Toxic marriage habits can create the illusion for some that their current partner isn’t the right person for them. In some cases, this might be the truth. In other cases, however, the fact might be that eliminating these toxic habits could eliminate many relationship “issues,” thereby improving (or even saving) a flailing partnership.

Your relationship with your partner exists as an entity separate from each of you. Just like individuals have ups and downs, so do marriages. Just as with your body, whatever you “feed” your relationship will be reflected in its overall health. If you want to eliminate dis-ease and negativity, purge your relationship of these 10 toxic marriage habits:

1. The failure to express appreciation for your partner.

We all crave validation and acknowledgment. Most of us want to hear it from the person we love the most: our husband or wife. Lack of positive expression in our partnerships makes people feel as though they are being taken for granted. After months or years of feeling unappreciated, it is not uncommon for someone to stop “trying” to please their partner or to look for appreciation elsewhere.

Say, “Thank you,” “I love you,” and, “I appreciate you,” regularly.

2. The failure to support the dreams of your partner.

People often have fond memories of their relationship’s infancy. During the dopamine-infused newness of a courtship, people talk about their dreams, all of which seem magical. Unfortunately, when the “hot and heavy” wears off, reality hits.

People begin to see the world and their partners more critically. Individuals forget how dreams are precious and that they must be treated with care. Partners tear down the hopes and ideas of their beloved other.

This is painful, and it is damaging. Suppression of a person’s dreams could be evidenced by lack of expression in the relationship. Coincidentally, that is the next toxic marriage habit on this list.

3. Lack of expression in and about the relationship.

It should go without saying that communication is a must in every marriage. Without being able to articulate fears, injuries, hopes, and desires with one another, partners become disconnected. Individuals should allow one another the freedom to express themselves without constant fear of judgment, drama or conflict. The free flow of ideas and communication is the circulation that gives your relationship life.

4. The absence of self-confidence and self-love.

The healthiest relationships are borne of two secure, confident and aware individuals. When one or both people in a marriage suffer from a lack of self-love, jealousy and insecurities often manifest in the relationship. These two things are marriage habits that are potentially deadly for any union. If you want to eliminate jealousy and insecurity, focus on loving and accepting every part of who you are first.

You are perfect.

5. Complacency in your self-care and behavior.

As time passes in a relationship, people get more relaxed and let things go. This can get discouraging for a husband who loves seeing his wife get gussied up for work every day. It can wreak havoc on a couple’s sex life when health issues crop up because of the failure to eat right and exercise.

Whether you have been married two years or twenty, keep on top of your game. Do this not just for your partner, but for you! It feels better to do, act and be the best person you can be. It will do wonders for your marriage, too.

6. Wanting tit-for-tat.

At different points during every marriage, one partner will have to pick up the slack for the other one. This is why they call marriage “a partnership.” Understand that if your husband or wife is not giving as much as you would like, there will come a point when he or she will be picking up your slack. Don’t always insist on receiving tit-for-tat when you think you have gone above and beyond in the relationship.

Let your partner ride a little bit. Look forward to the day when the favor will be returned.

7. Forgetting to let your partner in on your plans.

Nothing can make a relationship go sideways faster than forgetting to get your husband or wife on board. By failing to clue your partner in on your dreams, goals or lunch dates, you could leave them feeling abandoned, excluded and caught off guard. All of these things lead to resentment, anger and disconnection.

You don’t have to ask for your partner’s permission. You can ask for your partner’s support. You only need to let your partner in on what it is you want to do and where you want to go for lunch…and in life.

8. Making your partner your last priority.

Your kids are a top priority. So is your work. So are you. And…so is your partner.

How do you balance all of these things? That is the million dollar question, friends. Anyone who is in a marriage is negotiating that answer, especially if there are kids involved.

You won’t always balance everything perfectly. Acknowledge that fact. The most important thing to remember, however, is to not forget about your partner in this list.

Talk with your partner about how overwhelmed you feel. Come up with ideas on how you each can make the other feel like a “priority” with all these competing interests pulling at you. Express how much you mean to each other.

9. Letting the physical intimacy in your relationship dwindle.

Life gets busy. People feel exhausted. They forget to look in their partner’s eyes, kiss passionately, hold each other and just touch. This lack of physical intimacy can lead to the feeling that a partner doesn’t love you.

Physical intimacy with someone you love is healing for the soul. It strengthens (and helps maintain) the bond between two individuals. Keep the intimacy alive in your relationship.

Practice touching one another. Read books to help keep the fire burning. See a counselor if you are out of touch or need help getting started again.

10. Failing to dig deep with your partner.

Without relationship evolution, your marriage will die. Remember that if you want to strike relationship gold, you have to be willing to dig deep with your partner. Issues and conflict are your opportunities to burrow into the soul of your beloved, plant new seeds and continue to grow together.

Approach change in your partner and relationship with the wondrous eyes of an explorer. By doing this, you will continue to discover new things every day. This will keep you out of a relationship rut and in something that is fresh, changing, and always exciting.

These toxic marriage habits are subtle and are sometimes silent. Left unchecked for too long, they will kill your marriage. Make it a regular habit to look at yourself and how you could make yourself better for you and your partner. By doing this, you reduce the chances that the habits will take hold and cause havoc in your heart and home.

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