Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

10 Guaranteed Ways to Destroy Your Marriage

Okay – I’m going to be brutally honest with you. I understand that there are a lot of sources of stress on all of our marriages right now. There’s the typical kids, work, in-laws, etc and especially nowadays, finances are an even greater source of stress than they have been in generations. I get all of that – but I am so sick & tired of talking to & counseling people who are just being – well —– STUPID!

I know many of us did not have good role models who showed us how to make marriages/relationships work, but there’s a lot of basics that are just common sense. I seem to remember some guy 2000 yrs ago saying – treat others how you would want to be treated – but I’ll save that for another day.

Building a strong marriage takes a lot of hard work, dedication and set rules. *** In addition to reading this post – I encourage you to check out this message I gave at Eagle Pointe church – http://vimeo.com/11196880

Here are 10 things that I guarantee will destroy your marriage. However, if your desire is to have a great marriage that lasts – you can use this list as a “what not to do” list.


1- Yell – Your marriage won’t be perfect – your spouse won’t be perfect – but that doesn’t mean you stop working at the relationship. Raising your voice in a heated moment doesn’t encourage anyone to change – it simply flips on the other persons defense mechanisms. We need to grow up & learn how to communicate & work through issues in a positive way. In fact, when you yell you are no longer in control – that other person or situation is now controlling you.

2- Lie – As soon as you start destroying the trust you &  your spouse have built – is the moment your marriage is in a nosedive. If you can’t trust each other, then problems will multiple faster than you can count them.

3- Being Easily Offended – We have to believe that our spouse has our best interest at heart, that the things they say are meant to build us up, encourage us, and help us be a better person. If we don’t look at the things they say in that light, then we will become offended and refuse to change. Trust your spouse and change. I’ll also throw in Shifting Blame here. Accusing each other won’t open the doors to effective communication. It is human nature to defend your actions when you are accused, no matter how wrong you are, rather than change and admit the wrong. Use gentle words to discuss not accuse.

4- Marry your work – There is such thing as too much time at the office. At the end of your life you will not look back & wish you had spent more time working. You have a spouse that needs to know you care & that they are #1 to you. I believe the priority list of our life should be – God, spouse, kids, ——- everything else.

5- Confiding in Someone Other than Your Spouse – If you’re spending time with, in person or online, & talking with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse – you are STUPID! The person you talk to about life, challenges, your marriage, etc is your spouse. If you’re confiding in someone other than your spouse – you are most likely in an emotional affair that will soon be physical. BTW: Studies show that Facebook has directly contributed to 40% of all marital affairs this past year. Think about it!!!

6- Stop Saying I Love You – You may think your spouse knows it – but they need to hear it verbally several times a day. Sometimes in the hustle of our lives it is easy to forget how much those three little words can mean. ***I would again strongly encourage you to check out a message I did – http://vimeo.com/11196880 this was more on parenting but many of the same principles apply.

7- Stop Listening – Multi-tasking while you are listening to your spouse is never a good idea. Watching TV, working on the computer, reading, or whatever it is – turn off the distraction while your spouse communicates with you. They need your undivided attention. When you tune them out with your ear – so does your heart. I’ll also throw in here – Think Your Spouse has ESP – It is a proven fact that we don’t know the thoughts of any other person. So don’t expect your spouse to know things you haven’t directly told them. Your spouse will never know what you want & what makes you happy if YOU don’t tell them.

8- Avoid Physical Intimacy – My wife Gina & I have 3 kids – I know it can be hard sometimes to find the time or energy. On the other hand, if your spouse is not having their physical needs met at home – then you are throwing the door wide-open for them to go & get those needs met somewhere else.

9- Think Immorally – Actions and desires start as thoughts. Be very careful what you are watching, reading, & listening to. If you start filling your head with bad images & thoughts – then your chances of crossing the line increase 10 fold. Just don’t allow it. Quit the porn – quit filling your mind with this crap – it is not healthy! It’s like bringing another person into your marriage, except she’s glossy and airbrushed. Porn will only create an unrealistic expectation in your mind about your spouse’s libido, body, and comfort level.

10- Bring Up Past Wrongs – Allow your spouse to make mistakes, but even more so allow them to change. We ask them to change but then when they do we constantly throw their mistake back in their face. This gets frustrating really quick and discouraging to make any future change. Just leave those past wrongs buried.

11 (I know it’s a top 10 list – but this one is so important it should be # 1) Keep God Out of Your Marriage – The only hope any of us have of having a life-long, successful, healthy, thriving marriage is by keeping God at the center of it. Studies have shown that Christian couples who are actively involved in their church, pray together, etc are A LOT less likely to get a divorce & tend to have much happier & fulfilling marriages.

Marriages are important, take a lot of work, but a marriage can bring you more happiness than anything else if they are properly cultivated.  So many marriages nowadays are in such bad shape & so far down a rocky road that the chances of them getting the marriage healthy on their own are pretty slim. If you’re marriage is struggling – swallow your pride & go see a good Christian marriage counselor. Wait – I can hear your excuse now & here’s my answer… the price of marriage counseling is nothing compared to the price of divorce. You can’t afford not to do it!

Invest the time, energy, & effort into making your marriage a healthy one – it will be worth it!


5 responses

  1. This is great advice and something we could all learn from. Thanks for posting it.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

  2. Charlie Rickman

    Amen !

    Thank you Pastor Howard for being so in touch and having compassion with our congregation and providing lessons that we can all benefit from. As we have learned we can’t just listen…We must also act.

    July 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

  3. npc23

    This is amazing. Great advice that a lot of us could and should take heed of. I’m glad to say that I do almost all of these and gladly have a very healthy marriage. That goes to say that I haven’t gone through a lot to learn them all.

    Thanks for the insight, I stumbled on your page through Twitter. Well, take care!


    July 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    • Thanks for the feedback. I hope you’ll continue checking out this blog – as well as follow me on twitter & facebook.

      August 1, 2010 at 10:59 am

  4. Lana Dunn

    Words of wisdom to live by! I can identify several of these reasons (at least 7!) as things that destroyed my marriage. WOW! What an eye opener that was to read this.

    August 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

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