People are always saying that a good marriage takes work. But perhaps it takes awareness and a willingness to tone down bad habits that can erode a relationship. If you are conscious of your behavior, you’ll refrain from doing things that have been proven to deep-six any relationship.
But if you choose let yourself go unchecked, without regard for your partner, you will:
Show contempt. You can roll your eyes when he makes a point you disagree with. Or use a tone of voice that indicates just how much you find him beneath your standards. Add to that some bone-chilling sarcasm and hostile body language. You can even physically imitate something you dislike about him. Or call him names and best of all, mock him in front of other people. With enough contempt, you can sabotage any relationship. In fact, it’s a sure killer.
Attack her character. Find every opportunity to criticize her. Nit pick her every move. She doesn’t peel onions the right way. And she doesn’t fill the dishwasher properly. And on and on. Which is enough to wear down any relationship. And when you’re having a fight, really stick it to her. Accuse her of being a liar or lazy or whatever character flaw you can think of. Because it’s her personality that’s the problem. If only she would change then you two would get along better. And she should smile, for heaven sakes.
Give him the silent treatment. Yes, sometimes you need a little quiet time to process the heinous thing he did, and you don’t want to speak just yet. But when that silence stretches into a punishment, then you’re sure to undermine the relationship. Give him a dirty look with the stony silence to really convey your superiority. As an added bonus, your total communication shutdown will preclude any possibility of talking about what went wrong, and the problem will continue to fester.
Play the blame game. After all, she was the one who left the garage door open so the raccoon could get in to scatter your garbage into an unholy mess. She’s so careless all the time. Remind her of pervious times when she’s done something similarly stupid and thoughtless. And don’t help her clean it up because, after all, it’s her fault. Why should you?
Forget to treat your partner with common courtesy. You don’t need to say please or thank you, right? Because he should know how you feel. Any anyway, couples shouldn’t have to be polite. Save it for the rest of the world. Dump your wet towels on the bathroom floor for him to pick up because you just haven’t thought about how annoying this can be. And never take time out for date night, because you work for a living and you don’t have time for that nonsense.
See? It’s easy to ruin your relationship. Just one of these habits is enough to put it in peril. Next time we’ll talk about what happy couples do. And it’s not any of the above.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.