1) Lack of Intimacy – Intimacy in a marriage includes sex but is not limited to just that. Intimacy is described in the dictionary as “a close familiarity or friendship; closeness”. The basis of a solid marriage is friendship. When couples are unwilling or unable to be vulnerable with each other it stifles intimacy and pulls people further apart. Many think intimacy should just come naturally, but marriage therapists believe that the “closeness” of intimacy is something that must be actively pursued in a healthy relationship. Intimacy takes work and couples who ignore that aspect of marriage risk losing their union.
2) Unforgiveness – It’s probably not a shocker but when couples hold on to the past and let resentment and anger build that is a recipe for disaster. The longer you’re married the more opportunities you have to cause hurt or offense to the person you live with and share everything with. Forgiveness is essential to strong marriages. It means choosing not to hold on to past transgressions and knowing when to stand down in a winless argument. Like famous tv therapist Dr. Phil says, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
3) Avoiding Arguments – It isn’t healthy to be constantly arguing, but it is equally unhealthy to never fight at all. A healthy fight can make room to air out grievances and force communication. It an also be a sign of trust when partners feel safe enough to argue without worrying about one or the other leaving the relationship. Couples who don’t ever argue can end up harboring resentment which leads to bigger issues down the road. A safe, healthy row once in a while makes for a healthy marriage.
4) The Silent Treatment Otherwise known as “demand and withdraw”, this is something a lot of couples do while fighting and it can lead to serious consequences. You may think it is about being mad, but it’s really more about control than anything. When you’re busy controlling your partner you’re not listening to them. Partners who use the silent treatment have worse communication skills than those who don’t, and that greatly diminishes intimacy which is vital in a marriage.
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5) Pornography – Pornography addiction is a very serious and widespread problem in modern marriages, aided by the easy access of the internet. Studies have shown that porn can have the same effect on the brain as alcohol. It can also create unrealistic standards and indifference to one’s spouse. Porn may seem like harmless fun when you’re alone in your apartment on a Saturday night, but being married to a porn addict can carry the same trauma as being married to an alcoholic.
6) Bad in-laws – The Bible famously says in Genesis 2:24 that a man shall “leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one” but what if the leaving part is harder than the cleaving part? Divorce attorneys say bad in-laws are a major cause for divorce. When two adults marry they become family. If their respective families don’t accept the new spouses as part of the tribe and/or continually interfere in private relationship matters it can strain a marriage past the breaking point. There are plenty of examples out there, so choose your mate – and their family – wisely.
7) Putting Your Child Before Your Spouse – Every parent wants the best of everything for their child, but did you know making your children a priority over your partner can actually be a huge detriment to family dynamics? Some family therapists call it Red Carpet Parenting. A stable marriage creates a steady environment for the children. Making children the effective “head of household” can turn the energy and hierarchy of a home upside down. As weird as it sounds, making your spouse a higher priority than your children actually makes for a happier home.