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Monday, May 6, 2013
Big Marriage Mistakes You May Not Even Know You Are Making
But what if there are things you are doing to hurt your marriage that you aren't even aware of doing? That's the reason for today's post - to make you aware of some subtle but potentially marriage-destroying actions and outlooks that could be affecting your marriage relationship without you even knowing it.
As you read through the list below, take the time to do some serious introspection. Ask yourself if you have slipped into any of these behaviors, even partially.
1) Missing the Purpose
"The purpose of my marriage is mostly to get what I want and need in order to make me happy."
I put this one first, because I think this kind of thinking is much more prevalent that many people even realize.
We have a very "me-centered" culture, and that culture almost can't help but seep into marriages. Thinking that your marriage is mostly about getting what you want, however, will set you up for a life of marital discord and struggle.
I have an interesting dichotomy for you to ponder. You need to own your own happiness and not put the responsibility for it on your spouse. But you also need to live as if you own your spouse's happiness too. Do all in your power to bless him or her, to give yourself fully to your marriage and to live a life of selfless love.
2) Focusing on Changing the Wrong Person
"My marriage would be so much better if only my husband/wife would..."
Go ahead, fill in the blank. I know you've said or thought things like this before. We all have.
This one kind of goes hand in hand with #1. It's so much easier to put the onus of change on our spouse than it is to own up to our own shortcomings and areas of weakness. It's especially easy to slip into this mindset if you have bought into the lie that marriage is all about your own personal degree of happiness.
The truth is that you only have the power to change you. If you want a better marriage, start with your self.
I recently heard someone say of marriage: the best way to work on your marriage is to draw a circle around yourself and work on everything inside the circle.
3) Settling For Less Than Total Intimacy
"We don't have sex very often, but other than that I would say we have a good marriage." ~says the low-drive wife.
"I leave the spiritual stuff to my wife. That's really more her cup of tea." ~says the spiritually disinterested husband
"There is just no way to make room in our schedule or budget for regular date nights." ~says the busy couple
God designed marriage to be a place of complete intimacy. His design and desire is that in every marriage "two become one" in every dimension of their beings: spiritually, emotionally, sexually, financially and relationally. Too often couples settle for a lack of intimacy in one or more of these dimensions.
The thing about intimacy is that there is always more of it to be had, regardless of how great your marriage is. Never stop going for more. You can have as much intimacy as you want or as little as you are willing to settle for.
4) Waiting for Later
"I'll work on my marriage some day when..."
The problem with this kind of thinking is that someday usually never comes.
You might be tempted to think that there will be time to work on your marriages after the kids get older, after the craziness at work settles down, or after you are financially more secure. So you wait. But when that some day comes, you just might find your marriage in total crisis.
Don't wait. Today, and every day, is the day to invest in your marriage.
5) Going for Equal
"The best marriages are when everything is 50-50."
If you've read here for very long, you already know how I feel about the whole 50/50 idea. It's just dead wrong.
When equality becomes your goal, it automatically sets up a competitive, scorekeeping environment in your marriage. Everything gets graded and measured to see who comes out ahead. The truth is that most who want a 50/50 split, aren't actually interesting in equality; they are interested in "winning" (or at least not "losing"). It comes back to issue #1 again. It's all about me.
According to the Bible, our model for marriage is Christ and the church. There is nothing in that relationship that is 50-50. Christ gave himself completely, 100% for the sake of having us as his bride. He wants 100% of us too. He desires a relationship with us that is 100/100. That's how marriages are designed to work best.
Our goal should be to out-love, out-give, out-surrender and out-bless each other.
- - - - - - - - - -
So there you have my top five. I could add more, but I'd like to invite you to chime in with your own set of "marriage mistakes that couples may not even know they are making."
Let's hear it! Leave a comment.
- This post today from The Generous Husband, Paul Byerly, was very timely. How Do You Focus on the Positive and Still Deal with Problems?"
- This post was prompted by this article from Prevention Magazine. "7 Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make."
image credit: bbbar / 123rf.com
Just out: the May issue of "Pathways," my monthly newsletter completely focused on building the intimacy in your marriage.
- To preview the latest issue, "Intimacy in the Tough Times"
- To subscribe to Pathways (and get my free Intimacy Challenge ebook), click HERE
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