7 ways couples can harm their marriage without even realizing it.

7 ways couples can harm their marriage without even realizing it. October 8, 2014

As I’ve interacted with couples from all over the world, I’ve found that many of the issues that ultimately lead to infidelity and divorce happen by accident. People don’t usually set out to sabotage their marriage and wind up in divorce court, but small choices can ultimately lead to big disasters. Subtle poor choices along the way can pile up like a snowball rolling down a hill until it’s big enough to start an avalanche of consequences.

Below are seven of the most common ways people can harm their marriage (sometimes without even realizing it). Avoid these and you’ll be safeguarding your marriage. For additional ways to build a more intimate marriage, check out our new video series, “Best Sex Life Now,” by clicking here.

(In no particular order):

1. Not wearing a wedding ring.

People might just not be into jewelry or not think it’s a big deal, but wearing a ring can be a first line of defense against adultery. For more practical reasons to wear your ring, check out our hugely popular (and somewhat controversial) post on Three reasons to wear your wedding ring.

2. Digital distractions.

Sometimes I give my iPhone more attention than I give my wife, and that can’t happen! Do your best to keep screens turned off as much as possible when you’re together with your spouse. Talking with your spouse is always better than texting with somebody else (or playing Candy Crush, or checking facebook, etc.).

3. Inconsistency in parenting.

Raising kids is one of the most sacred duties on earth, but it can also harm your marriage if you don’t have a unified approach with your spouse. Ashley and I don’t argue much, but many (if not most) of our disagreements have come out of miscommunications about parenting. For more on this, check out our post on 7 ways parents can harm their children without even realizing it.

4. Flirting.

This one is two-fold, because we harm our marriages when we STOP flirting with our spouse or when we START flirting with anybody else! Flirting within marriage is always helpful, but flirting outside of your marriage is always harmful!

5. Porn (and/or graphic romance novels).

Many couples think porn is a harmless fantasy that can actually spice things up in the bedroom if they watch it together, but the truth is that porn is an enemy of real intimacy. For more on this, check out our post The Truth about Porn.

6. Autopilot.

Cable TV companies give their best rates and service at the beginning but then treat you much worse after the “promotional period” expires. Sadly, many marriages look like this. We give each other our best at the beginning of the relationship, but then get into “autopilot” and stop giving each other our best.

7. Negative friends.

Your friends have the unique ability to encourage your marriage or to discourage your marriage. Make sure you’re hanging out with people who love you AND love your spouse. Choose friends who will strengthen your character and remove yourself from people who would tempt you to compromise your character.

For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, please check out our newest book, Marriage Minute: Quick & Simple Ways to Build a Divorce-Proof Relationship which is now also available on iTunes as an ebook download for iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices by clicking here.

couple feet

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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  • Londy Williams-Cooper

    Didn’t agree with most of these, but some were on target

  • GoodDad

    I like most of your points, Pastor Willis. As usual, if you believe in a covenant type of marriage, what can you do if your spouse breaks these rules? The answer: nothing! What good is such advice if both partners are free to do as they please with no consequences? Christians have got to change the paradigm on marriage and start holding each other responsible for their behavior if we’re going to see Christian divorce rates drop.

  • G Pinky Harrington

    U forgot cheating lying & hiding things

  • ptmohr

    If a marriage is actually covenantal, then it would fall under the authority of church discipline. Someone violating the public marriage covenant would be liable to the discipline of the elders of the church community.

  • ptmohr

    In what you describe, either the “performance-based” model is actually a “covenantal” model in disguise or it is doomed to fail.

    The only condition that preserves the marriage when one of the spouses fails is that the spouses both equally value the marriage over each other’s individual shortcomings. This is covenantal—valuing the existence of the relationship over the shortcomings of the parties involved.

    If it were actually performance-based (i.e., “contractual”) there would be no point for correction. Failure in any deed, under the judgment of the other spouse, could break the marriage contract.