10 Seriously Messed-Up Things Your Spouse Should Never Do

These problematic things are not OK in marriage.

couple on boat together Sarayut Sridee / Shutterstock

Good marriage advice will tell you that once you’ve said your vows and invested years of your life in a person, it can be easy to overlook or excuse their behavior. 

You may be used to it, or worried about what might happen if you bring it up in conversation.

While every relationship has its own unique set of standards, rules, and problems, there are certain things you should never put up with in your marriage.


Openly discussing your feelings and concerns with your spouse is an important first step — not only does it allow you to address any issues, but also gives your spouse the chance to change their behavior. However, if your spouse doesn’t improve after you’ve voiced your concerns, they might not ever change.

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Here are 10 seriously messed-up things your spouse should never do:

1. They lie all the time

We all tell the occasional white lie to our partners (“Dinner was great” or “No that dress doesn’t make you look fat,”) but lying habitually is bad for any relationship.

If you catch your partner lying to other people, be it their boss, friends, or family, that’s just as much a cause for concern as them lying to you. It can be tough to approach this situation but nip it in the bud, and if it keeps happening — especially to you — it may be time to walk away. 

2. They are rude to your friends or your family

We’ve all seen movies where the partner doesn’t get along with their in-laws or spouse’s friends. While it can be funny on television, when it happens in real life it’s much more dramatic and disappointing than you expect.

If your spouse is constantly rude or belittling to your friends or relatives then it may be time to call it a day or get some serious help. Having a general lack of respect for the people who are important to you is also a lack of respect towards you. Your spouse should care about those who matter to you, and no amount of excuses or period of time can justify their behavior.


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3. They are emotionally negligent or abusive

Don’t convince yourself that your spouse’s negative actions toward you are normal for a long-term relationship or that it “comes with time.” If your spouse is controlling, puts you down or constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, then you're being emotionally abused.

If you’ve considered leaving before, but they threatened to hurt you or themselves then you may want to think about getting them some professional help. You can't blame yourself. It’s wrong for your spouse to treat you this way, no matter how much you’ve been through together. 

4. They treat you like a maid, a cook, or the bank

This is another one that Hollywood likes to make a mockery of, but if you can relate to the spouse who is always expected to clean, cook, or hand out cash then you’re not in a healthy marriage. Sure it’s normal and loving to help your spouse when you can.


For instance, if you’re out and they ask you to pick up the kids — cool. But if you get home to find your partner on the couch while the dinner, laundry, and cleaning are still expected to be done by you — not so cool.

It’s not normal (or fair) for one spouse to be expected to handle the majority of the chores, expenses, and responsibilities. Being married is about partnership and wanting what’s best for one another. 

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5. They fill your relationship with ultimatums

At this point in your relationship, you should feel secure and loved. If your spouse gives you their love and attention on the basis that you do something for them, then something’s not right.


Ultimatums are tricky because they can often be disguised or delivered playfully. For example, “If you don’t come shopping with me today we’re getting a divorce.” You’d never actually believe that, right? The problem starts when almost everything you end up doing is enforced by threats or fear.

When it comes to heavier topics, look for ultimatums that your spouse may be giving you. For example, if they say that you need to get pregnant by a certain time or it’s over. It is never normal for your spouse to put stipulations on your marriage. If the issue is there, address it. 

6. They either withhold sex or make it all about their own pleasure

As much as sex is about feeling good, it’s also about making your spouse feel good. While it’s true that every couple has off nights, or spouses have “their turn” in bed, if your sex life has become all about pleasing your spouse then something has to change.

Having sex with a selfish or lazy partner is not enjoyable and it can make you feel unworthy and unloved.


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7. They refuse to talk about the tough stuff

Every relationship experiences its share of problems and it’s being able to talk through them that keeps a marriage strong and healthy. If your spouse refuses to talk about the tough stuff with you then you could be headed for a divorce.

Un-addressed issues can only go so long before they resurface, and when they do come back, they’re usually twice as much of an issue to deal with.

Bottling up your emotions, pushing aside your problems, or laughing off serious issues is like poison to a marriage. Let your spouse know that you need to work on your communication as a couple, and if they refuse then it may be time to call it quits.


8. They don't fully support you

A big part of being married is being on the same team. A big part of being on the same team is supporting one another. If your spouse doesn’t support your dreams, goals or ambitions then you should be doing more than just wondering why.

Whether your spouse actively discourages you from pursuing your goals or they don’t show interest in your achievements, their lack of support is unloving and disrespectful. Your spouse should be invested in your success and happiness — after all, you’re married! Don’t put up with someone who doesn’t cheer you on.

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9. They become very angry or aggressive

If your spouse has the temper of a rhino then you may want to run away. Just because you married this person and said “for better or for worse” that doesn’t mean you deserve to listen to their rage.

Your happiness and being with someone who brings out the best in you is important. The stress of being around someone who is constantly angry or aggressive is unhealthy. While it’s great that your spouse is comfortable enough to express his feelings around you, that doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to unleash their wrath, too.

10. They cheated on you

This is an obvious one, but cheating should never be tolerated in a marriage, whether it’s physical or emotional. In no way are you obligated to put up with cheating just because you’ve been with your spouse for some time. Even if the idea of life without your partner terrifies you, think long and hard about the pros of staying together, then ask yourself if you’d be happier without your spouse.

If your partner cheats and you decide to work through things, great. However, if your partner continues to cheat time and time again, then you need to stand your ground and do what’s best for you. Remember, cheating doesn't "just happen" and it's not "normal" or a thing that "all couples go through."


To work through the incident your spouse needs to truly be sorry for their actions and willing to give up the affair. Even then you have the right to walk away if you feel that you deserve better.

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Brad Browning is a relationship coach and expert from Vancouver, Canada with over 10 years of experience working with couples to repair and improve relationships.