Top 10 Relationship Killers

The biggest threats to watch out for in your marriage.

“We’re getting a divorce,” she explained, with a look of disappointment on her face.

Her tone of voice changed as she tried to look on the bright side. “But it’s for the best. Things haven’t been working out for the past few years. We’re just too different.”

Her words echoed in my mind for hours after our conversation ended. I thought about the list of differences my husband and I possess. We are so different in so many ways. Could it really be possible that a couple can be “too different” to have a thriving marriage? The thought didn’t sit well with me.

As a Professional Counselor, every day I see couples who come into therapy with their marriage on life-support. But their struggles often have nothing to do with the trauma of affairs, addictions or abuse. Instead, they are dying a rather slow and painful death.

Phrases like, “We’re too different” or “We’ve grown apart” or “Life has just gotten the best of us” sound so innocent, yet are extremely lethal.

There are so many factors that can get in the way of a good marriage, but often, they are the small, unnoticed things that make their way in. In order to make sure our marriages survive and thrive, here are some relationship killers every couple should be on the lookout for:

1. Family Priorities

There’s no such thing as living in neutral, because drifting happens the moment we stop moving forward.

The top relationship stress for most couples has little to do with their relationship and much to do with the relationships they are surrounded by. The role of your parents, in-laws, siblings and friends all shift the moment you say “I do,” because when you join together as one, you’ve chosen to put your spouse above all others. Too many marriages are struggling simply due to a lack of priorities—finding themselves pulled by everyone else in every which way, except toward each other. Healthy marriages learn to choose one another above all others.

2. Lack of Communication

It’s true that the average couple invests in quality conversation only a few minutes a day. It’s easy to let life get busy and stop connecting with the one you love. But there’s no such thing as living in neutral, because drifting happens the moment we stop moving forward. Take the time to connect and communicate with your spouse often.

3. Stress

It’s so easy to take our stress out on our spouse. We can get into the habit of holding things in until we’re in the safety and comfort of our home, and then we explode. From financial problems, to illness, job-loss and grief, healthy couples allow their stress to pull them together, by relying on each other, sharing it with one another and carrying the load together.

4. Technology

I read a blog post recently about a guy getting a divorce ... except this guy chose to divorce his phone. But it makes sense, because so many of us carry this dangerous relationship killer right in our back pocket. In the world of technology crazed, iPhone carrying, Facebook posting mania, it’s no joke that we find our time slipping away into the inanimate instead of investing it into the intimate. Unplug, disconnect, shut down—and invest in your spouse.

5. Selfishness

Marriage is one huge, ongoing, life lesson in “unselfishness.” And we’ll either allow the experience to make us better—or we’ll grow bitter. Putting someone first is an incredibly hard task because our flesh is wired to choose self.

Each time we say yes to ourselves, we’re saying no to our marriage, because marriage is not about Him vs. Her, it’s about We vs. Me.

6. Unforgiveness

Forgiving and forgetting are not one in the same. When we fail to realize that, we will hold on to our hurts for a very long time. And eventually those hurts begin wreaking havoc on our lives from the inside out. But forgiveness is not about excusing the other person, it’s about freeing ourselves to receive healing from the God who forgives us time and time and time again.

7. Loose Boundaries

We tend to think about offensive play in marriage, forgetting that defensive strategy is just as important. We can be doing all the right things, while still failing to keep out the things that are harmful. Draw a circle around your marriage, and protect it by guarding your emotions, your interactions, and the way you spend your time.

8. The Past

The most paralyzing thing we can do for our relationship is to define our spouse by their past, rather than by who they are in the present. The past may impact our lives, but it will only control our present if we allow it to. It’s important to be real with one another about our pasts, but more important, to respect one other’s pasts by seeing what God is doing in the life of our spouse here and now. Forget what is behind so that you can move toward what is ahead.

9. Dishonesty

The most paralyzing thing we can do for our relationship is to define our spouse by their past, rather than by who they are in the present.

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Why is a small lie just as dangerous as a big lie? Because they both have the same impact on intimacy. Honesty in marriage is like the chain that holds you together. Removing one link or 10 links does the same thing: it causes separation. If you’ve made mistakes in your relationship or have been hiding things from your spouse, now is the time to seek truth and confession; because a relationship riddled with dishonesty is no relationship at all.

10. Pride

“I am my biggest marriage problem” is the theme of Paul Tripp’s work in the field of relationships. To be able to look in, then, is the greatest step toward nourishing a relationship—to be aware enough to recognize and restore your flaws and shortcomings before fixating on those of your spouse. But the sting of pride can make that really hard to do. It’s so much easier to point the finger and to shift the blame. But the moment you let go of your responsibility, you’ve let go of your relationship—because no matter what the issue at hand: it always takes two.

It’s time to consider where you’ve let your guard down before these sly intruders make their way in. May God continue to give you the wisdom to recognize these patterns and to lookout for the “small stuff” by protecting, nourishing and prioritizing your marriage.

This article was originally posted at truelovedates.com

Top Comments

Josh Wooler

6

Josh Wooler replied to Daved Crouder's comment

It's rare that a couple is unable to get enough time apart and if a partner says they need more time alone they probably need to question deeper issues. In saying that there are some circumstances for example a friend of mine works from home with his wife and live in a tiny apartment so they are together almost all the time. He just makes sure he goes on regular runs or does things to get out of the house and be alone to think and pray.

Aris Llamera Moreno

1

Aris Llamera Moreno commented…

Let me add “jealousy” to this list. When it comes to relationships, jealousy may have a positive effect because it is a way to show how much you value and love your partner. However, if it is too much, it can lead to possessiveness which we all know is one of the primary reasons why relationships fail. “The more possessive you become, the more your partner will turn away from you.”

You may want to read my blog post similar to this one: http://www.theoptimistblog.com/2015/06/top-20-relationship-killers.html

Thanks in advance. :-)

Aris

17 Comments

Brett

194

Brett commented…

Great stuff Debra, love how you keep speaking life into marriages and good to have a list of ten rather than three as each relationship is always so different and interesting to see how one thing that can be such a huge deal in my own marriage is not even an issue for a friend and vice versa...

Probably could be a list of 100 things but you have definitely picked up on some of the more significant ones like pride, selfishness and communication. I would definitely add 'ways of conflict' to that list as an issue we have been trying to find better ways to 'get right' in our own marriage...

But yes, love the extensive resources coming out of Relevant and continuing to add to some of the amazing marriage resources on my own site, which are largely stories of people who are walking or have walked a journey as i find it so helpful to listen to those who have trod the path before: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/married-people-and-how-to-mayb...

Keep on championing marriage, and all relationships
love brett fish

Kendall Orton

2

Kendall Orton commented…

I love this! I'm serving as a missionary right now, and I have to be with my companion 24/7. Believe me when I say, no matter how much I love the kid, there are definitely things I do not like about him. I'm in the process of learning just how hard relationships are, but I'm so excited to work together with a wife I love to build a relationship that will last forever. I know God wants that happiness for me and my future wife, and I pray for his help in learning the lessons I need to make it happen and live for her. I learned a lot from this article called "Why Marry?"I invite you to check it out. Let me know what you think! Thank you for this!

Daved Crouder

43

Daved Crouder commented…

How about lack of space? Marriage isn't about we vs. Me, its about two people living their lives and choosing to share them with each other

Josh Wooler

6

Josh Wooler replied to Daved Crouder's comment

It's rare that a couple is unable to get enough time apart and if a partner says they need more time alone they probably need to question deeper issues. In saying that there are some circumstances for example a friend of mine works from home with his wife and live in a tiny apartment so they are together almost all the time. He just makes sure he goes on regular runs or does things to get out of the house and be alone to think and pray.

Jennifer John

5

Jennifer John replied to Josh Wooler's comment

I am very happy today for what God used (Dr ATASE) the great spell caster to do in my life. My name is Greg i had a fight with my wife in the past which led to our breakup. I tried all i could to make her come back to me but she refuse and said it was over between us, one day i came across a testimony on the internet on how (Dr ATASE)used his spell to reunite two lovers so i decided to contact (Dr ATASE) via email and he assured me that my wife will come back to me within 2 day after he has finish the spell.I am very glad today to tell the world that (Dr ATASE) is truly a man of his word because my wife came back to me and fell on her knees begging me to forgive her and accept her back. Do you have a problem ? You can easily contact him through his email id which is indiaspelltemple@yahoo.com ..
This would be all, please you can also help me share this to those who needs it. Again his email is indiaspelltemple@yahoo.com Thanks

Aris Llamera Moreno

1

Aris Llamera Moreno commented…

Let me add “jealousy” to this list. When it comes to relationships, jealousy may have a positive effect because it is a way to show how much you value and love your partner. However, if it is too much, it can lead to possessiveness which we all know is one of the primary reasons why relationships fail. “The more possessive you become, the more your partner will turn away from you.”

You may want to read my blog post similar to this one: http://www.theoptimistblog.com/2015/06/top-20-relationship-killers.html

Thanks in advance. :-)

Aris

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