10 Surefire Ways to Screw Up Your Marriage

Make sure to never have sex.
You fell in love for a reason...
You fell in love for a reason...

There are oh-so-many ways to screw up a relationship. If you got to the point of saying “I do,” however, it means you were in love and thought you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone. With the divorce rate still hovering around 40 - 50 percent, it tells us that married couples are pretty bad at holding things together.  As a marriage therapist, I see day in and day out some of the same things that people do to make sure that their marriage goes down the tubes.

So, if you would like to follow suit, here are 10 suggestions that will nearly guarantee that your marriage will be miserable, unfulfilling, have you living like roommates or headed for divorce in no time flat.

Don’t put each other first

Don’t make each other your priorities. When you have kids, it’s now all about the kids. No more date nights, no more trying fun new things together.  Alternatively, work like crazy and have no time for your spouse.  Make spending time with your partner unimportant. 

Communicate poorly

Either escalate into screaming anger or shut down and refuse to talk.  Try to get your partner to read your mind. At this point they should be able to, as they have known you long enough, right?  Don’t say things that are bothering you when they come up.  Wait until you are resentful.  When you do talk, be sure to mention that time he or she did something wrong, even if it was five years ago.  Also, never compliment or notice the good things, just focus on what is going wrong. 

Keep secrets

Don’t talk about your day or what worries are on your mind.  If you are unhappy about something in the marriage, definitely keep that inside. Make major financial decisions without discussion.  Don’t share relevant information that may impact your future.  Furthermore, have an affair that is emotional or physical, or better yet, both!  Don’t tell anyone and continue to become completely un-enamored with your spouse. 

Have poor boundaries

Allow family and friends to invade your life.  Talk too much with these people about your personal life.  Air your dirty laundry everywhere.  Refuse to cut off someone in your life who is toxic.

Never have sex

Sex is not so important now that you are married. There is just too much going on in your lives. You are too busy and you definitely don’t want the kids to hear you. If it’s not spontaneous, why bother? Furthermore, limit all kinds of physical contact and affection.

Never apologize

If you did something wrong, refuse to apologize. Do not try to see anything from your spouse’s point of view.  When you hurt your partner, just make excuses and justify your behavior. Do not even try to make your spouse feel better.

Don’t show gratitude or appreciation

There is no reason to say “thank you” or show appreciation for the things your spouse is doing. You do things all the time, too.  It’s quid pro quo.  Plus, your partner should just know that you appreciate the effort by now.

Be overly controlling

You simply have to know every little detail about how your spouse’s time or money is spent. Throw a tantrum when your spouse tries to assert any independence.  Be insecure, jealous and manipulative.

Have an addiction

Decide upon which addiction you would like to have. It can be a) drugs, b) alcohol, c) porn or d) all of the above.  Wreak havoc on your spouse and children with this addiction.  Make them all enablers so your habit is not disrupted in any way.

Don’t get help if you need it

When you know something is wrong, do not seek help.  Ignore any problematic physical or mental condition.  Even when your spouse shows serious concern, still refuse to do anything to help yourself.  Don’t take care of yourself or try to stay healthy.  If your marriage is the problem, certainly do not get help until your spouse is considering divorce. (Special tip: at this point say emphatically, “I promise I will change!” but don’t really mean it.)

If these words are hitting a little too close to home, I urge you to make some serious changes to get your marriage and your life back on track. You may need to seek professional, individual psychotherapy or marriage counseling to truly make profound and meaningful changes. Give your marriage the best possible chance it deserves and remember, you fell in love for a reason.

Marni Feuerman is a psychotherapist in Boca Raton, Florida. She is nationally syndicated freelance writer and the marriage expert for the website About.com. Her website is www.TheTalkingSolution.com where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.