9 Big Marriage Mistakes Couples Make
I have seen some common themes in marriage problems. Frequently I’ve sat down with couples in turmoil and thought “this could have been avoided had they had different information”. Most couples do the best they can with information they have, but sometimes just don’t know that certain paths have negative consequences. This article is our effort to help couples avoid pitfalls.
1. Being Too Busy With Activities
Prioritize your marriage. Your kids, job, soccer practice, church activities, and exercise are all important, but they should come second to your marriage. Protect your time together. A weekly special time to connect is crucial (e.g. date night).
2. Smothering Each Other
It’s healthy to enjoy activities away from each other. Give each other space to engage friendships and hobbies. Encourage your wife to go on that “girl’s weekend” with her friends. Intentionally spend time away from each other each week to engage your individual interests.
3. Expecting Too Much From Each Other
Expectations need to be realistic. If you expect your husband to work full time, fix everything that breaks in the house, and keep up the yard like your dad, you may be expecting too much. Expecting your wife to cook dinner every night may not be realistic when she has a full time job. Be willing to adjust your expectations.
4. Bringing Up Past Issues in Conflict
Only bring up past issues when they relate directly to a conflict you currently face. I’ve seen many marriage dissolve because one spouse could not move past an already resolved issue. A rule we like to follow is that if the issue occurred over 48 hours ago, it’s an old issue and shouldn’t be brought up. This forces us to deal with issues quickly without letting them stew.
5. Undermining Each Other’s Parenting
This often happens subtly, but children know when it’s present. Support the other parent, even if their style is different than yours. Share disagreements about parenting approaches outside the presence of the kids. Compromise and agree on a parenting strategy together. Read a great parenting book together like Parenting With Love & Logic.
6. Not Engaging Both Sides of the Family Equally
Rotate holidays. Invite both sides of the family to events equally. Resentments between spouses (and families) often build when both sides of the family aren’t given equal attention.
7. Not Standing Up For Your Spouse to Your Parents.
Leaving the nest is rarely an easy process. Many adults are afraid to stand up to their parents. Don’t allow you parents, or your friends, to criticize or mistreat your spouse.
8. No Goals & Vision
Intentionally create the future you want for your marriage and family, or it will never happen. The healthiest couples decide what they want their lives to be like in 5 years and work towards goals together.
9. Poor Boundaries With The Opposite Sex
Affairs usually start through initially innocent relationships that meet unmet emotional needs. Agree upon some basic boundaries around friendships with the opposite sex (Facebook, work lunches, etc.) and these boundaries can preserve your marriage.
Over the years we have heard many excuses from couples. Some say things like “we are too busy for a date”, “my wife’s family is too negative to be around”. Positive change is often hard and the resistance you feel is often a sign you’re heading in the right direction. Take these points to heart and you may avoid some big problems down the road.
Question: Do you agree that these are marriage mistakes? Why or why not? Do you have any other mistakes you would add to this list? We would love to hear about them.