You’ve probably heard over and over again that marriage is hard work, but it probably wasn’t until you were deep into it that you realised how true this is. It’s easy to let a marriage fall by the wayside, which is why both husbands and wives should do all they can to make their relationship better and stronger.
Though women also do these things, these behaviours are especially common with men. Avoid these destructive habits and save your marriage.
1. Not communicating
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Because of their upbringing, men tend to have problems talking about their feelings. This makes it difficult to resolve conflicts—how can you solve them if you refuse to bring them up? Some men withdraw even more when communication is needed the most—something relationship researcher John Gottman labelled as “stonewalling”.
“The person who chooses to stonewall is no longer participating in self-reflection and subsequently personal growth,” psychologist Mary Spease tells PsychCentral. Instead of working to improve the relationship, people who refuse to communicate keep it from progressing. In addition, the person being stonewalled feels ignored and unimportant. This behaviour leads to the building up of resentment, and often separation and divorce.
2. Neglecting her
Your wife married you because she wanted to spend time—the rest of her life—with you, as Paired Life points out. If you spend most of your day at the office, then blow off steam at a bar with coworkers, then go home only to space out in front of the television while you tune out your wife’s nagging to spend more time with the family, then that’s a sure sign that you’ve taken her for granted.
Don’t let your wife feel alone and abandoned. If you feel like your marriage isn’t how it should be, spend more time on it instead of checking out. Just as you should be your wife’s top priority, she should be yours as well.
3. Always criticizing her
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There is a huge difference between voicing a concern (which is practising good communication) and attacking someone’s character and person. Having sky-high expectations that are impossible to meet is part of the problem, and so is comparing her to other women. Instead of focusing on every little thing she does that you don’t like, pay attention to her strengths and build her up. Once you get into the habit of looking for the good in her, you can stay away from the destructive pattern that criticism can bring.
4. Treating her like a sex object
If you only pay attention to her when you want sex, your wife will notice. According to FamilyShare, you should prioritize establishing an emotional connection and trust before physical intimacy, so that sex can be as unifying and fulfilling as it should be. In addition, you shouldn’t just think about your own needs when you’re in bed with your wife—her pleasure is just as important as yours.
5. Not controlling your temper
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You could be a loving husband and have a terrible temper, but all is not lost. In spite of what you might believe, you can change, and you should change. Anger is a valid emotion, but you should express it in healthy ways. Greater Good recommends managing your anger by recognizing it, take a few deep breaths, and think before reacting. You don’t want to say or do anything that could seriously hurt your loved ones.
6. Never helping around the house
According to a study from the London School of Economics, marriages are more likely to work if husbands help out around the house. If you are the household’s breadwinner, that doesn’t mean you can just laze around the house while your wife picks up after you and the kids. She isn’t your maid or cook, she’s your partner, and you’re a team. Start acting like it.
7. Not apologising
An apology is a sign that you have moved forward and are seeking peace and harmony, as Paired Life points out. Apologising doesn’t make you the “loser”, and the recipient of the apology the “winner”. It isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a way to heal and get your relationship back on track.
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