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5 Critical Mistakes That Can Ruin a Marriage

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5 Critical Mistakes That Can Ruin a Marriage

While mistakes can be a constructive factor, offering the experience of learning and the chance of improvement, some lack this attribute and can cause irreparable damage.

While it’s generally understood that cheating is the big NO-NO of any marriage, there are other mistakes–some overlooked most of the time–which can also lead to broken hearts and dreams. Here are five of the most common slips that can turn into critical mistakes:

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1.Expecting our partners to like everything we do and treating the differences as an omen.

We may have admired and envied the couples that are all smiles and “yes dear”, those who go everywhere together, take the same tennis class and watch the same TV programmes. “Why wasn’t I that lucky?” you may wonder to yourself. But do hold your thought as, “there’s something rotten in Denmark!” If in a marriage the partners like the same things every nanosecond, it’s either the case of one completely submitting to the other or only pretending to like for the partner’s sake. Frustrations accumulate and the peachy bubble will burst. The damage caused may be twice worse, as this won’t be the case of a mere argument, but of days and years of self-denial which now ask for the lion’s share.

Our parents accept and love us unconditionally even if we openly hate Humphrey Bogart. We should try and do the same with our partners. Accepting and embracing differences are the sign of a healthy marriage. We can go on our own or call a friend to join us for that latest Kate Winslet film–no need to make a fuss!

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2. Ending the girls’ or boys’ nights out.

We are social beings and now and then a night out with old time buddies should not be interpreted as a sign of boredom or a reason for jealousy. While the good ol’ banter may include small complaints about married life, it is actually a realisation that all marriages have their charming little flaws that actually make things work. Let’s call this therapy and it’s a bit easier to embrace now!

3. Misunderstanding intimacy.

While our partners may know every birthmark, wrinkle and hair on our bodies, some things just work a bit better if not shared, no matter how natural they may be. Unless it’s a serious problem, a medical condition when going into details is compulsory or advisable, the bowel movement information may just spoil the appetite. Sometimes it’s better if we don’t know how burgers are made. Let’s just say the same rule applies to our bodies.

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4. Comparison.

There’s no other enemy greater than comparison and thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Some couples abide by the “no dirty laundry in public” principle, others couldn’t care less. If a couple is not seen arguing, it does not mean they don’t do it–it’s just that they choose a more private place to solve their issues. I remember the shock when I happened to assist to such a couple’s quarrels and couldn’t believe it. I always imagined their marriage was nothing but milk and honey because that’s the image they had always let others see.  It is better accept that are some issues and work to solve those issues than pretend there’s nothing wrong. And it is always better “look only at what’s on your plate,” as my late grandpa used to advise. 

5. Not sharing the tasks around the house.

Gender equality will be a hot topic for the next 100 years to come. It’s just a handful of countries where women enjoy genuine gender equality. Others are only starting to enjoy the freedom offered by sanitary pads (here‘s an incredible Ted talk and video about the revolution started by Arunachalam Muruganantham) and others are caught in the middle juggling between their jobs and the chores they are still in charge of.

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If “porn for women” were understood in Susan Anderson‘s terms, with men contributing more to cooking and doing the laundry, women’s lives would not only become easier, but much enriched in terms of the respect and appreciation they are shown.

The experts of the Gottman Institute tell us that marriages based on a positive attitude where encouragement and respect are nurtured have always worked better. As long as there’s respect, differences will be accepted; out of respect our partners will not cheat on us and out of respect they’ll help us if we let them know what’s aching.

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While it’s sometimes difficult and there are moments of doubt, married people are happier. I’m not saying it because I happen to be married, but because research has proven this. And I’d add we’re much kinder, patient and wiser–all because marriage teaches us how to be.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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