I sees many clients who are having marital problems because of the following bad habits. If you find yourself doing any of these things, consider changing your behavior or getting counseling.
1. You place social media above real communication.
This can be a big problem, especially with younger couples. Feeling that you’ve discussed something because you’ve texted, or because it’s on Facebook is not the same as actually communicating. Spending your free time surfing Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter when you could be having “face time” with your partner is a bad choice.
2. You start a fight after a bad night's sleep.
Whether it’s bad night’s sleep, trouble at work, lack of sex, or being ill or in pain; nothing is a good excuse for fighting. When you're cranky it's your responsibility to be aware of that and ask for some extra space, or find a way to take care of yourself. If you let your partner know it's a difficult day, that gives him or her a chance to be more thoughtful and considerate than usual...but every day can't be a bad day, so if you're always cranky, take a look at your lifestyle, and what you need to improve.
3. You talk money all the time.
Money is important, and I rarely see this problem in the couples I deal with. Most of the time, it's that they don’t talk money enough, and problems are discovered too late. If your spouse thinks you talk about money too much, pay attention. Are you obsessed? Or do you need some information about how to have effective money talks? Financial planning is very important for a happy marriage, but financial nagging and haranguing aren't the ways to go about it.
4. You're too attached to your phone.
Try this. Leave your phones at home the next time you go out to dinner, and see how much better the conversation between you is. I know the phone is tempting and easy, but don’t let it seduce you into neglecting your relationship and your partner. If you can’t control it, set times when you turn it off so you can focus on an important family discussion or romance.
5. You allow the in-laws to take control.
This can be a big problem. You and your partner are your primary family now. You need to discuss your in-laws and how to set boundaries with them. If your families have different styles and traditions, negotiate with each other first, then present a united front to your families. It’s time to "put away childish things" and change your relationship to your parents and siblings. It's important to be close to them, but not at the expense of your relationship.
6. You apologize instead of compromising.
If you're apologizing too much, consider that your partner may be abusive. If you did it before this relationship, then it's a self-esteem issue. Either way, it's a good time to go for therapy and get it sorted out. You need to learn how to stand your ground when it’s appropriate. Apology can be a good thing, a way to heal small rifts between you, but not if it's all one-sided.
7. You don't have time for fun.
This is a common, chronic problem for Americans today. We value work, and don't see the importance of recreation but, you need your down time, too. If all the fun goes out of your marriage or your life, you won't be a happy camper. Hark back to your dating days to see what you used to do for fun, and schedule time for some of that.
8. You use work to avoid problems at home.
Yes, work is easy. You usually know what you need to do , usually it's finite tasks with a goal. Relationship problems are much messier, you can't control them by yourself, and you must have the maturity and mutual respect it takes to work together to solve them. Consider problems at home to be just another task, like jobs at work. Your mate is your team partner, and you need to create a strategy for working together to solve them.
9. You forget the small signs of love.
Ah, so very important. Affection, politeness, and everyday sweetness are the WD-40 of your relationship. They make everything run smoother. Try a little sweetness or tenderness, and see what happens. Everything gets easier.
If you have any of these bad habits and you have trouble knowing what to do about it, "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find the counseling you may need.
Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Relationship has exercises and guidelines that can help you change these bad behaviors.
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