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Bad Habits that Ruin a Marriage

By Edited Jul 24, 2016 5 8
Snow leopards arguments
Credit: Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr/Attribution-NoDerivatives

6 Ways People Put Serious Strain On Their Marriages

When a couple makes a commitment to get married, it is usually done with the intention to stay together for a lifetime. Unfortunately, the reality is after the honeymoon ends, sometimes events or actions occur which may lead to marital discord, or worse, a divorce.

On occasion, marital spats may start off small and seem insignificant, but over the course of time grow to become a larger issue. Often these disagreements begin over simple actions. For instance, how many times have you heard of one spouse complaining because the towels were left on the floor? He got mad when she spent too much money on credit. She got mad when he left the cap was off the toothpaste. He nodded his head as if he was listening, but then ignored her question. What about her spending too much time on Facebook? Or maybe the garage door was left open (again) and raccoons got in, knocked the trash over and dragged it across the lawn?

Sometimes arguing or getting frustrated over a spouse's habits can go beyond what is considered the acceptable level and cause real marital strife. This scenario can typically be avoided because most minor "bad" habits can be resolved with a little compromise, discussion and understanding. But what about those activities which may not be so forgiving? There are some bad habits which are more severe and can immediately put a serious or permanent strain on a marriage. A mate who engages in really bad habits or behavior will likely ruin a marriage as time goes forward.

1. Not Listening to a Spouse

Communication helps form the foundation of any relationship and, when one partner continuously "yesses" his or her mate or pretends to listen when his or her focus is really elsewhere, this habit can eventually lead to potentially serious problems in the marriage. It is one thing to hear what a person is saying, but listening is another thing entirely. To maintain closeness in a marriage, it is important to have ongoing and effective two-way communication. This way each spouse always knows where the other is at. Communication is one of the primary foundational blocks in any relationship.

2. Infidelity

If a person wants to ruin a marriage, a habit of cheating on his or her spouse is the quickest way to send wedded bliss packing. A partner who looks outside the marriage for sexual and, in many cases emotional gratification, this kind of satisfaction is a hard pill to swallow for the betrayed spouse. 1

A one-time infidelity is sometimes able to be worked through depending on the forgiveness level of the other partner and whether or not trust can be re-established. It could be another scenario entirely when one mate continuously engages to seek gratification outside the marriage, especially if he or she lies about it and then is subsequently caught. This kind of behavior has extremely high potential to ruin what was once or could have been a happy marriage.

If you love him
Credit: Son of Groucho on Flickr/Creative Commons License-Attribution

3. Neglect

In a relationship it is important for two people to spend time at home and with each other. If one partner is constantly out with friends, this might eventually lead to conflict when a spouse begins to feel left out or neglected. A habit of neglect is probably one of the biggest bad habits a partner can engage in because it may ultimately lead to divorce. When two people aren't spending enough "couple" time together, this can   impact communication and the other important factors in a relationship.

This is not to say that couples should spend all their free time together, but only that the relationship should not be neglected in favor of interests outside the relationship that may bring harm to the partnership. A few nights of too much time spent on Facebook may not be an issue, but when it goes on for months and months and shows no signs of stopping, this type of neglect can become a problem.

4. Finances

As the old saying goes, "Money talks". It is no different in relationships and, if a couple isn't careful, fighting over money can spell disaster in a marriage. Money is one of the biggest issues in marriages which are experiencing problems. It could be one partner is spending more money than is coming in, or it could be times are rough and there is not much money to spend in the first place. If one mate is spending an excessive amount of money without the other spouse's stamp of approval, this can also cause big marital strife.

Another money issue which can arise is if one member of the relationship secretly spends or stashes money without talking with his or her partner. If the other spouse finds out their mate is being secretive with money this can lead to other problematic issues, such as trust, which can be a huge factor. Hiding money, whether spending or saving, is one of the biggest issues that can arise in a marriage.

5. Cleanliness / Messiness

Leave your dirty clothes on the floor? Tend to leave behind a sloppy bathroom when heading off to work? If so, this could also create a marital wedge. 2 Unless both parties in the marriage are disorganized and unconcerned with tidiness, habits such as leaving a messy bathroom, kitchen or other room could be a large source of discontent.

Decluttering the bathroom (before)
Credit: Serene Vannoy on Flickr/CC BY 2.0 with Attribution

Too much cleanliness or messiness can be annoying to one partner and may lead to a wedge pushing a couple farther apart. While this may not a reason in itself to ruin a marriage, the tension and pressure which builds up with a constant stream of annoyance or bickering over one partner's messy habits might be the straw which breaks the proverbial camel's back if other serious issues are present.

6. Lying

Lying is another way a person can ruin his or her marriage. Another important cornerstone in the foundation of marriage is trust. Trust can be broken in many ways, including the aforementioned infidelity and money. Even if a spouse won't like what he or she is about to hear, it is always best to be truthful.  Lies are difficult to overcome because, ultimately, trust is destroyed, crumbling a part of the marital foundation. Many problems in a marriage can be repaired, but trust is not one of the easiest to fix.

Communication is Key

The marital dissension caused by bad habits can usually be resolved through communication and a conscious effort to be considerate to a spouse. While bad habits may not necessarily end a marriage, they can put a serious wedge between two people and make it difficult to live with one another. However, many problems can usually be avoided through open discussions and being totally honest with one another.

These are a few situations that could lead to problems in a marriage. People who are passionate about keeping a relationship solid understand which of the serious bad habits are the ones which should be shunned to keep their marriages happy, alive and intact.

However, when both persons are willing to work at it one or more of these types of problems, it is very common for some of these divides to be overcome. Whatever the issue, strong communication is key.

[ Related reading: The Role of Eye Contact in Intimacy ]

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Comments

Dec 10, 2014 11:47am
mommymommymommy
Congratulations on the feature! Marriage is hard work...I have been married to my husband for 27 years. When issues come up, you have to talk them out or the consequences may lead to separation. It has not always been a bed of roses, but with good communication you can work through almost anything.
Dec 10, 2014 2:02pm
LeighGoessl
Thanks so much Mommyx3. I agree, even though communication may bring an argument, the alternative is far worse (I had published another article about conflict avoidance a couple of weeks after this one...imo avoiding conflict can destroy a relationship. Gotta talk it out).
27 years! That's wonderful :).
Dec 12, 2014 1:24pm
Marlando
Hi--I write a lot about marriage and loved your article. Two big thumbs, a rating and you've gained a follower.
Dec 13, 2014 2:12am
LeighGoessl
Thank you so much Marlando. Much appreciated!
Dec 13, 2014 3:18am
RoseWrites
Communication is important, that's for sure. Thanks for pointing out some pitfalls. Thumbs and pinning.
Dec 15, 2014 2:44am
LeighGoessl
Thank you Rose :)
Dec 14, 2014 11:50am
SiTek
The first thing I wanted to say when I read the title is that communication is key, and there it is at the bottom, great article!
Dec 15, 2014 2:44am
LeighGoessl
Thanks so much SiTek!
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Bibliography

  1. "Sifting Through the Ruins of Infidelity ." New York Times. 06/05/2007. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  2. "Study reveals how a neat freak and a slob can live in peace." NBC Today. 03/08/2012. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  3. "Marriage Communication: How Does It Work?." Psych Central. 4/11/2014 <Web >

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