Let’s get this straight, we do not write from a position of getting marriage right.

We make mistakes all the time and are constantly learning. In fact, we scored a 10 out of 10 on this list of things we did to each other than nearly ended our marriage. We hope you can learn from our mistakes and start today to reverse any of these habits you might have in your marriage.

Become Stagnant

No one wants a spouse who doesn’t make effort to change and grow. We all are a work in progress and should create space in our lives to reflect on the areas that need growth. Write down personal goals and post them in the house or at your office. On your next date night, start making a list of dreams you’d like to accomplish in the next 6 months to 5 years.

Be In Love With Your Phone & TV

Have you ever been talking to someone and they are scrolling through their phone or constantly looking over their shoulder at the TV? It feels terrible and makes you feel like they are disinterested in the conversation. In order to be less distracted, you have to put down your phone and be courageous enough to turn it off after a certain time of day. You need to limit how much television you watch and make your marriage a top priority. Be careful of ‘unlimited feeds’ like Instagram or Facebook because in reality…they’re a time suck for all of us.

Become Boring

Don’t stop pursuing hobbies and being active. Try new things, hang out with friends, get off of the couch and go make memories together. It’s easy to get in a routine but push yourself to break out of them and be adventurous. Plan new date nights that don’t include only going to the movies. Get active, find somewhere to serve alongside each other or take a road trip.

Put Others Before Your Spouse

If you prioritize your friends, co-workers or family over your spouse, you are definitely going to have trouble at the home front. There can be no divided loyalties. When you got married and started your own family, that’s where your primary loyalty needs to be. Your spouse deserves your firsts, not your left overs. Your spouse’s opinions and ideas should always matter more than others.

Ignore Problems

This just in….no one has a perfect marriage and because all marriages struggle and have conflict, you cannot brush them under the carpet. Ignoring the issues is like packing the room with dynamite- it’s going to blow sometime! Good communication requires asking for what you want and not assuming that your spouse should just know. Learn to really listen to each other.

Shameless plug: join us for our monthly marriage webcasts where we give you tips and tools on how to connect in your marriage.

Give Your Spouse the Silent Treatment

The silent treatment says you’ve quit on the relationship. You are no longer willing to work on resolving any conflict. It’s punishing, demeaning, and shaming. You’ve essentially created a defensive posture that allows nothing in or out. Be warned, this sort of tactic is a sure sign of an ailing relationship. This response typically comes from a place where the conflict has become so overwhelming, that your emotional self shuts down. While there is definitely a time to walk away for a moment and cool down, doing so cannot be to punish your spouse or stop them from being heard.

Stop Having Sex

A surefire way to create emotional distance between you and your spouse is to create a wide chasm physically. Intimacy is the glue that holds couples together and sex should be on your to do list. And trust us, no one has ever said after an orgasm, “Well, that was a waste of time!” Are you too busy? Schedule it. Stop making excuses!

Spend More Money Than What You Have

Money is always at the top of list of reasons for divorce. Debt is a terrible burden to put on the marriage. At its peak, we were close to $200K in debt. Our spending was out of control. Shoot, we even financed a vacuum!  This undisciplined spending will sink you. How do you get out? Get crazy serious about it. If it wasn’t tied dow… we sold it, bought junky cars (yes, very humiliating), ate on a mac n cheese diet… but after 2.5 years, we made it out on the other end debt free. It was glorious! Stop spending money you don’t have, get on a budget and only buy what you really need. It can be overwhelming at first, but you have to be on the same page when it comes to money. Plan budget meetings where you come to the table with income and expenses. They say- what you value is where you put your money.

Threaten Divorce

Threatening divorce turns a fair fight into a dirty one.  Saying the “D” word is like dropping a nuclear bomb on the whole fight by simply killing everything in sight, including yourself. When you say this, where do you go from there? Why put in any more effort in the conversation or the relationship if the other person is packing their bags? The spouse who said the “D” word is either giving up or using it as a threat. This sort of dirty play puts your spouse in the position of being either the only one fighting for the marriage or feeling like “why bother” if you don’t really want to be married. Marriage can be hard and giving up verbally makes it even harder. Make a commitment to eliminate this from your vocabulary.

Keep Secrets

Sometimes couples avoid the hot-button topics, or keep secret something they think their partner won’t like. If you deep down know that you should be honest about the situation, you need to share it and not hold it in. Unfortunately, the longer you hold it in, the more anxious and guilty you become. Keeping secrets can lead to depression, stress, and eventually start eroding the foundation of your marriage. 100% intimacy cannot come without 100% transparency. The only secrets allowed in marriage are for birthday and anniversary presents!

Marriage365 Action Plan

Are you falling into these bad habits? What are you going to do today to change? Leave a comment below and let us know how you plan on focusing on your marriage.


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25 thoughts

  • Daynene

    All of these happened in our marriage, it shook us to our core. Amazingly we have survived, and I am so grateful to be still together. The last year was pure hell but through a lot of work and trusting in our love for each other we are coming through to the other side. Next month will be 19 years married!!

      • Erica

        Ashley, My husband and I have been married for over 22 years. This is a test, it’s only a test. This is a season in your marriage. My husband and I have survived it all. How we did it? Well I believe in serving my spouse, loving him when he least deserved it. I had about 2.5 years of feeling rejected and I swallowed my pride and kept loving him. Today, we’re happier than ever and he’s so filled with gratitude that I never gave up at the same time he did.
        That’s where the magic will happen. Be the lover, the giver and don’t stop. Exhaust yourself and be patient. Mostly just keep loving him even when he might not deserve it. Good Luck!

        • Jessica

          Erica, thanks for leaving your comment. I am at this same point in my marriage… the one trying to give all the love and the one fighting… it’s difficult and can be quite discouraging… so hearing someone else go through the same thing helps keep me in a positive direction.

  • Nadine

    This is the truth! From the Gottman Institute…
    criticism, contempt-disgust
    Stonewalling-silent treatment
    Defensiveness and your marriage is dead.

  • melody

    We are stuck there at moment. So draining. Have 3 kids and every opportunity he says he’s taking his stuff. Am financially tied to him because I gave up having a career. So humiliated. Will try any suggestions

  • carmen

    Have been in this struggle for 10 months now. All those things,on the last, I did to him or he did to me. We have been living seperated for about 7 months now. 🙁

  • Nats

    Excellent blog!
    These are such important things to adhere to.
    Melody, I feel your pain.
    In my marriage I placed it in God’s Hands. Yes, it might sound hippie christian and silly but I literally and intentionally searched for the love and happiness I can find in God. I got to a place where I became strong in God’s love for me, where what my spouse says don’t affect me as much. Through pursuing a relationship with God I got the strength to apply the points in this blog ánd pray that God will open my spouse’s eyes.
    It feels weird writing about this but I got to a point where I realised that I have nothing to loose to give God a chance.
    In a marriage where your spouse is the provider you feel lost and hopeless, depressed. Try the above and get to a place where you can have a conversation with your spouse about courses you can take to equip you to start something to lift you up ánd have money come in (you’ll feel more in charge of your own life. You’ll still share finances though, this is to help you find yourself and your independence within your marriage).
    I gave up a perfectly successful career and by applying the above cheerfully and lovingly ‘served’my husband (it wasn’t easy most of the time) and I started seeing a change in his thinking, in his attitude towards me.
    We’re at a place now where he’s sensitive to my needs, where we can have a chat about what he can do to meet my nneeds! It’s hard to believe this (as I’m typing I’m having tears of joy and gracefulness towards God for coming through) I’ve tried everything else before this with no results.
    It’s not easy but it does get easier as you listen to people like Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen to uplift you and get scripture and biblical principles into your mind/life.
    Good luck.
    Marriage is and can be beautiful.
    If God could turn my situation around, He can yours.

    • Shannon

      Thank you for that. My wife walk out two months ago. She left her 15 yr old daughter with me. We did all of those things to each other too. I’m praying fervently that God can heal our marriage. I see all of the ways that I could have been a better husband. She suffers from PTSD and I was not understanding of it. I blambed our financial situation on her all sorts of way I was not loving her like Jesus loved the church. With gods grace I pray she comes home and we can resurrect or marriage and family

  • Jessica

    I have been married for 8 years and through out my marriage it has always been fights and arguin all the time. Last year I caught my husband talking to other woman and it broke my heart. I got in a depression and he would not understand me. He never really stopped talking to other woman until like 3months after. We have been so much better since than no lies no secrets nothing. Recently he got a new phone and wants to keep his password from me because he says that I don’t need to know it and I got really upset. I don’t care if he knows mine or my other password like for Facebook Instagram or any social media. I don’t have anything to hide. That’s why I don’t understand why he needs to keep passwords from me. What should I do or how should I talk to him about it? He doesn’t understand me and only gets mad.

  • S

    Im struggling against 8 out of 10 from my husband. The boredom i can live around, his lack of interest in doing things or improving/growing himself, being stagnet i can handle by growing my own self.. and he never tires of sex But the phone n tv addiction coupled with secrets, lies and silent treatments tear my heart out. Recently i tried to discuss our budget….. he watched tv AND played on his phone as i spoke. When i said its hard to talk over tv and phone games he told me how “important” the game was to him. Not me, the game. Problem is, the games never go away, theres always some sport stealing him from me. Hes had affairs, he lies about who he talks to and hides who he talks to (women). When he slips the truth he gets mad at me if i disapprove of the secrecy and he will go days without talking to me. He travels a lot, so im home alone in silence. I could be dead and he wouldnt know i was missing. If i tell him the secrecy makes me uncomfortable, he becomes irate and threatens to leave. Hes left me twice over it in 7 months since our wedding….which is threatening divorce. Once over his ex wife he wants to stay friends with, again over an ex gf he wants to stay friends with. I wish he wanted to be my friend that bad. But no, he keeps them and walks out on me. Yesterday on the phone he lied n said he had to hang up to talk to a person at work, except he didnt hang up and i could hear him totally not talking to anybody, just a lie to hang up. Hes out of state and we scheduled this time to talk,, but he lied to hang up on me. Later he called and said he left his phone in his truck as a reason to not return my text – not knowing i could hear him for the past half hour IN his truck on his his phone playing games or fb flat out ignoring me there was no coworker be had to speak with. I told him i knew the truth and i got silence for an answer. He wont admit a lie, ever. He justifies and defends himself at my expense.. I just get punished if i dont like his lie. Nothing gets better, it just gets heavier because he wont deal with our Marriage! He ignores it all, ignores my heart, ignores my hurt, ignores his responsibility in tearing us down. .
    Why the petty lie? Why the disrespect? Why any of this? Im struggling to trust him but hes full of lies. Im not worth his efforts. Its a very sad life for a wife. Its nothing like what he promised and vowed to me. And no, hes not some young irresponsible boy, hes 60 and still does this shit as if he lives in high school. It doesnt get any better with age, ladies. Same shit, different man. He really breaks my heart a lot. Its so hard to plan for the future with a man who always lies and leaves me. Is there a future? Its awfully fragile if there is. I get so sick of his mind games and psychological abuse. Why is it so hard to just be a decent human being to your spouse? Why am i so unworth loving completely? And then he wonders why i dont laugh much anymore. Im pretty sure he will leave me for good soon.

  • Anonymous

    This is us!! Been like this for 5 years. Every one of the above ways to ruin a marriage is happening and has been for 5 years. We are in therapy. He says I have to get rid of my anger for good. I have to change. Therapist asked him what is something that You ,( my husband)could change about himself. One thing. My husband looked right at the therapist and said he could not think of even one thing he could change. I had already told the therapy in a previous session with just me that he would say that. We have been married over 35 years I know him well. He is not the man I used to know at all. Personality change totally. Thanks for this article.

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