Are you guilty of these?
When it comes to making a marriage last and be successful, the most important thing we can focus on is effort. You can't expect for change to happen if both partners aren't willing to try new things and new ways of thinking.
If you rely on old, toxic behaviors to handle arguments and stressful situations, then you'll just find yourself in the same repetitive pattern over and over again. It's time to break the cycle and show your partner some love.
We reached out to some of our own relationship experts to figure out what some of the most common negative behavior patterns spouses have and how we can stop them. By simply recognizing that you need to change and finding the willingness to do so, you're already making huge progress toward a better marriage.
1. Choosing stress over fun.
It's so easy to get sucked into the drama of fighting with your significant other. And while it may feel easier to just be angry and upset with them, simply changing your mindset about the situation can do wonders. "Choosing to ignore pleasure and turn to living in stress and chaos can, over time, severely damage your marriage," says relationships coach Pam Denton. "The unprocessed emotions and unspoken words generated in stressful moments can diminish pleasure and leave your marriage dried up and dying for attention. Choosing stress can alter your intimacy and put walls around your heart, making you inaccessible to love."
2. Fighting dirty instead of asking for what you want.
Arguing with your spouse can get ugly real quick if you're not careful. Rather than lash out at each other with insults, try clearly communicating what's bothering you and how you want the situation to resolve. “Marriage isn’t easy, and it’s normal for partners to get upset with each other occasionally," say Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster, experts on parenting complex kids. "But the tendency to 'throw out barbs' and make 'snarky comments,' instead of clearly expressing our concerns or desires, can slowly but surely dampen feelings of ardor and replace them with hidden resentments (that are usually not as hidden as we think). Instead of back-handed comments, or under-breath muttering, try simply and clearly asking for what you want, without blaming. Focus on the dream of what you DO want, not the complaint of what you don’t want — and make sure your tone of voice sounds caring (or at least neutral) instead of full of (not-so-hidden) venom.”
3. Forgetting about the importance of affection.
You should always make an effort to be affectionate towards your partner, no matter how long you guys have been together. When you get lazy, your partner will start to feel unwanted and unloved, which can lead to a multitude of other problems. “The Gottmans' research has found couples are always making bids of affection towards one another," says marriage and family therapist Lianne Avila. "It can be as simple as a smile or asking your partner out on a date. What's important is the bid is done out of love and that your partner gets the bid. When you turn away from your partner, it will take turning toward five times. We call this the 5 to 1 ratio.”