Some relationships live on forever, and some remain a great mystery on why they bombed. When the butterflies in the stomach begin to fade in a relationship, you know it's time for business and for hard work. But the tough part is accepting this assignment in a marriage. We walk into a relationship with our blinders well fastened on. By the time we reflect, the relationship could be damaged by poor habits that we've developed. Before you know it, you don't know what happened to the relationship. Marriage isn’t always about feeling good and it takes a ton of practice to get things right even when we think we're doing everything precisely. If you want to see your marriage make it, it needs to come from you. Take ownership of your faults and how you're impacting the relationship in a negative way. This doesn't need to be the end result. Before things take their toll and before there is a blowout, we need to correct our course. Recognize how you're ruining your marriage and how you can mend it.
You shut down.When you get mad, you may shut down and stop talking. In this case, this is the only thing you know to do during a conflict because you never were able to self-soothe. This is considered stonewalling in a relationship and it happens when a partner is psychologically or physiologically bewildered. But it doesn't finish there, you could be giving the silent treatment to get the person to bend to your will. A successful relationship needs to have people talking about their feelings and ideas to make it work. "When you choose to stay silent, the relationship is doomed," Audrey Hope, a relationship expert, explained in an interview with Red Book. Choose to not shut down when the opposition rises and override feelings causing you to clam up during a disagreeable conversation.
You don't forgive.Most of us don't want to forgive, even with small annoyances. When you're with someone for a long time, there is a tendency to not forgive as often as you should. This begs the question: Do you ever apologize? You might not and by holding onto the offenses, resentment will also grow along with it. After some time, you start to have outbursts of anger because you simply didn't forgive and let it go. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's liability, you overlook the act. People make mistakes and if you can't let it go, you will never be happy and neither will the relationship.
You're selfish.Philippians 2:3-4 reminds us to "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Be honest if you are the selfish one in the relationship. Yes, we all are vulnerable in this area, but perhaps you're on the higher end of the spectrum. Maybe you both deal with self-regard and if you can get real and talk about your weaknesses, you can begin to alter it. Start thinking of your spouse's needs for a day. Start practicing this, and you will realize how narrow you may be. You can improve this by making the decision to not be self-centered and sticking with it.
You're cynical.Being negative during a course of the relationship will damage a person's self-esteem. If you're always being critical and never uplifting, you're hurting your spouse. "When one partner usually looks at the downside of every situation, complains, and focuses on every little thing that isn't right instead of highlighting what is good, and/or anticipates that something won't go well," Toni Coleman, Ph.D., said. The aftermath is that the person receiving the negativity will resent you because you're constantly making them feel inadequate and it will come to a point where they will blow up at you, and perhaps demand that you separate. Negativity is hard to mistake, the relationship will mirror it and so will people's attitudes.
You're not spending quality time together.Start spending valuable time together. No, we're not talking about taking the baby to the petting zoo, or you riding in the car together to get your weekend Starbucks. For real, make an effort to spend quality time together because life is chock-full of distractions and you will sail apart. Take a day trip, a weekend or a few hours to spend together to have romance and fun. Take a scenic boat ride, go to an amusement park or visit a cozy inn. Enough of the small talk at dinner too, it's not enough and quality time is not watching the football game or a reality cooking show. You might have to plan it and push yourselves to get out of the house, and if this is the case, you absolutely are required to go.
You made them your best friend.
You can't make your spouse your bestie. This adds too much pressure to the relationship and you need a life outside of the union. Having too much focus on the relationship will cause someone to invest all of their energy into one person and this is not healthy or wise. You can't discredit that having your spouse as a friend doesn't have value, but they can't be the entire universe. You need diversity in your friendships and in your life. Encourage each other to have friends outside the marriage. Friends allow us to remain grounded and help us keep our identity in addition to being a spouse.
We all want to remain out of the lawyer's office and to do so, we need to break the bad habits that we created over the years. By taking responsibly, letting go of grudges, utilizing forgiveness and by showing our spouse they matter, there is a good chance that you won't be making an appointment anytime soon.