The danger to most marriages isn’t infidelity, or any of the other “big” things we tend to think of when we think of marriages dissolving. Even if infidelity is involved, the problems started long before that line was crossed. No one in a healthy marriage wakes up and says “I think I’ll have an affair today.”
No, as I mention in my book, Intentional Marriage, ruining a healthy marriage is a “slow fade” to borrow the Casting Crowns phrase. It is one bad decision at a time, a little bit of complacency at a time. So, if you’re interested in ruining your marriage? You can try these steps:
1. Criticize your spouse.
Girl, you deserve the absolute best, and if you aren’t getting it, you need to tell him all about it. Nag him about everything. Analyze, criticize and micromanage everything he does. After all, if he isn’t doing it your way, he’s doing it wrong. If he hasn’t messed up lately, be sure to bring up all his past mistakes!
While you’re at it, complain about him to your girlfriends, crack belittling jokes about him in social settings, whether he’s standing right there or not. I mean, how else are you going to fit in with your friends? What can we talk about if we don’t make fun of our husbands? These days, you’re accused of being a fuddy-duddy if you don’t.
Finally, while you’re criticizing, go ahead and ream him about his family, too. They are just the people who raised him for all these years.
2. Be selfish.
Focus on your needs and wants, not his. He isn’t meeting your needs and that’s all that matters. He doesn’t deserve any effort from you. Make a mental list of all the ways that he isn’t living up to his side of things in your marriage. But don’t dare think about any of your own failures. Refuse to change until he does.
Since you’re being selfish, you should probably go ahead and tack on some unreasonable expectations, and expect him to fill the void in your life that only Jesus can fill. If you aren’t feeling complete or fulfilled, it must be your husband’s fault. Yet another reason you shouldn’t do anything to meet his needs. They aren’t as important as yours anyway.
If you do have faults, you can easily find excuses and justifications for them.
3. Ignore your spouse.
Dating? That ends after you say, “I do.” right? Don’t spend time with him. Don’t try to learn his love languages.
Don’t make him a priority. You need time with your girlfriends. Your kids need time with you. You live with your spouse every day, you shouldn’t have to make time with him a priority. Go ahead and multi-task when you’re spending time with him. It’s not your fault that you just have too much stuff to do.
And, obviously between his lack of attention and your to-do list, he should understand why there is little passion in the relationship. You shouldn’t have to try and force it. Don’t bother.
Since you’re already married, there is no need to make any effort–not at kindness, or appearance, or spending time together.
While you’re ignoring him, you need someone to talk to, so you might as well go ahead and friend your old flame on facebook and strike up an innocent “remember when” conversation. Or have a couple of close friends of the opposite sex to confide in and spend time alone with. You need a male perspective about things, that’s all.
4. Fight dirty.
Having an argument? Be sure to take everything he says in the worst possible way. And then bring up all his past mistakes. And try to read his mind. You already know what he’s thinking and what he’s going to say so why let him speak at all.
Don’t like to argue? That’s okay, you don’t need to. You can just sulk and stew, until your anger and hurt feelings take root in your heart to make you bitter.
You should be as intolerant and unforgiving as possible. Mistakes are not allowed in this house. At least, not his. We aren’t thinking about yours. Because you’re always right. Always.
5. Play the comparison game.
Your husband isn’t meeting your needs, but all of your friends have perfect husbands. Susie’s husband is more thoughtful. Kelly’s husband makes more money than yours and takes her on vacation. Sally’s husband is more fun and outgoing. The list just goes on and on. Why can’t your husband be more like that, because then, you would be happy.
Combine all the best qualities of your friends’ husbands and combine them into one perfect man, making it impossible for your husband to measure up.
And, there you go. You’re well on your way to a ruined marriage.
However, if you would like to nurture your marriage instead, I would recommend that you check out my book, Intentional Marriage. In it, I share some devotionals and challenges to encourage us wives to be more intentional in loving our husbands. But it really just starts with intentional daily kindness, and commitment to your marriage.
Obviously, this is written very tongue-in-cheek. But unfortunately, these are habits that take root in our marriages every day. I have been guilty of many of them myself.
What would you add to the list of what not to do?