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No matter what, remember this: there are no perfect marriages. We’re all going to make mistakes in our marriages and in our relationships because we’re human and love is messy.
But this article isn’t about having the perfect marriage. Instead, it’s about avoiding those marriage mistakes that can easily lead to deeper problems in a partnership. It’s about being proactive about prioritizing your marriage and stepping aside from the common problems that are likely to beset your relationship.
In this instance, a mistake should really be called a habit. Because a simple mistake made one time or even a few isn’t going to take you directly to divorce. What does take a marriage down this road is making the same mistakes over and over: choosing the same poor behaviors, never taking time to work on the issues, and allowing you and your spouse to grow further and further apart.
Let’s combat that. Here are 6 marriage mistakes: things you should avoid to keep your relationship strong, happy, and healthy.
Not fighting fair
One issue that repeatedly leads to problems in marriage is an inability to fight fair.
Conflict is no fun, but it’s a normal part of any healthy relationship, romantic or not. Learning how to handle conflict when it arises is therefore crucial to relationship success. Luckily, fighting fair is one of those communication skills that can be improved and enhanced with practice.
Fighting fair in marriage means your arguments should generally move in the direction of conflict resolution, avoiding things like cruel insults or words meant just to hurt. Fair fights maintain regard for the other person.
Now, the occasional dirty fight between couples is nothing to worry about, as long as a basic level of respect and kindness is being maintained. However, when your spouse continually disrespects you, either in a conflict situation or otherwise, you need to know when to draw the line. Read more about serious disrespect in marriage here.
Dwelling on the past
Don’t make the mistake of living in the past. This is an easy trap to fall into, but one that can harm your marriage.
Each couple—and each individual—has a past. And in that past, people make mistakes. They hurt one another. They make bad choices. They act poorly. They lack wisdom.
Yet in a marriage, we must be able to move forward out of that past with our husbands and wives. We have to forgive and move on and we have to trust that our spouse is willing or trying to change (depending on what the issue is). There’s nothing to be gained by continually dredging up the past and castigating your partner for their past mistakes. This is one of the biggest issues in many relationships but it’s something that can definitely be avoided.
Work on leaving the past in the past and choose to focus your discussions on the future. I guarantee you will find them far more productive.
Read Next: 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage
Failing to express your needs (and understand theirs)
Both men and women have needs in a marriage. But it can be easy to forget that we sometimes need to share what those needs are with our partners.
Have you ever been guilty of expecting your partner to be a mindreader? I know I have! I have learned that this is not enough, and that I have to express what I want and need from my husband clearly (and sometimes repeatedly). And from him, I frequently need to ask what he needs; how can I be of help to him?
One of the simplest ways to achieve this is an obvious one: talking. Talk about what you need! Communicating regularly and openly can solve a multitude of problems in a marriage, so do yourselves a huge favor and make time for talking together on a regular basis.
Forgetting you’re on the same team
One of the best things a married couple can do for their relationship is to remember that they are part of the same team. This mindset shift can make such a big difference. It reminds you that you’re in this thing together. That you’ve got a partner, a family by your side to be there with you through the toughest parts of life.
Money, kids, parents, work, health. There is much to cause stress in your life, but knowing you will tackle whatever comes your way together can help you get through it.
This may be especially true when the two of you are in a fight. Bearing in mind that you are members of the same team can help keep you focused on finding common ground and looking for a solution to your problem. Neither of you is in this disagreement to “win” so remembering to think as a team ensures you both come out on top.
Taking your partner for granted
No one wants to feel that they are taken for granted, but this is a mistake that can be easy to make in marriage, especially after many years together.
To combat this, work to recognize and be mindful of the good things that your partner brings to your life. Appreciate what they do for you, and express gratitude to them regularly. Expressing appreciation always does wonders for your spouse, reminding them that they are worth so much to you and that you are happy they’re in your life.
Read Next: 8 Ways to Create More Romance in a Relationship
Letting intimacy fall to the wayside
Finally, one of the most common marriage problems more many couples is a lack of intimacy: both physical and emotional.
Intimacy is about more than just a passionate and fulfilling sex life (although that is certainly important in marriage). It’s about feeling close and connected to your partner on a deep level. Life will get in the way now and then, but it’s oh so important to not let it stay in the way. Get right back to the closeness you desire and deserve.
How can you do this? By prioritizing it. By working on it. By penciling it in and making an effort. It may not seem spontaneous or sexy to plan dates or schedule sex, but these efforts may be just what makes the difference for you and your partner. It’s also a great way to show your partner your love for them: demonstrating that you care enough to make a concerted effort to get closer.
You might also like:
- 12 Essential Pieces of Relationship Advice for Couples
- 10 Relationship Rituals for Couples
- The Very Best Marriage Advice for Newlyweds
Amy Hartle is the co-founder and owner of Two Drifters, where she blogs about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. With a Master’s in English and a BA in Musical Theatre, Amy loves to write quality content as well as to entertain, and she hopes to do a bit of both here on the blog! Amy is happily married to her husband Nathan, and when not working on their sites, Amy & Nathan can be found cuddling, reading, and enjoying delicious lattes.