Written by Salina Jivani
No one ever said marriage was easy. Yet when you tie the knot and promise yourself to someone for eternity, never in your wildest imagination can you anticipate all the hurdles, roadblocks and disagreements that will wedge their way between you and your loved one at some point or another.
Though we know that happily ever after isn’t always…well, happy, and that the occasional (and even daily) bickering is inevitable, it’s not okay to ruin your chances of marital bliss by practicing some routine no-nos. Commit one of the below five offenses, and you’re just setting yourself—and your marriage—up to be on the rocks for the long haul.
You play the brutal blame game
Saying “I told you so” is sooo tempting! And it’s especially gratifying when your partner did something wrong because they didn’t listen to you. Come on, we’re human! So yes, if you do this occasionally, we may turn the other shoulder, but making a habit of constantly pinning the blame on your partner for everything and anything that goes wrong is plain wrong, not to mention annoying.
There’s only so much he or she will tolerate of your constant blaming. And after that? Well, they’ll eventually tune you, and your accusations, out. Meaning that soon, your words will fall on deaf ears. Yeah. Picture talking to a wall.
So, if you want those “I told you so’s” to result in actionable improvements in the future where your spouse learns from his or her mistakes, make sure you’re picky about what situations truly warrant blame. And even then, be tactful about how you address the situation (i.e. don’t let the neighbors hear). Because if you don’t, your words will soon lose their impact—and then you can throw any hope of seeing changes out the window.
You fight over menial things
I remember growing up around parents who fought over anything and everything. From who misplaced the grocery receipt to how much more money the other spent. And I saw how money broke apart our family—in the worst ways possible. I vowed that when I got married, money would never be a topic of argument in my household. And for the most part, I’m proud to say it’s not.
Don’t get me wrong. Money’s important, but it’s not the end all and be all of the world. What’s here today won’t be tomorrow. If you’re financially stressed, sit down and try to have a calm discussion about what’s wrong (are you not making enough? Is your spending excessive?) and how you can fix it. Make sure you both come to a compromise about what course of action needs to be taken to remediate your financial woes. If it helps, write it down and take baby steps toward your end goal.
He embarrasses you in public
Sometimes spouses can be…well, embarrassing. Come on. You know what I’m talking about. You go out in public and all of a sudden, to your horror, you witness them have an open-mouth-insert-foot moment, and you can’t help but cringe inside while pasting a tight smile on your face.
We’ve all been there. And that’s okay. But how do you react when your sig-fig says something completely crazy? Do you sit tight and wait till you’re out of public eye to chastise him or do you tear him apart right there in front of everyone? It doesn’t take a genius to guess which of those options is the no-no.
No matter how humiliated you feel, putting your spouse down in public will only negatively impact people’s perception of you both, and probably do more damage to your relationship than your spouse’s goof up (we assume!). But more importantly, it’s going to hurt your relationship with your spouse.
In these cringe-worthy cases, the best thing to do is to laugh off their goof-up, or ignore it and change the topic. Remember: the bigger you make it in front of people, the bigger it’ll be when it’s just the two of you hashing it out.
You don’t talk about your issues
I’m going to go back to the example of my parents (can you tell they had an “ideal” marriage?!). They NEVER talked out their issues. Well…can’t say never. They did all the time—in front of their friends, the neighbors, the world. The rest of the time, they were too busy trying to out-do giving each other the silent treatment. In the early years of their marriage, that silence lasted for just a few hours, then a few years down, several days. And by the time they were filing for divorce nearly 35 years later, they could literally go months without talking and barely notice.
If you’re notorious for giving each other the cold shoulder instead of trying to work through your problems, stop! It takes a lot to put your pride aside sometimes and approach your spouse—even if you both know they’re in the dead wrong. But if you feel your marriage and love are worth the vows you took, make open communication a regular part of your make-up routine (among other amazing practices!). Once you get in the habit of talking to each other instead of going silent and shoving your issues under the proverbial rug until the next big argument, it’ll become easier to do so. And the more you can communicate, the more you can improve and compromise and understand each other. It’s a win-win all around—so why not?!
You never take his side in public
We’ve all been in that awkward situation where you’re asked or put in a position to choose a side between your spouse and your parent. It’s not a pretty place to be (and that’s why someone needs to create tele-transportation—soon!). There may be times when your spouse is in the dead wrong, but how you repeatedly handle situations when it comes to choosing between your spouse and someone else can mean the difference between strengthening your relationship or deteriorating it.
If you constantly side with the other party—even when your spouse is in the wrong—you’re only serving to humiliate them and lose the respect of your relationship in the eyes of your audience. If the other party constantly sees you on the opposite side of the fence from your spouse, it’s likely they’ll see this as a sign that’s it’s okay to continue making you pick sides against him or her. And they might even think it’s okay to bad mouth your spouse to you or in front of you.
Remember that in front of people and in situations where the two of you may be pitted against each other, the way you handle the situation relays a lot about the strength of your relationship. If you show people that you’re a unified front, they’re a lot less likely to try and break you apart. But if you show them you’re already at discord, it’s likely they’ll only serve to drive you further away.
In the end, if your actions feel mean-spirited or don’t give you a warm-fuzzy feeling inside, it likely means that your approach is wrong. Think with a clear head, take a few minutes away from each other and ask yourself how you’d like to be treated by your spouse in a similar situation. It really is just as simple as that…sometimes 😉