Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Family Share. It has been reprinted here with permission.
Marriage is not always an easy institution — especially when couples choose to take a nonchalant approach. Some couples depend on one person to put in all the effort. Or, they take the marriage for granted. But marriage needs attention and nourishment. Marriage is a serious sacrament that takes the effort of two people to create a successful family.
My current marriage started off a tad rocky. We had both been previously divorced. When we decided to commit to each other, both of us were guilty of reenacting similar mistakes from our earlier marriages. There was a lack of communication and high expectations. But, when we recognized history was repeating itself, we decided to take a step back and reevaluate our relationship. Do we walk away from the marriage or work towards a healthy marriage?
While working toward a healthy marriage, we realized we were approaching certain situations the wrong way. We'd fallen into some common marriage traps.
Here are some of those issues that frequently cause problems in marriages:
Disrespecting your spouse. Sometimes married couples believe name calling, cursing or raising a hand at each other is acceptable to get a point across or to release frustrations. Instead of throwing insults, talk. The idea of talking sounds unreasonable if the couple is angry, but civilized and honest conversations are crucial in a marriage.
Taking your spouse for granted. Thank your spouse for doing things for you. Many couples assume that because they are already married, spouses is expected to do certain things. It doesn’t always work that way. When my husband does something for me or I do something for him, we always say thank you. For example, if my husband happens to do my chores around the house because I am involved in something else, I always thank him for taking on that extra workload. I don't just expect it from him.
Interrupting your spouse during a conversation. If you interrupt your spouse while he is explaining a situation or venting about a hard day at work, you are only demonstrating lack of interest. It’s rude and careless. Give your spouse the time to talk. If you must cut in, do so politely.
Speaking negatively about your spouse to others. One of the biggest mistakes in a marriage is saying unkind things about your spouse to others — even if they are friends or family members. You are letting others know you have little to no admiration for your spouse. You also seem to have no regard for your marriage. Stay away from revisiting your spouse’s past and using that information as a reason to say negative things. If you have nothing positive to say, try saying nothing at all.
Arguing in front of the children. Children are sponges. They absorb everything they see and hear. If they are in the same room where you and your spouse are having a heavy disagreement, it will affect them.
Anger and rudeness have no place in a marriage. Marriage is about respect, support and love. It’s about two people putting their best foot forward. A husband and a wife should work together, not against each other.
Mayra Bitsko is a freelance writer, the author of A Second Chance and The Past Beckons and holds a master's degree in business administration-accounting. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.