Marriage can be challenging for many reasons, including the need to be the best couple. Then again, there’s no filter in a marriage, and you see all sides of both of you. You are emotionally and physically in very close proximity, making it hard to avoid marriage mistakes.
The possibility of making mistakes can be terrifying if you don’t have the tools to manage yourself and your reactions. It can become too easy to make a marriage mistake that starts snowballing later.
However, you are not alone, as almost every married couple faces these issues. In this article, we will go through some key marriage mistakes and the reason behind them.
Top causes for a marriage gone wrong
Many reasons can lead to a marriage deteriorating, including lack of intimacy and communication. Check out this list if you want to review more causes and gain a better understanding.
You can add many things to that list, including incompatibility and lack of teamwork. More fundamentally, psychologists have now summarized things that destroy a marriage into not having psychological flexibility.
Psychological flexibility means being present for each other without distractions. You are also emotionally wise such that you don’t obsess on feelings and thoughts.
With psychological flexibility, you don’t over-focus on yourself but can see your partner’s viewpoints more compassionately. It’s the perfect way to avoid a marriage mistake.
10 mistakes that can destroy a marriage
How do you know when your marriage is falling apart? Of course, there are two people behind a marriage gone wrong, and both play a part. Nevertheless, you’re the only one you can control.
Try to make changes in your own behavior, and they might motivate your spouse into changing their bad behavior too. If fears and self-doubt govern your life, you might easily make a marriage mistake from the list below.
Studies show that communication consistently comes up as one of the main things that destroy a marriage. It’s also very easy to fall into this marriage mistake because we constantly make assumptions about the world around us.
We all have busy lives, and often, we simply don’t prioritize talking to each other. That usually leads us to make assumptions about our partners. Perhaps we then make one of the common marriage mistakes and draw the wrong conclusions about what our spouse is thinking?
Miscommunication in marriage makes people bottle up their feelings and end up bitter and twisted. Instead, we should be brave and share our needs maturely with our partners. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to listen but give them a chance.
2. Unclear roles
Things that destroy a marriage often involve the roles we assume. We can even resent some of those roles if, for example, you’re always the one doing the housework.
Another example of a marriage gone wrong that divorce lawyers often see is when the gender roles have been reversed. Tensions can arise when women in traditional marriages start making more money and focusing more on their careers.
Although, studies show that the reasons aren’t conclusive and probably more to do with the time commitment to the marriage rather than gender-related reasons. Regardless, shifting roles in a marriage can create issues if these happen when only one partner is happy with them.
3. Take each other for granted
How do you know when your marriage is falling apart? Are you making the common marriage mistake of not prioritizing each other? We all have needs, and many people expect those to be met within a marriage. Of course, we like independence, but we also cherish being nurtured.
When asking yourself: “what is wrong with my marriage” try to reflect on how much you thank each other. Overall, it helps make sure that communication stays positive and makes both of you feel good.
If you can’t make simple gestures to show appreciation, then you’ll also forget why you got married in the first place. That’s when negativity and doubt set in and start destroying the marriage.
4. Misunderstand the differences
If you’re wondering, “how do you know when your marriage is falling apart” look no further than the conflict that comes from differences. Happy marriages work well despite the differences. Those couples know how to leverage those differences to create the ultimate team.
Communication Specialist James L. Creighton, in his book ‘Loving Through Your Differences,’ mentions that differences are common in marriages and they can be detrimental for marriages. However, by changing your perspective, you can reframe the dynamics of your relationship for the better.
5. Unresolved triggers
Many of us have a wounded child inside of us who sometimes lashes out when we least expect it. Those triggers can confuse and alienate those closest to us. Generally, our partners don’t understand where those reactions come from, so they don’t know how to support us.
Unresolved triggers can make us angry and judgemental, making it very difficult for our partners to live with us. This marriage mistake is tough to handle because it means reconnecting with your emotions and processing internal pain.
If this sounds like you, it’s always worth talking to a therapist to free yourself from your inner pain and start living life to the full.
6. Misaligned values and prioritization
Values are those internal beliefs that drive our actions and behaviors. If you’re asking yourself, “why is my marriage falling apart” but you just can’t quite put your finger on it, your values might conflict.
Many of us don’t necessarily know how to articulate our values. When someone does something that jars you, it’s because someone has overstepped your boundaries or they’ve clashed with one of your values.
The easiest way to think about values is to consider what you prioritize in life. For example, is it family, commitment, or respect? What about lifestyle, forgiveness, and self-discipline? Then again, how different are your approaches to work-life balance?
Some of these will be deep beliefs that neither of you will want to shift, and a common marriage mistake is to think that they will.
7. Fuzzy boundaries
As mentioned, boundaries are important within any relationship. Any boundaries that aren’t clearly understood can lead to disconnect and then even resentment.
Depending on how long after getting together you got married, one of you might still be making the marriage mistake of being a bit of a people pleaser. The real you will come out at some point, which could be too much for your partner.
That’s why it’s important to be true to yourself and understand what you need from a marriage. For instance, how will you balance your need for independence and collaboration? What about having enough alone time but also spending the right amount of time together?
8. Expecting mind-reading
A common marriage mistake is to assume that your partner knows exactly what you’re thinking and what you need right now. No matter how close you are, no one can read your mind ever. So, if you’re asking yourself, “why is my marriage falling apart” perhaps reassess your expectations for your partner.
Before giving up on marriage, try to remember all the times you jumped to conclusions about what your partner was saying. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be surprised how many times you’ve assumed mind-reading was a skill.
We all expect things from our spouses, and that is perfectly natural. But it is easy to simply ask your partner what they think. Try it as it can actually be liberating for both of you.
9. No financial and parenting goal-setting
Most of us need financial security to feel safe and independent. If, on the other hand, you can’t agree on this fundamental need for security, then you might be asking yourself, “what is wrong with my marriage.”
Financial planning involves comparing and agreeing on life goals. These are typical things that destroy a marriage when misaligned. That’s because they tap into our values and how we want to approach life. It’s the same with how we raise kids.
If your approaches are so different, you might constantly go separate ways and even start saying conflicting things to your kids. It will introduce a state of confusion and uncertainty for the whole family. How you know when your marriage is falling apart is through these signs.
Watch this video to learn more about how to combine finances after marriage:
10. Impossible expectations
In a marriage, the main thing to remember is that we’re human, and no one is perfect. A typical marriage mistake is to buy into the Hollywood and Walt Disney myth that we’ll live happily ever after.
On the contrary, walking down the aisle with the ring on your finger means accepting your humanity, being vulnerable, and adapting to life together. No one can live up to impossible expectations, including the best couples.
Why do we make mistakes in marriages?
You might now be asking yourself why couples do things that destroy a marriage. Remember that you’re human, and all of us have different experiences that have got us to this point in life. It is hard to change our habits and perspectives to meld our life with another person.
As mentioned initially, if we haven’t learned psychological flexibility, we could be overwhelmed by our anxieties, fears, and even mental issues. This can compel us to make marriage mistakes that damage our relationship.
Of course, it’s hard to change things about us that seem natural. Nevertheless, if someone is willing to change, there’s always hope. Change always starts with ourselves, and it’s important to know how emotionally agile you are to deal with the journey.
Marriage is a journey. You can choose a road where both of you feel at ease and cared for. Alternatively, you can opt for the path where you compete against each other and win one over.
Making a marriage mistake isn’t just about simple actions; it’s about your approach to your partner. Use the mistakes mentioned here as your guide, and try to avoid making these mistakes in your marriage.
How you integrate each other into your lives and blend your strengths and weaknesses is what matters. A great way to start the journey is to remember that it’s better to be kind than to be right.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.