Marriage: Three Things That Will Send Your Relationship “Down the Drain” Very Fast

couple-at-odds2By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Many people make the mistake of expecting their marriages and relationships to operate on auto-pilot. When things start to fall apart, they will say things like “maybe he is not the right person for me” or “maybe we are just not compatible”.  The more likely reason why things are not going well is typically not about who is in the relationship but what they are doing or not doing.

Below are three things that will send a relationship “down the drain” really quickly:

 Lack of appreciation

Being appreciated goes a long way towards building a good relationship. Couples often make the mistake of taking each other for granted and assuming that they are entitled to what the other spouse or significant other does for them. When was the last time you really took it upon yourself to express heartfelt gratitude to your loved one? Little notes are a wonderful way to show someone you appreciate, even the smallest things. Maybe notes are not your thing. What about a phone call that starts with, “I am calling to let you know that I really appreciate…”

Lack of respect

Lack of respect takes many forms; common ones are in our choice of language, tone of voice and even body language. More subtle forms are not listening to and making an effort to understand your spouse or significant other’s point of view and making jokes about or dismissing things that are important to him (or her).

Respect is something that can never be over-done. In other words, you can never give “too much” respect because it is something that your loved one deserves more than anyone else. Respect should not have conditions on it; it should be given even when it seems like the person does not deserve it. It takes a mature person to recognize that respect should be given all the time because your spouse or significant other, no matter what the current circumstances or situation is, is a person who has tied and dedicated their whole life to you, as you have to them.

A Critical or negative attitude

There is a saying that I have heard and often repeat: “What you focus on grows”. The minute you start turning a critical eye on your spouse, you’re starting a downward spiral that may be very hard to stop. Most people who feel criticized and attacked will either shut down or shoot back with their own criticism and negative point of view about their spouse.

Relationships should be a place where one can grow and at times, even make mistakes without fear of being attacked, judged and criticized. Once a person starts to feel like they are constantly being criticized, they become defensive, combative and unhappy or they become distant and detached. No matter how many flaws you see in your spouse, it is not a good idea to make a habit of constantly pointing them out. Rather, let your spouse’s many flaws be a reminder that you have just as many and then get to work on overcoming your own shortcomings.

You don’t make your relationship better by complaining, criticizing and judging your spouse and pressuring them to “change”; rather, you make your relationship better by becoming more aware of your own flaws and doing the hard work of becoming a better version of yourself.

Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™.  She is an avid blogger and a highly sought after instructor and speaker.

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