I’ve heard it said that “marriage isn’t easy.” However, I’ve also heard that a marriage that survives and thrives takes work. While I agree with both of those statements, marriage shouldn’t be too hard and require that much work. After all, we loved our spouse enough to say I do without ever thinking that we might say I don’t.
After countless couples that have sought my counsel on marriage and having been married for a collective 40 years, I’ve learned some basics. This is part one of a two-part article on marriage and the simple steps to avoid and the simple steps to include in your relationship.
Here are three avoidable mistakes that might become pitfalls in your marriage. I pray that they are helpful.
- Assumptions – Assumptions will literally kill your marriage. The most assumed assumption? “They should know what I need.” My next on the wicked list of assumptions is that “they should know what I think.” If you can recall the television show, “Home Improvement” you’ll remember that in each episode, Jill tells Tim something and he totally messes the intent up. Time winds up in the backyard with Wilson, and Wilson serves as his marriage counselor. Tim then has a light bulb moment and he and Jill get things back together. In real life, it’s never that short or that simpe to fix. Please avoid assuming that your spouse knows what you need, or what you think. Have a discussion about needs, wants, hopes, and aspiriations. Assumptions will create a train wreck in your hopes and dreams. Never assume that your spouse, no matter how close you are, or how well they can complete your sentences knows your needs, hopes, feelings, or values. Love them enough to let them into your world. After all, you are now “one flesh.”
- Untruths – Spoken or Unspoken – I hear this one all the time and I’ve lived this in my own life. Maybe you are witholding a simple little truth in hopes that you are “protecting your spouse.” That’s just a lie that you are justifying because you don’t want to deal with it. Yes, your spouse might be angry with you. Yes, you most likely will argue about it. But here’s the real deal. You will deal with it. For better or worse. Richer or poorer. Til death. Untruths will create a deep divide that can crater a marriage faster than anything I have seen. If it’s big – tell the truth. If it’s small – tell the truth. I promise you that this is one of those pitfalls that will bite you and leave a mark. It’s not complicated. Tell the truth. All of the truth!
- Tech Secrets – I can’t count the number of marriages that have entered my office for counsel and when we got to the central theme of the issues, spouse A discovered something on spouse B’s phone, tablet, or computer. Sometimes it’s obvious, like porn or an inappropriate text conversation with another person. Sometimes it’s thoughts about in-laws or children, or blended family talk outside of the home. Here’s a good rule of thumb; If you cannot hand your phone to your spouse without hiding something, password protecting something, or turning off your locations, you might have a serious problem. If you cannot leave your phone sitting on the bedside table while you shower or walk the dog, you might have a problem. If you have to double check to make sure that your spouse might see something when they ask to use your phone, you definitely have a problem. The answer isn’t to have secret apps, or secret, seperate phones. The answer is don’t do stupid stuff on your devices. Keep you technology zippers zipped and your social media status buttons buttoned.
As I said, it’s pretty simple. Avoid these three pitfalls, and you’ll save yourself a world of hurt feelings, arguments, misunderstandings, and relational fatigue. I’ll be back tomorrow with “Three simple Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage.”