Avoid Marriage Counseling: Break These 8 Bad Habits Today

We'll say it straight up: There's no good reason in the world to hang onto these bad habits; they aren't helping your marriage at all.

By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria | Ph.D. from The 7 Stages of Marriage
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    Nagging, nagging, nagging.

    We know about the squeaky wheel, but complaining loud and long gets you only short-term gains and builds up powerful discontent on your spouse's side.

    Blaming, criticizing, and name-calling.

    These tactics belittle the person you promised to love, honor, and cherish; let you play angel to his or her devil; and don't address the responsibility you both share for your marital happiness.

    Bullying, rudeness, and selfishness.

    These ugly power plays tell your partner that he or she doesn't count at all in your eyes.

    Peacekeeping and passive placating.

    A 'whatever you say, Dear' attitude may keep your home quieter but leaves you in the martyr's role. You'll end up angry, defensive, and a drudge. What fun is that?

    Deploying logic all the time.

    Life isn't the starship Enterprise; playing the dispassionate Mr. Spock not only cuts you off from your feelings but also subtly tells your spouse that his or her feelings don't count either.

    Throwing up distractions.

    You're just having fun, right? Think again. Being hyperactive, fooling around all the time, and refusing to focus—in conversation or in life—often is an attempt to avoid intimacy or difficult issues, which can be horribly frustrating for your mate.

    Stonewalling.

    Another stall maneuver, stonewalling stops arguments and constructive discussions cold. Not much can happen when one spouse just won't talk about it.

    Making unilateral decisions about the big things.

    Sometimes you have to pick the bathroom paint color on your own. But if you're making major decisions about your money, your time, your kids, and your family life, you're acting without accountability and cutting off the possibility of joint decision-making and deeper intimacy.

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    Your Comments

    • Happy2some

      When we were first married my husband sat me down at the kitchen and gave me some basic rules (he had been married before) Don’t ask him what he wants for dinner, just make something and he will eat it. Don’t discuss sex just tell him what I want and he’ll do it. I was to do the bookkeeping, he asked that I don’t lie about it, but he didn’t want to discuss it either. He just took an allowance, and he didn’t want to have to account for every dime. I make a little more than he did, and he only took $100 a week. We have had a fine marriage for 30 years.

    • skippyalpine

      Clearly written by women. The #1 item that should have been on the list is withholding SEX! You want to kill a marriage, try this one. Almost always used by women to gain power/control or to punish.

      • Ray

        You must be a guy. Realize that it’s not always the woman with holding. In my marriage it’s my husband withholding :(

        • skippyalpine

          That’s why I said “almost always” in my post….

    • http://twitter.com/DrObservation Dr Observation

      Logic works – too much emotion is toxic

    • Rocket1957

      If you stick by all these Don’ts you wont be able to have an discussion or argument. So as soon as the other person does something that upsets you, you should pack your bags and go ?.  I think these “rules” are far too simple and don’t work in real life 

    • Ozrkmtndd

      Two of those habits I developed, stonewalling, and peacekeeper, were a reaction to ten years of mental, emotional, and physical abuse at the hands of my bipolar, clinically depressed, and passive aggressive wife (when the therapist showed me the characteristics, and prognosis for passive aggressive personalities I knew we were done). All I am saying is that none of these traits were born in a vacuum and trying to untangle them is not easy.