While infidelity and lying to your spouse can result in an end to a marriage, there are other, less-obvious behaviors that are just as damaging to a relationship. Unfortunately, many people may not be aware that their actions, no matter how benign or subtle they seem, are slowly killing their marriage.
Common behaviors to be aware of include the following:
- You rarely touch each other. If you have reached the point where you only have “special occasion sex” (anniversaries, birthdays, and vacations), you are well on your way to a sexless and passionless marriage. Although you don’t have to have sex every day, some kind of near-daily sexual interactions can remind each person that they are still wanted. It can be something as simple as an “I love you” note to surprise your spouse, a touch on their back or kiss on their neck. These simple gestures can remind a spouse that you are still passionate about your marriage and your spouse.
- You fail to maintain friendships outside of your marriage. While spending time together as a couple is imperative, you must not let your friendships dissolve. Depending on your significant other for socialization needs can be detrimental to the relationship, since there is no space to learn from others that can be beneficial to your marriage and even enhance it. Therefore, making sure to see friends regularly and have a “boy’s night” or “girls night” on a regular occasion is important for both your friendships and your marriage.
- Your friends have a negative impact. Even though having close friendships is beneficial, the wrong type of friends can be detrimental to your marriage. Whether you realize it or not, your friend’s actions are actively influencing your relationship with your spouse and bad ones actively influence your own habits. If your friend openly complains about their partner or flirt with others behind their partner’s back, then this relationship can be toxic.
- You don’t talk about your relationship. Having engaging and thoughtful communication with your spouse is essential for lasting love. Instead of asking how their day was or the plans for this weekend, try asking deeper and more open-ended questions – such as, “ What is something I can do to make this relationship better?” or “When do you feel the most connected with me?” Come together once a week and talk only about the relationship. That also goes for arguments. It is not uncommon for couples to argue about mundane things, such as taking out the garbage. Although that particular argument is about the garbage, the truth behind the argument, such as “I don’t feel appreciated or supported” is more important. Asking questions such as “What is the argument really about?” are also helpful in maintaining a good relationship with your spouse.
- You don’t help around the house. Studies have shown that couples who do not split chores have less satisfaction in their relationship than couples that divide them. While it may not seem like a big deal early in the relationship, the lack of sharing chores can be a contentious issue down the road. Resentments can develop over time, so it is beneficial to have a discussion early on.
- You feel more like roommates instead of a couple. When you and your spouse reach roommate status, it is important to change up the routine and bring back the fire and passion in the relationship. One way to spend time together is working on a project about which you are both passionate, something that both partners have excitement and energy about.