to the relationship. It is important for couples to set aside time to be alone and focus on each other. Find opportunities to laugh together.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.