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10 Harmless Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

It’s no secret that marriage is not all sunshine and rainbows. There will be beautiful, romantic moments, and there will be difficult, testing moments. I don’t consider myself to be an expert on marriage, but I do know that it takes work, and it’s so worth it. Recognizing how we can better honour our spouses is huge!

Heard of The Five Love Languages? Find out what your love language is by taking the quiz.

Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

1. Avoiding conflict

Fights happen. This is part of married life. You are two humans living together, and you are bound to argue about something. Avoiding conflict is never a healthy thing. Learning how to resolve conflict immediately helps to foster a loving environment in the home.

2. Resentment

Resentment is what happens when conflict is avoided or not handled properly. “Ugh, this isn’t worth the conversation” is a cop-out, and it’s probably going to lead to negative feelings towards your spouse. It’s easy to think “You did this thing to me, and I’ll never get over it”, but you actually need to resolve conflict, forgive and move on.

3. Criticism

You know that awful feeling you have when your boss constantly points out the things you do wrong? Imagine making your spouse feel that way. Not pretty. Nitpicking (out loud or in your head) will make you only see your partner’s faults, when you should be learning to grow in compassion.

4. Fighting to win

Resolving conflict isn’t about winning the fight. If one of you “wins”, nobody wins. Conflict resolution in marriage is all about team work and an “Us against the world” mentality. Focusing on “being right” and not resolving the issue won’t make the situation right.

5. Pride and selfishness

It’s alright to be the first one to say “sorry”, even if you don’t think you started the fight. Learn to put your pride aside for the sake of the one you love.

6. Unforgiveness

You know the principle “Love keeps no record of wrong”? Your spouse is going to offend you, and you’ve got to forgive and move on.

7. Disrespect

Never ever ever disrespect your spouse. In private and in public, your job is to make your spouse look like a hero. Couples who tease each other often carry subtext underlying the teasing, and this isn’t a good way to speak of your spouse.

8. Busyness

Stop blaming your busyness and start prioritising date nights and other activities that foster intimacy.

9. Addiction to anything

Putting your shopping habit or favourite TV show ahead of your spouse? This isn’t healthy for you or your marriage.

10. Commenting on the attractiveness of others

Even the most beautiful model in the world would hate to hear her husband commenting on other women. Make the effort to praise your spouse solely.

I’ve said these habits are harmless, because they won’t kill you, but if you don’t change them, you could destroy your marriage. Make the effort to create a loving environment in your marriage.

Related: This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

This post is a little different to the things I typically write about (how to plan your wedding and how to be an epic wife), but it’s been on my heart for a while now. In the two short years I’ve been married, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about marriage. Most of these jokes were shared in the context of a wedding (crazy, right?).

If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, I’d like to share with you why I think we should take marriage more seriously and stop joking about it [and how we can start speaking about marriage in a better way].

Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos

Weddings are a celebration of marriage

As a former wedding coordinator I’ve heard my fair share of marriage jokes shared in wedding speeches. Here’s one that really makes me cringe:

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but in the end you’ll wish you had a club and a spade. 

I see what you did there, but I really don’t think that’s funny. Jokes like this teach us that the happiest day of your life is your wedding day, and that afterwards it’s all downhill. We learn that spouses should come to resent each other to the point of wanting to hit each other over the head with a club. Sound pretty? Not really.

If you are tasked with the job of MCing a wedding or delivering a wedding speech, please do us all a favour and avoid tasteless wedding jokes. You are not speaking at a 21st, so don’t think of this as the perfect time to roast your best friend. Use this as an opportunity to honour your friend, to share lighthearted (and funny) stories that make him or her look great. If you are married, tell the bride and groom how much they have to look forward to. Encourage them that marriage is a beautiful thing.

Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC

Mutual submission is beautiful

Hear me out. I consider myself to be a bit of a feminist. I believe household chores should be shared. I believe that women are strong and often shushed. My husband brings this out of me and encourages me to speak my mind, and its awesome. That said, I also believe in submission. Mutual submission.

This is my all time worst wedding joke and I’ve heard it many times:

New husband, put your hand on top of your new wife’s hand. Take this moment in and remember it forever, because this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand. 

Essentially what you are saying is that your friend’s wife is going to boss him around and nag him all the time. Jokes like this feed the lie that we’ve been told by the media: wives run the household and tell their husbands what to do. In return, husbands resent their wives for taking control. Sound like a lovely picture of marriage? Nope. But this is what we’re constantly sold in movies and TV shows, and now in wedding speeches.

Mutual submission is about trusting each other. I trust my husband with my life, my finances, my heart and my future children. I don’t feel the need to nag him and boss him around, because I trust him to do a good job. He shouldn’t have to feel like I have the “upper hand”, because that is not what marriage is about.

Related: How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

Spouses should honour one another in private and in public

Friends, you will not hear me joking about my husband and moaning about him. You won’t hear stories about his embarrassing habits and you won’t hear me mocking him in any way. Why? Because he’s my husband and best friend and I simply won’t dishonour him.

To my unmarried friends: don’t encourage your married friend to complain about her husband. This is never okay.

Your husband should never be the butt of your jokes. Ever. Instead of joking about him, find ways to praise him in front of other people.

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

To help you out, here are a few ways you can speak of marriage and spouses in a way that honours and cherishes them:

  1. Tell your unmarried friends how beautiful marriage is. Married friends, share stories about the blessing of marriage.
  2. Be wise about who you confide in. Maybe a friend could provide a fresh perspective on something specific, but that can be discussed without publicly flogging your partner. Choose someone you trust before entering into a conversation like this.
  3. Spend time with people who already honour each other in marriage,  and their habits will rub off on you.

Related: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Related: Nine Prayers To Pray For Your Husband

23 Things To Do Before You Get Married

You probably have a wedding checklist of all the things you need to do to put together your dream wedding, but have you considered that you should also be planning for marriage? Today’s blog post will help you do just that!

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  1. Spend time with each other’s family – eat together, play games together, get to know each other.
  2. Talk about your dreams – career goals, where you’d like to live and what hobbies you would like to try.
  3. Read a book about marriage together and discuss it.
  4. Hangout with your friends. You will need them after the wedding.
  5. Talk about money, budgets and who will be in charge of your finances.
  6. Talk about traditions and celebrations that are important to you – for example, what are your expectations for Valentine’s Day and your birthday?
  7. Discuss your views on divorce? Do either of you believe that there are reasons to get divorced? What would cause you to throw in the towel?
  8. Talk about kids. Do you want any? How many do you want? When do you want to start? Is adoption an option?
  9. Fight. And learn how to handle conflict.
  10. Talk about intimacy. Past sexual partners? Abuse? Do you watch porn?
  11. Ask your trusted friends to be honest with you about your relationship. And listen.
  12. Have a garage sale and get rid of anything you don’t want to take into your new life together.
  13. Make a list of free and cheap dates you could go on together all year round.
  14. Take the Five Love Language assessments and talk about your results.
  15. Talk about church and your spiritual beliefs.
  16. Discuss politics. Do you have similar views? Is there anything that could cause serious arguments in future?
  17. Ask your parents if they see any red flags.
  18. Talk about your “normal” with each other. When do you like to wake up each day? What do you do when you get home from work?
  19. Talk about laundry. Do you fold or hang your clothes? Everything goes in the dryer or nothing goes in the dryer?
  20. Find out your favourite and least favourite meals. Do you like variety or eating the same thing each week?
  21. Talk about social activities. How often do you like to see people? What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing with your friends?
  22. Walk around the neighbourhood your partner grew up in and hear their childhood stories.
  23. Don’t go into debt for your wedding. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and conflict this way.