7. Making Decisions Without Consulting Your Spouse
Our pride can often convince us that we don’t have to answer to anyone, and we should be able to make decisions without consulting anyone. Pride has been the downfall of so many marriages. The healthiest couples have learned that EVERY decision they make as individuals will have some level of impact on each other, so they respectfully and thoughtfully consult each other in every decision.
#8 frustrates BOTH spouses, but doesn’t help either one of them…
8. Trying to Change Each Other Can Lead to Divorce.
When you try to “change” your spouse, you will BOTH end up frustrated. As you’ve probably learned already, you can’t change each other; you can only love each other. The only part of the marriage you have the power to change is the part you see when you look in the mirror. Be willing to change your responses to your spouse’s behavior. Look for ways to love and serve each other even when you have differences of perspective or preference. You’ll both probably end up “changing” for the better in the process.
#9 is the biggest single step toward an eventual divorce…
9. Planning an Exit Strategy.
The healthiest couples have removed the “D-Word” (Divorce) from their vocabularies. When we threaten divorce or when we silently start fantasizing about life with someone new, we’re ripping apart the foundation of the marriage. The couples who make it work aren’t the ones who never had a reason to get divorced; they’re simply the ones whose commitment to each other was always bigger than their differences and flaws.
#10 doesn’t necessarily involve sex, but it’s still an act of infidelity...
10. Hiding the Fact That You’re Married.
If you are intentionally hiding your status as a married person or you’re projecting “availability” through flirting, slipping off a wedding ring, acting single around your single friends or at bars, etc., then you’re WAY out of bounds. Those subtle acts of deceit are in themselves forms of infidelity even if they never lead to a sexual affair.
If you’re in a struggling marriage, please don’t lose hope.
#11 is EVERYWHERE, and it’s having a tragic impact on marriages.
11. Seeing Porn, Erotica or Graphic Romance Novels as “Harmless Entertainment.”
When you’re acting out sexual fantasy apart from your spouse, it’s an act of mental infidelity. All true intimacy and all infidelity begins in the mind; not in the bedroom. If your eyes and your thoughts are wandering away from your spouse, then your heart is going to follow. Two thousand years ago, Jesus taught that “to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her in your heart.” Don’t just be physically monogamous. Strive to be mentally monogamous.
I’m convinced that #12 is the #1 cause of divorce…
12. Selfishness Can Lead to Divorce.
We are ALL selfish by nature, but a marriage can only work when we put our selfishness aside and put the needs of our spouse ahead of our own needs. When BOTH spouses are willingly to selflessly love and serve each other in this way, the marriage will thrive. The hard part is that YOU must be willing to go first and be selfless even in those moments when he/she is not reciprocating. Your actions might turn the tide. Choose to be a thermostat; not a thermometer. A thermometer always adjusts to the climate in a room, but thermostat CHANGES the climate in the room. Be the change. You probably have more influence than you think!
For more tools to help you build a rock-solid relationship, check out our new 7-Day Marriage Challenge (by clicking HERE).
This article originally appeared here.