There are some habits in life that may seem harmless, but over time, they can lead you down a path to someplace you did not expect. The following 4 threats are not obvious; they are something you probably do every day and do not realize, but if you are not careful, they can be real threats to your marriage.
Paying attention to things that don’t matter
In today’s world, there are a lot of distractions. Things that really aren’t important, but take our attention away from what is. Video games, social media, TV, cell phones, iPads, whatever it may be, it is easy to give our attention to those things than our own spouse. Little by little we can lose that connection that makes our marriage so sweet and important to us. Make it a point to put electronics away when you’re together. Make an effort to talk to your spouse every day, even if it’s about nothing. Become aware of how much time you are actually spending on your device, especially when your spouse is around. Get perspective on what is really important in your life, and decide if you are truly devoting the time needed to make those areas thrive.
Criticizing one another
You may think you are helping improve one another by giving constructive criticism, or pointing out someone’s flaws, but it can definitely backfire on you. Be careful what you say, how often you “give feedback” and how you say it. As humans, we should want to improve ourselves. We should be open to taking criticism, and be working on ourselves every day, but too much criticism is destructive.
If you only hear criticizing from your spouse, it can start to tear you down. You may think you are not good enough, that your significant other only sees the mistakes you make, and that you cannot do anything right. If you are the one who is constantly criticizing, make a marked effort to stop. Give compliments. Point out something amazing your spouse has done that day, and make sure you remind them how much you love them daily.
Comparing your life to other’s
In today’s world, we can get a very jaded view of what our lives should be like. We see daily what other people are doing through reality TV, social media, and advertisements and it makes us not value what we have. This is true not only with material possessions, but with personal achievements as well. When our best friend from high school can’t seem to quit praising her amazing job, it makes us question our own career choices, and perhaps feel we are a failure. When your college roommate just bought her dream home, it can make us resent our own situations, and feel like we are doing something wrong in our own lives because we are not at that point yet. It is worse when it comes to relationships.
People usually do not post about the fight they just had with their spouse or put up a list of annoying habits their significant others has on their Facebook page.
What we do see is a very one-sided view of their relationship. We see all the fun pictures, all the mushy love notes to each other, and the praise for their spouse. It is okay to talk about your spouse on social media, it may even strengthen your relationship, but do not let other people’s posts lead you to compare your relationship with theirs. No one is perfect, no matter how it appears. Stop comparing your life, your spouse, and your current situation to other people. It will just lead to negative feelings about yourself, and possible resentment towards your spouse.
Spending too much time apart
It may not be intentional, and you may not even notice it at first, but if you are spending too much time apart from your spouse, it can be detrimental to your marriage. It might be something you cannot help, like a job, being in school, or having some family issues that take you away from each other. The problem is you start to get used to doing your own thing. You get more used to being apart, than being together. All the work you did your first couple years of marriage when you were learning to live together 24/7, is getting undone. You start missing out on those little moments together that mean so much.
If you continue spending more time apart than together, it may cause you to drift apart, and threaten your marriage. It may be hard, but make the necessary changes to stop being apart. Travel with your spouse. Change jobs. Get on a different shift. There are times in our lives when we may be pulled in different directions, and there is nothing we can do about, just make sure that it is temporary. Six months, a year-perhaps, but much longer and it can begin to threaten your marriage.
All of these acts can start out very innocently. We may not even know what we are doing can lead to something bad, and that is the problem. We need to be aware of these little things that can lead to problems in the future. It takes a daily effort of managing your time, recommitting to your marriage, and being thankful for the things you have, to make your marriage successful.