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When I’m feeling down and out and in need of encouragement, one of my go-to methods is to find an inspiring quote on Pinterest that looks nice and make it my phone’s lock screen.
It’s really a great way to pick myself up, because when I inevitably finding myself stress-browsing my phone, the first thing I see is that encouragement. When I see it over and over again, it starts to stick with me.
The quote I have on my phone right now is, “A little progress each day adds up to big results.”
I love it so much. I’m currently in the “messy middle” of about a dozen things, so I need the reminder that if I keep plugging away, the small effort I put in each day will add up and amazing things will happen.
I was thinking about it the other day, though, and I realized this quote goes both ways. While a little forward progress each day adds up, so do the bad habits you have. They can add up over time, too, and they certainly don’t bring you big results – well, not big positive results, anyway.
The bright side is, these habits can be fixed. Even if you’re totally guilty of some of them (or even most or all of them), you can take it one day at a time and work on better habits. A little progress each day, baby.
6 Habits That Will Ruin Your Marriage
I know, I know. How cliche. “Communication is key.” Blah.
Thing is, it totally is. I mean, how often have you gotten mad at your husband for not responding to something the way you wanted… and then just assumed he’d pick up on the fact that you were pissed?
I get it! I mean, it’s so obvious that what he did was wrong. Why should you have to spell it out for him?
Because, well, it’s not always that obvious.
Men and women are so different – heck, people are all different – and it’s hard sometimes to understand the intricacies of why you got under someone’s skin. He might be able to tell you’re mad, but he might not know why – and it might be more comfortable to let you simmer than to poke the bear.
If you consistently get in the habit of not talking about the little day-to-day things with your husband, eventually you’ll stop talking about the bigger things, and things can quickly start to spiral out of control. Don’t let it get there.
Not listening to your spouse.
You know, communication is a great thing. It’s so great to tell your husband how you’re feeling and communicate with him. But you know what the most important part of communication is? Listening.
If your husband tells you he needs something and you say, “yeah, okay” and don’t do anything about it, he’s going to feel disrespected and unloved. Same with you – if you tell your spouse you need something and nothing gets done, you feel pretty lousy, right?
Make your marriage better by listening – truly listening – to your husband when he talks to you. Don’t just brush each other off and hope you “get over” whatever it is that’s bugging the other one. Problem solve together and make it right – because you’re a team, and if one of you loses, you both lose.
And personally, I hate losing. 🙂
Not setting good boundaries.
It’s terrifyingly easy to fall into the trap of an emotional affair.
One of the other things that can happen if you’re not communicating with your spouse is you might try to find the connection you’re looking for elsewhere. And you might not even realize at the time that you’re trying to “replace” your spouse, but if you’re overly connected to those outside your marriage and not enough to the one you’re married to, it’s going to cause problems.
I’m going to use myself as an example. I met a stay-at-home dad at the park last year. We were at the playground at the same time almost every day, and it was fun talking to him. I loved watching A play with his little girl. He was nice, and my husband and son and I even went to their house one night for dinner.
But it’s not a friendship I still have. Why? It didn’t feel appropriate.
The thing is, I could connect to this man as a stay-at-home parent in a way I couldn’t connect to my husband. Not because there’s anything wrong with my husband, just that we live in different worlds. Having someone I could connect with who was part of my world – who wasn’t my spouse – felt like a dangerous proposition.
I was sad to let the friendship go, but my heart told me it wasn’t a good idea, and my marriage is not something I’m willing to compromise. Not for anything.
So good boundaries = a totally good thing.
Comparing yourself to others.
It’s easy to look at other people’s marriages and think, “Why can’t we have that?” Whether “that” is a super close relationship, well-behaved kids, money to go on vacations, or whatever. It’s easy to think everyone else has it better than you do, or that s0-and-so’s husband is better than yours, or whatever.
When you compare your marriage to others’ marriages, you’re missing the fact that everyone’s different. Everyone has things in their lives that are hard to deal with, but everyone’s struggle is different.
If you get in the habit of comparing yourself to others, you’re going to consistently miss the awesome stuff that’s right in front of you. Choose to focus on the good stuff in your life and be grateful for it, rather than wishing you were in someone else’s shoes (who probably doesn’t have it quite as easy as you think they do!)
I saw this other quote once on Pinterest (what can I say, I’m kind of a quote junkie :))
“Marriage isn’t 50/50. Marriage is 100/100. Divorce is 50/50.”
And it’s incredibly true.
Like it or not, the point of marriage isn’t about being fair. It’s about coming together as a united front, which means you both have to figure out how to do what’s best for your marriage – not just for each of you individually.
This is a hard habit to break, but it’s important. If you’re constantly fighting over who does more, or that your husband should do x because you did y, it’s just not gonna be pretty.
Stop keeping track of who does more and when. Focus on what needs to be done, and if there’s something you’d like help with, ask for it.
Neglecting your physical relationship.
Sex is great. Let’s start there.
Not only can it bring you together emotionally as a couple, but it can also help you both feel happier and more relaxed.
To neglect it (or worse – withhold it as punishment) is not good for your marriage.
And I totally get it – you’re not always in the mood. That’s okay. It’s not like you have to get busy once a day or anything – just don’t let too many days go by without connecting physically, because it’s seriously a great way to help you smooth over disagreements and irritations.
I mean, not the big ones. You have to talk about those. But the day-to-day irritations you have with your spouse? Those hormones can magically make those seem a little less important.
Honestly, it’s a win-win.
If you want an amazing marriage, the way to do that is by paying attention to the stuff you do every day – both the good things and the bad things. You’re never going to be perfect, but do what you can to make sure the good things outweigh the bad things for the most part and you’ll be sitting pretty.