Despite what fairy tales would have us believe, marriage is so much more than the “happily ever after” ending at the end of every story. Once the bride and the groom ride off into the sunset, there is usually an enormous balancing act that takes place during which the newly permanent couple becomes accustomed to one another’s quirks and oddities and slowly but surely begins their journey toward long term marriage.
As we all know, many don’t make it. Some would say even half don’t make it. Sometimes it is easy to see why. There is no secret sauce to making a marriage grand and what works for one couple won’t work for every couple. But there are some universal ways to sink a marriage. Here are seven:
1.) Watch TV alone instead of spending time together after the kids are in bed. This is one we are probably all guilty of at one time or another. Those little, lovable rugrats are amazing and sweet and we adore them, but DANG they wear us out. Sometimes all we want to do at the end of the day is be left alone. This is fine. A couple times a week. But it is also an important time to reconnect with our spouses, to talk about our days without little voices, and to benefit from touch.
2.) Stop talking during the day. Remember those emails and calls during work hours? Are those still happening? Yes, as we grow older and more dedicated to our careers, things DO change. I know my husband can’t take 20 minutes to hash out a home problem with me anymore during work hours. But we can still text and send emails and just make sure we know the other is thinking of us.
3.) Don’t say “I love you”. These words matter. Like it or not, they do. And to some, they matter even more than actions. Know your spouse and say it.
4.) Ignore the little things. The joke about husbands not noticing hair changes? That’s real. When you stop looking at your spouse as a person and start assuming constant predictability, things get stale.
5.) Don’t apologize. If you mess up, say sorry. It’s the adult thing to do. Even in a long term marriage.
6.) Nag your spouse to death. Oh man am I guilty of this one. Oops! NO ONE wants to be nagged. It’s an awful feeling. Cut that crap out. For the sake of your marriage.
7.) Stop cuddling. Not everyone needs sex five times a week. For some couples, just a hug or a kiss or a cuddle is enough. Regardless, most couples DO need some kind of physical connectedness to stay together. If it’s not sex, find another way.