The key to nurturing a healthy marriage lies as much in what you should not do as it does in what you should do. We’ve talked a lot recently about steps you should take, like how to fight fairer and communicate more clearly. Let’s look at the other side of the coin. If you’ve got one of these 5 bad habits, it’s time to break it.
Habit 1: The affair with your phone (and other tech)
We live in a world of constant connectedness. It reminds me of a recent exchange on Facebook. A friend posted, as he often does, “Out to breakfast with my wife.” Another person replied, “Shouldn’t you be talking to your wife instead of posting about it?” When you’re with your spouse, or anyone else for that matter, put the phone away. Focus on the person sitting with you right now.
Habit 2: Peacekeeping
A quest to avoid all disagreement is unrealistic. Consistently biting your tongue and acquiescing to avoid conflict will breed resentment. Critiquing your spouse’s method of folding laundry is not a battle worth having. Feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list and wishing you had more assistance is a dialogue you need to have.
Habit 3: Comparing your spouse / relationship
Have you had one of those “Why aren’t you more like him/her” moments? That trait or exchange you are wistfully eyeing and wishing for in your own life was a single snapshot moment in someone else’s. You’re not seeing their whole reality. Don’t covet what you imagine exists. Step back and focus on what is wonderful in your own relationship with your own spouse.
Habit 4: Venting to your public
Neither your social media status nor your friend’s inbox is the place to release your frustrations with your spouse. Turning your latest frustration into a Facebook post isn’t about releasing what bugs you. It’s really more about amassing a team of folks on ‘your side’ who can validate your feelings. If you’re annoyed with your spouse, tell your spouse.
Habit 5: Overconfidence
Even the healthiest marriages need tending. When things are going good and we’re happily in love with one another, it’s easy to coast. Don’t. Make time to spend together. Talk about the things that make you happy, as well as the things that don’t. Compliment your spouse. Pray for each other. Evaluate your relationship habits and see where you can improve. Your marriage is always a work in progress.
Challenge: What habit do you need to break? What steps will you take to break it? Talk to your spouse and ask for support in making the change.