There are many bad habits in a relationship and one cannot deal with them all here, but there are 5 main ones to watch out for:
1. Taking each other for granted. This is the worst habit in a marriage: lack of appreciation! Many people mistakenly believe that once the rings are on the fingers, when they have one another in the bag, so to speak, that is the time to ignore each other. In fact, that is the time to continue the dating process as long as possible and show that person how desired, valued and appreciated they are. It means partners won't be taken for granted and they will always be treated like a date to be impressed than just an old possession to be neglected.
2. Being too critical too often. Partners tend to find fault continuously with one another because their expectations are too unrealistic and too high, so the other partner seldom seems to come up to scratch. The end result is that there is constant negativity instead of love and appreciation when a marriage should enhance the couple, not make them feel worse. Some people who don't love themselves tend to take it out on their partners too by putting them down. It makes the relationship needlessly painful and tense and robs it of its natural love.
3. Too little praise and reinforcement. Many people believe that they shouldn't praise their partners too much. Why not? Is there a law against it? When we are dating we don't put our dates down. We try to mirror their behaviour and we appreciate every little thing they do to in order to impress them. So why should that change after marriage or settling down? The more we praise and affirm our partners, the greater we feel in the process too. It helps us to appreciate ourselves and not take each other for granted. One's partner could have had a terrible day at work. To come home to someone telling them something loving and affirming could be an unforgettable experience. Don't be mean with the praise. It could be more crucial than you think.
4. Expecting the partner to know what you mean. Women, in particular, are guilty of this. If something is wrong, they don't really discuss it. They tend to get into a huff and expect the partner to know why they are upset! This only makes the situation worse as people are not mind readers. The best thing to do is to sit down and discuss problems with your spouse. Both of you are then in a position to offer solutions. When we don't discuss we are secretly blaming the other person for whatever is wrong, yet two heads together can lessen the tension and make things much better. A marriage is for SHARING. If people know what is expected of them, they will be in a better position to know how to react and are likely to feel more comfortable about sharing the load!
5. Using a headache (or excuse) to avoid intimacy/sex, and to mask resentment. Many people with weak communication skills are not really sure how to resolve issues. They tend to take those problems into the bedroom by using sex as a weapon or as something special to withhold when they are angry or annoyed with their partner. For some it is also a form of power over another. However, that kind of situation without discussion merely fuels resentment on both sides without solving any issues at all. It also tends to lead to tit for tat behaviour between the couple. No resentment should be allowed in intimate moments. Problems should be sorted elsewhere, and promptly, so that love has a chance to blossom, not to die away. If a denial of affection and sex is used to resolve upsets, it will inevitably lead to one or both people feeling terribly frustrated and helpless in the situation and, for some, eventually turning to other people outside the home to fulfil their desires and to feel valued!
©Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2011
Emotional Health and People Management Consultant
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"