When it comes to relationships – especially long-term relationships – underlying issues can silently tick along for months or even years before finally blowing up and causing major damage. Here are eight of the most common.
- Ignoring your partner’s complaints. For whatever reason, people often stop listening to their partner’s legitimate complaints about the relationship, be they about money, housework, sex, in-laws, texting, etc. You may not agree with your partner’s complaints — you don’t have to — but you do have to listen to them with humility and an open heart so that you can work together to resolve them.
- Not showing enough appreciation. Feeling unappreciated is a common lament in almost all troubled marriages. It’s also exactly the kind of long-simmering complaint that can unexpectedly boil over to make a real mess of things.
- Having opposite-sex friendships. Opposite-sex friendships – especially of the time-consuming and overly familiar variety – don’t create problems in marriage…until they do. At some point, they are likely to lead to suspicion, insecurity and feelings of divided loyalty between spouses. Plus, opposite-sex friendships (especially of the sort enabled by personal forms of technology) can chip away at trust and are often the gateway to emotional and sexual extramarital affairs.
- Having a child-centered marriage. Of course, a couple’s attention is going to be focused primarily on the kids, especially when the kids are young; however, kids shouldn’t be the only focus. As the years go by, it’s far too common for couples to lose sight of their own romantic partnership – the foundation of marriage itself – and to go from being loving partners to dutiful co-parents. And that’s about as sexy as it sounds.
- Speaking of sex…letting sex slip off the radar is another relationship time-bomb that can sneak up on a couple. Sex is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing. So use it. As much as possible. A healthy sex life (which includes emotional intimacy) is the glue that keeps a couple together and that distinguishes a romantic friendship from other friendships.
- Excessive use of technology. The pervasive use of personal forms of technology has caused a serious disconnect in the lives of many couples. It’s common to see a couple sitting in a romantic restaurant, each partner staring vacantly into the glaring screen of some gadget instead of staring loving into the eyes of their sweetheart. While that’s fine once in a while, couples who make it a habit are slowly pulling the plug on their own marriage.
- Poor communication skills. From using nasty voice tones and making unpleasant assumptions to blaming your partner for all your problems and giving the cold shoulder, poor communication is a sure fire way to slowly drain the life and love out of a marriage.
- Indulging your negative personality traits. Some people have short fuses and fly into adult temper tantrums. Some people are negative, critical or bossy. Some people are self-focused, lazy or impatient. Some people are overly emotional, judgmental or complacent. Wait a minute…almost all of us are like that, at least on occasion! We’re only human; however, serious problems arise when these behaviors become commonplace and persistent, and when they affect the overall, long-term interactions in the marriage.
Let me ask you – are any of these relationship time-bombs ticking away in your marriage? If so, consider this article a heads-up. It’s just a matter of time until these nasty relationship habits will escalate and explode to inflict serious damage in your marriage.
So take steps now – this very moment – to defuse them. If you can’t do it on your own, get professional help and get it now: my Stop “Fighting” to Get Along crash course is ideal for this and can help you start to make positive changes immediately. The survival of your marriage depends on taking action before these relationship time-bombs go off.