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15 Fatal Marriage Mistakes To Avoid

Updated on April 21, 2017

No one wants a divorce, but still over 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. It’s important to educate yourself not to make mistakes that can destroy your marriage.

If you value your marriage,be careful not to make these mistakes.

Being Passive Aggressive

I don’t think open aggression in any relationship creates as much hatred and resentment as passive covert aggression. One of the easiest ways to make your spouse hate you is to become passive aggressive.

Passive aggression attacks emotions that’s why it’s so toxic. If you think giving silent treatment or playing a victim will make your spouse do what you want, you are setting up your marriage for a huge failure.

Passive aggression is childish behavior that you should avoid at all costs if you value your relationship.

No one wants to live with the person who attacks them secretly and then tries to cover his/her tracks.

Blaming Your Partner

Blaming your partner for your unhappiness, problems handling kids ,money and other little things brings negativity into the relationship. When you blame, you put all the burden of your frustrations and unhappiness on your partner.

For instance when you say something like this:

“You were again late for dinner, and that made me really upset. That’s why I haven’t been talking to you.” Or

“If you were not so extravagant, we would have been able to save a lot of money in very less time.”

Blaming is a type of verbal violence. It should be avoided. I’m sure you do not want to be with a person who blames you for any difficulty they face.

If you have been blaming your partner, be sure to apologize to them and do not do it again.

Having very High Expectations

Many marriages fail because one of the partners or both have too high, unrealistic expectations from each other. When you have very high expectations, a normal human being cannot fulfill them. This leads to disappointment and despair, which increases distance between husband and wife and ultimately leads to divorce.

Lundy Bancroft a domestic abuse expert says, that abusive men have very high sense of entitlement. They expect the woman to wait on them hand and foot--to make them the center of her world. When the woman is unable to fulfill such demands. The man begins to fight for what he thinks he deserves—ultimately damaging the woman and the relationship.

Criticizing your Partner

The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees, family members, and friends, and still not correct the situation that has been condemned.-Dale Carnegie

You will always have some complaints from the person you are living with. But still, you must not criticize your partner. If your husband has done something wrong ,make a complaint to him but do not criticize .

There’s difference between criticism and complaint. The complaint concerns a specific situation, but criticism is global.

Following examples will clarify the difference between criticism and complaints;

Complaint: I’m very upset that you have come home so late.Even though I told you many times to come early.

Criticism: Why can’t you ever remember anything? I told you a thousand times to come home early. You’re always so careless.

Complaint: “I think you should wash your own car. It costs too much to always have someone else wash it.”

Criticism: ‘’ Why can’t you wash your own car? It costs too much to have someone else wash it.You always spend too much money.’’

When you criticize someone harshly they feel being chopped up into little pieces, dissected, and rejected.

Showing Contempt to your Partner

Contempt arises when you have a sense of superiority over your partner. It is a form of disrespect.

Types of contempt are;sarcasm,cynicism,ridicule,eye rolling,hostile humor and mockery.

Psychologist Jhon Gottman a marriage expert says,’’ In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s Virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message you’re disgusted with him or her. Inevitably, contempt leads to more conflict rather than to reconciliation.’’

Try to resolve your differences early on as they arise.When you delay resolving your differences amicably,it causes long-simmering negative thoughts fueling criticism and contempt.


It’s a close cousin of contempt. Sometimes belligerent behavior is disguised as a joke but it’s still very harmful.


Wife: ‘’You often don’t do dishes when it’s your turn.’’

Husband: “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

Aggressive, warlike behavior creates a war zone, not a home.

Invading the Psyche of your Partner

It’s a type of manipulation tactic that is very harmful to any relationship.When you tell a loved one that YOU know them better than they know themselves,they always resent it.It’s openly insulting their intelligence.It creates a toxic environment for your relationship.

For example, when you say:

“That is not what you really think.”

“The reason you’re so depressed is that you are obsessing too much about work.”

“If you’ll just listen to me, I’ll tell you what you need to do.’’

Stop acting as if you have an x-ray vision of your partner’s psyche.

Not speaking your Mind

Expecting your partner to correctly anticipate your needs and give you exactly what you want is foolish and can cause disappointment and emotional distance. You partner has no supernatural powers, he cannot read your mind. If you want something or want him to do something for you, simply express your need in words.

For example;

“I really need you every day”

‘’I want you to check with me first before making plans.’’

‘’I want you to help me clean the house on Sunday.’’

‘’I want you to come home early for dinner so that ma and the kids do not have to wait hours for you.’’

If he/she is unable to fulfill some of your needs, do not punish your spouse.

Getting Defensive when Attacked

Often when one partner criticizes,the other gets defensive-- turning a bad situation into worse.

Dr.Gottman counsels,’’research shows that this approach rarely has the desired effect. The attacking spouse does not back down or apologize. This is because defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying, in effect, ‘The problem isn’t me, it’s you.’ One common form of defensiveness is the ‘innocent victim’ stance, which often entails whining and sends the message: ‘Why are you picking on me? What about all the good things I do? There’s no Pleasing you.’ Defensiveness in all its guises just escalates the conflict, which is why it’s so deadly.’’


Infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce; it nearly doubles your chance of getting a divorce.And even though we live in a sexually tolerant society, still more than 90% of Americans say infidelity is morally wrong.

Your extramarital affairs may be temporary but the damage that they cause can be permanent.

Do not jump into casual affairs thinking that your spouse will never find out about them.The truth always reveals itself.When your spouse finds out that you have been cheating on him,he will be angry and deeply hurt and will make sure that you no longer live with him.

Physical hunger is always fleeting and fickle, don’t let it destroy a precious relationship.

Not Listening to your Partner

During a typical conversation, one person speaks the other gives cues that he is listening to him. The listener may say something like, ’’yeah’’ or nod his head and make eye contact. But in some instances, the other person may not give this feedback. This is called stonewalling. Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate. Usually, men are guilty of stonewalling but some women also do it.

For instance, a husband comes home, his wife begins to criticize him. He responds by turning on the TV. The wife continues to yell but he keeps his attention focused on TV and acts as if he couldn’t care less what she is saying. Despite his ignoring his wife the yelling doesn’t stop. Eventually, he gets up and leaves the room.

The husband may be avoiding a fight by refusing to listen to his wife. But by not confronting his wife, he is also avoiding his marriage.

This type of behavior is very destructive to marriage. Many professionals will cite poor communication as a cause for a relationship's demise.

Pay attention to what your spouse says.

Not Spending Time Together

With the advent of social media and video games, people spend more time on phones and laptop than with their loved ones.

Not spending enough time with your spouse creates emotional distance. Couples become more like roommates than husband and wife. Usually one of the partners ignores and the other seeks attention. This causes resentment and feelings of being alone--creating an unhealthy environment.

Take the time to be with your spouse, bring back the date night or the “mommy and daddy time”.

Trying to change your partner

Trying to change your partner is a mistake that you should avoid. You should accept your partner as he/she is. Usually, women are guilty of this type of mistake. Changing the views and habits of your partner is not the key to your happiness. If your partner is abusive, drug addict or has any other destructive behavior, only then you should demand a change in your partner. If they refuse to change then you should remove yourself from the situation and seek professional help.

Minimizing the Importance of Your Partners Needs

If you minimize the importance of your partner's needs it can badly affect your marriage.

Men and women are very different. Do not think that if you don’t feel the need for something your spouse too doesn’t need it. For example, sexual pleasure is not very important to women but to men, it’s very very important.

Get to know your spouse well, pay attention to the words and demands they make and try to fulfill them.

As we grow up,most of our relationships are based on give and take.If you don’t give enough, your relationship will not last.

Do Not Keep The Score

‘’I cooked every day this week and he’s only done the dishes twice.”
“I already do this for her, why doesn’t she do that for me?”

Marriage is not a 50/50 thing. You have to contribute fully in any way you can. The silent score keeping of who works more, who gets to hang out with friends more, who’s tired more, who spends more money, who does more chores, who has more free time etc will not only make you feel miserable and guilty it could destroy your marriage. ''If someone is winning, you are both losing'' say Grace stevens author of one new habit to fix your marriage.

So tear up that score sheet and be willing to give as much as you can.

Keep a look out for these mistakes in your own relationship, and avoid them at all costs. Marriage is a precious relationship, it deserves to be protected.


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    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 12 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks for writing this great article. You are correct, these are huge mistakes that can destroy a marriage. None of us are victims. Our lives are a result of our choices. We must choose kindness and forgiveness, and we should be smart.


    • passionatelearnr profile image

      passionatelearnr 13 months ago

      Thank you jennifer for your feed back.

      I too like Lundy Bancroft work.i think every woman should read his book ''why does he do that'' before jumping in any relationship.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 13 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Good tips. Simple, but not easy.

      I love that you cited Lundy Bancroft. I love his work.

      "Not getting defensive" is sooo hard. We love to be right!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 16 months ago

      By being true to yourself YOU are the "right person" for (someone).

      The goal is to find a person who will love and appreciate us for who (we) are. In a world with over 7 Billion people odds are we're all somebody's "type".

      People only "change" when (they) are unhappy.

      There are lots of folks who do give love and respect to people who are "undeserving" of it. This explains why there is so much heartache in relationships. One has to learn to become a "better shopper"!

      Anyone who is NOT getting the results they want ideally looks within.

      If you want something different (you) have to do something different! :)

    • passionatelearnr profile image

      passionatelearnr 16 months ago

      Thank you dashingscorpio for your comments.I agree to some extent with what you say.You are right ,choosing the right person is very important but being the right person is also important.If you are incapable of love and respect you cannot have a happy relationship with anyone.To attract love,be capable of giving love and respect.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 16 months ago from The Caribbean

      Husbands and wives can benefit from this article. They may not be aware that they are guilty of some of these mistakes until they read your illustrations. Good job!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 16 months ago

      #1 - Choosing the (wrong mate) for oneself!

      The goal is to find someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the marriage that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things, and last but not least there is a mutual depth of love and desire for one another. Compatibility trumps compromise!

      There is no amount of "work" or "communication" that can overcome being with someone who simply does NOT want what you want.

      Like attracts like and opposites attract divorce attorneys!

      There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them (as is) or move on.

      People don't change unless (they) are un happy.

      It is often said: "Marriage is (hard work) but the reality is finding the "right mate" is the really hard work! (Choose wisely!)

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde