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5 Critical Mistakes That Can Ruin a Marriage

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.

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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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