April 26, 2012

Five Things Never to Do in Marriage

 

I started out the A-to-Z Challenge with the word Always—as in the things to always practice in your marriage. As an accompaniment to that list, here are five things to Never do in your marriage:

  • Never utter the word “divorce,” especially not in an argument. Generally, you don’t mean it {and you’ll regret it later}. Allowing that word to penetrate your relationship will erode your trust for one another and plant an idea in your minds that this marriage may not be worth your effort. If either of you are really thinking seriously about divorce, there are COUNTLESS alternatives worth trying before you get to that point. {Here’s just one worth considering if you live in the DFW area.}
  • Never withhold love to try to get what you want. That’s called manipulation, and it’s another tool that erodes trust. Instead, speak honestly about what’s upsetting you, and ask your spouse to engage in active listening so that together you can try to resolve the issue.
  • Never walk out without an explanation. It’s OK to need time apart in the midst of conflict, especially if things are getting heated. But instead of playing the drama card, very calmly assure your spouse that you love him or her and you want to resolve the conflict but that you just need a little time alone to think and process before continuing. Then go and do that. {Avoid, using the time to distract yourself. Figure out your part of the conflict, and go back when you’re ready to admit where you were wrong.}
  • Never speak slanderous words about your spouse, publically or privately. Instead, treat each other with respect, even if you feel he/she doesn’t deserve it. You are only harming your marriage if you run to friends or parents to complain about your spouse. And publically degrading your spouse is completely inexcusable and cowardly. {By the way, this includes venting on social media.} Be diligent to handle your conflicts on a regular basis so resentment doesn’t build up.
  • Never seek solace with someone of the opposite sex. Sharing the intimate details of your marital struggles with a friend or co-worker of the opposite sex is a recipe for disaster. You may be tempted to entertain thoughts like “he/she understands me better than my spouse” or “he/she is a much better listener.” You might find comfort in the moment, but seeking out and creating emotional intimacy with someone other than your spouse sets you on a path you don’t want to be on. Instead, invest your energy with the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, and work together to heal and repair the challenging and broken parts of your relationship.

P.S. I am not the wise one here. These are ALL mistakes I’ve already made in relationships prior to our marriage. By God’s grace, since then, I’ve had the privilege to receive wise counsel from women more mature than me, and I’ve watched God heal many, many marriages of people who were willing to do the Always list and avoid the Never list.

P.P.S. I know there’s a possibility that one or more of you reading this list has committed one of these NEVERS. I just read an insightful post by Michael Hyatt about how to rebuild trust once it’s been broken. Don’t despair. All is not lost.

Except for the month of April, once a week on Mondays I am writing about marital conflict and communication in my Make-Up-Monday series. I welcome readers to share the conflicts they’ve worked through in their marriages, and when there aren’t any brave volunteers, I share some of ours. If you have submissions, ideas, thoughts or suggestions on specific conflict-related topics, please let me know. I’ll be picking it back on Monday, May 7th.

As always…I’d love to know what you have to add to this list in the comments. What are your “Nevers”?

Originally Published: April 26, 2012
Category: Marriage
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