Earlier this week, I spotted a clever post on Money Saving Mom called 5 Ways to Ruin Your Day — Guaranteed.
Of course, nobody sets out with that goal in mind, but as I read through her list, I realized that from time to time, I’ve been guilty of every single one of them (with the possible exception of #3).
And sure enough, when I think back to days I’ve devoted to such self-defeating activities, they don’t normally rank among my most productive or joyous.
I thought perhaps a similar tongue-in-cheek post about marriage might kindle some comparable sparks of recognition.
Nobody sets out with the goal of ruining their marriage in mind, but — unfortunately — that’s the position in which many couples find themselves.
Maybe if we could recognize the habits that are undermining our relationships early enough, we could change our ways before it’s too late.
So, in that spirit, I offer you…
7 Ways to Ruin Your Marriage — Guaranteed:
Put yourself first.
Always look out for #1. Make everything about you. Prioritize your needs and marginalize his. If you have children, put them ahead of Daddy, as well. Your husband is a big boy; he’s old enough to take care of himself.
Dwell on his flaws.
Focus all your attention on those things he does that most annoy you. Blind yourself to any good traits, and zero in on the bad ones. Who cares if he is a hard worker if he’s irresponsible with money? What does it matter that he’s a loving and devoted father if he’s also a complete slob?
Assume the worst.
Assign a malignant motive to anything he does that you don’t like. If he really loved you, he would know how much it bothers you and stop doing it. Convince yourself he’s acting that way on purpose, just to tick you off.
Refuse to forgive.
Whenever he forgets your anniversary or loses his temper or leaves his dirty socks on the floor, make sure he knows that he has seriously flubbed up. Glare at him with disapproval or, better yet, give him a cold shoulder. The longer you hold a grudge, the less likely he’ll be to make the same mistake in the future.
Don’t just give him respect — make him earn it. The harder he works to win your approval, the more he’ll appreciate it once he gets it. (Until then, feel free to disparage him as much as you like, both to his face and behind his back.)
Turn him down.
You don’t have to have sex to have a good marriage. The sooner your husband understands that, the better. Why make love when you can make excuses? If he’s in the mood and you aren’t, just tell him to go take a cold shower. Put him off enough, and he’ll eventually give up and stop bugging you about it.
Don’t accept personal responsibility for any of the problems in your marriage — they are all your husband’s fault. Even your own poor attitudes can be pinned on him: If he were the kind of husband he ought to be, you wouldn’t react the way you do. If he’d get his act together, yours would quickly follow.
The good news is, you don’t have to do all these things at once to ruin your marriage. Just doing one or two of them habitually is usually enough to make most couples miserable.
Of course, if you’d rather nurture your marriage than destroy it, then simply do the opposite of this list: Place more importance on your husband’s needs than your own (Philippians 2:3-4), focus on the positive (Philippians 4:8), believe the best (1 Corinthians 13:7), forgive freely (Colossians 3:13), shower him with respect (Ephesians 5:33), don’t deny him physically (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), and own up to your own failings instead of pointing fingers (James 5:16).
More Secrets to a Successful, God-Honoring Marriage
For more marriage wisdom and encouragement, check out the following books. They reject the faulty thinking of modern-day culture and build instead upon clear, biblical principles that are both time-tested and effective.
- Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage
- 25 Way to Communicate Respect for Your Husband: A Handbook for Wives
- 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife: A Handbook for Husbands
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Have you ever gone looking for a laser pointer and God hands you a mirror instead? That’s what happened to me recently. We are currently expecting blessing number 5, have more than we deserve and are surrounded with beautiful, faithful friends. Still life gets busy and stressful and people get cranky. Things here had been tense for no apparent reason, but tense none the less. My husband and I had a couple of disagreements in which I ended up yelling at him. I found myself feeling completely entitled as I “typically keep my mouth shut and he needed to hear it”. Fortunately as I was busy trying to find that laser pointer to shine on all my husbands faults, God provided me a mirror through 2 of your posts; this one and “25 ways to communicate respect”. With these tools I was able to get off my high horse and see the errors (intended to be plural) in my ways. I was focusing on my needs and his mistakes. Heaven forbid anyone follow me around and point out every time I don’t get it quite right. I immediately put into action your suggestions and even sent him a list of specific things I would be doing to honor him and this family. Thank you for being a light even when it shines in places we don’t want to see. BTW, I’ll leave out the positive impact it’s had on our “alone time”. 😉 Thanks again and May God Bless you abundantly.
Jennifer Flanders says
That’s a great analogy, Erin. I think we should all trade in our laser pointers for mirrors, as mirrors prove much more useful when we are removing the plank from our own eye, as Jesus tells us to do. I’m so glad your heart was receptive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and I pray He will strengthen your resolve to be more honoring of your husband going forward. Thanks for taking time to write. That means a lot to me. 🙂
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I’m going to write out those verses and stick it up somewhere!
Jennifer Flanders says
It always makes me happy to hear a particular post was timely in the life of a reader. Thanks for taking time to encourage me with those words today!