Physical violence is of course a no-no in any marriage. It’s such an obvious action it doesn’t need to be included in our exploration of marriage sabotage. So here is a look at more subtle but still damaging behavior that is never okay in a marriage.
1. Verbal assaults
Fights can escalate quickly, and going for the jugular to make your point is an easy assist. But calling your spouse names, saying nasty things about them or telling them how poorly they deserve to be treated is absolutely out of the question. It does nothing to help the situation and only serves the aggressor’s ego. Tearing your spouse down will only hurt your marriage in the end.
2. Physical threats
Making threats of violence is also never OK in a marriage. So even though no physical contact is made, using violent threats or implications is bad news for marriages. It also happens to be illegal and is considered domestic violence. Using the promise of bodily harm, destruction of property or other kinds of damage is an attempt to control your spouse. Using your body to physically maneuver, corner and impose upon your spouse without touching them is just as bad.
3. Stranding and detention
Otherwise known as abandonment and imprisonment, controlling your spouse’s environment and depriving them of access to help in an emergency is a big no-no. Stranding and abandonment can include intentionally being left in a remote, unfamiliar or unsafe location without ID, a cell phone or vehicle. Or left holding the bag in a legal or financial debt in which you were supposed to share the payments or responsibilities.
Detention and imprisonment includes restraining your spouse in a location against their will. Being physically locked in a room or closet is one example. Being stranded in your own home or the home of a family member without a phone or vehicle is kind of a combination.
4. Power advantage
Using your faith, customs, culture or traditions to unfairly manipulate, coerce or make demands that solely benefit you are never OK in marriage. Benefitting the marriage using unbiased reminders of the values you vowed to uphold is one thing. Inciting guilt, shame and pressure to conform to what you want is entirely another.
5. Big secrets
Little secrets hiding embarrassing or unflattering information is unfortunately expected in most close relationships. Once revealed, these secrets can encourage partners to grow closer and be more open. But big secrets that have the potential to rip your family apparent are not OK.
Hiding money, lying about losing a job and gambling away rent or mortgage money are the most common financial secrets that threaten marriages. Hiding feelings for an ex, starting an emotional affair or acting on a physical affair are common fidelity secrets. While hiding serious medical information, previous children and previous or current marriages are standard big secrets.
Marriages are full of stress and strife. And sometimes these turbulent emotions boil over into arguments and fights. During these tense times, spouses can often say and do things they regret. Other times a partner can fall into bad habits that go unchecked and need to be brought to light and extinguished. In an attempt to win the battles, some spouses lose the war. Don’t be one of the many who hurt their marriage trying to make a point.