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10 Toxic Marriage Habits Wedded Couples Need To Stop Now

10 Toxic Marriage Habits Wedded Couples Need To Stop Now

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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