When I look back on our early years of marriage I often wonder how in the world we made it to year 28! I’ve told my husband on more than one occasion how grateful I am that God chose to put blinders on him for him to marry me. While that sounds self-deprecating, it’s honest. I came with tons of red flags that should have steered him clear of me for a while.
But, here we are, 28 married years later, thriving and abounding in the grace of God.
Aside from the grace of God—and those blinders – I can say with confidence that had we not worked on these specific things our marriage would have surely been doomed. In fact, as marriage counselors, we see these things take out couples all the time.
Ready to know what they are?
3 Things that Might Destroy your Marriage
- Past trauma– I came into my marriage with a lot of baggage, baggage that came from my family of origin. All kinds of stuff that I was glad to walk away from hoping to never deal with again—except that is not how trauma works. It stays with you until you deal with it. Not dealing with your past, no matter how significant or insignificant, will always trip you up. Your past will always bring forth triggers and if you don’t make yourself aware of them or process through them, they’ll eat away at your marriage.
Working on your past may involve professional help, pastoral counsel, or just some solid chats with a friend, or even your spouse. The healthiest marriages contain two healthy individuals. It’s worth it to do what you need to do to find healing.
- Trying to change your spouse- If you flip this one around and ponder on what it might feel like to have someone constantly trying to fix you, change you, or remind you that you’re not good enough, that might be all the perspective change you need to not do this to your spouse. No one changes, at least in a healthy way, by reminding them how inadequate they are. Learn to love your spouse where they’re at. Inspire growth in them by growing yourself. And if they’re truly unhealthy, it might be time for some boundaries. We always recommend Boundaries in Marriage to help with that. Finally, this leads us to what I think is the most important one…
- Not taking personal responsibility. When you get caught up in the blame game there are no winners, and your marriage can really take a hit. When you fail to own what you need to own, you’re giving up opportunities for change and growth—and the thing about marriage is that there is no remaining the same, it’s either moving forward or it’s moving backward.
Humility in marriage is a game changer. It will draw you closer to one another and you will have more individual and more marital peace. Pride always comes before the fall—be humble enough to grow, learn, and get better. You’ll be a better spouse and you’ll be in a better marriage.
If you’re feeling like you’re on a downhill spiral and need to get on the same page again, you might want to check out our Restoring Connection 4-week Plan. It will be sure to get you back on track in just 10 short minutes a day!