At its best, marriage can be challenging. Yet some people harm their marriages through their own behavior. The following are some ways in which you can do damage to your own marriage:
1. Whisper words of criticism and put downs in your spouse’s ear. Doing this will eventually destroy his or her confidence. You might think that if you whisper these words, you can save face with your friends. After all, you know if they were to hear what you whispered they might think you were rude, immature, and perhaps even a jerk. This way, you can quietly tear down your spouse while pretending to be supportive and loving before friends and family. If she objects, then you can say, “I was just joking.” The idea seems to be that if one claims to be joking, responsibility for any hurt can be denied.
2. Focus your attention on other women/men instead of your spouse. If you are caught flirting with another, be sure to blame your spouse. “Well, what am I supposed to do? It’s nice to get some attention! Maybe if you would be a better husband (or wife), I wouldn’t find this person so attractive.”
Some focus on others by using pornography. This will allow you to live in a fantasy world where you can stare at a computer screen or lose yourself in an erotic novel instead of having to grow up and commit to tender loving marital intimacy with your spouse.
3. Ignore your spouse. You can destroy your marriage over time by just doing nothing. Basically, you can live in the same house and totally ignore one another. You can ignore his/her desires, needs, and longings. There are homes where night after night married people do nothing but stare at their phones or the television. A marriage can be destroyed over time by doing absolutely nothing.
Such behavior is beneath a Christ follower After all, marriage is for grown-ups. Marriage is for people who are serious about giving their attention to another.
Unfortunately, some people have spouses who refuse to grow up. The behavior of the immature spouse is not just a nuisance. This behavior can chip away at the marriage.
Does it make any sense to get married and then participate in the very destruction of your marriage? I don’t think so.
So where do you start?
- Begin with prayer. Pray for your marriage and for your own behavior within that marriage.
- Is the way I am treating my spouse the best reflection of how God treats me? If not, where do I need to begin changing my own behavior?
- If I were to be attentive to my spouse, how might my behavior be different?