Navigating a marriage can be surprisingly difficult. While much of the journey is exhilarating, it can also be challenging. That’s especially true if you don’t work to avoid dumbass mistakes that can hurt your relationships.
Often, missteps happen because you don’t know they can be a problem. A seemingly innocuous statement (that actually isn’t), an ill-timed request, or an inappropriate reaction can all do a lot of damage. Luckily, by knowing what mistakes to avoid in your marriage, you can keep your relationship going strong. If you want to stay on target, here are six mistakes to avoid in your marriage.
1. Not Handling Chores Fairly
Chores can be a contentious topic in a marriage. Figuring out what is and isn’t “fair” isn’t easy. This is especially true if one spouse automatically adopts a traditional gender role perspective when the other doesn’t or otherwise places most of the burden on their partner.
Similarly, leaving one spouse in control of the chores is usually a bad idea. This happens when both people are willing to do their part, but one relies on the other to tell them every time something needs to be done. It practically forces one partner to assume the role of the household nag, and that isn’t good for anyone.
If you want to avoid this marriage mistake (and the fights that would ultimately take place if you didn’t), then sit done and discuss how to divvy up the responsibilities. You don’t have to split them straight down the middle, but it does need to be equitable. Make sure the burden feels shared and, once you agree on how to tackle chores, work to keep up with your end of the bargain without having to be told.
2. Assuming All Physical Affection is Leading Somewhere
Physical affection can be a critical part of an intimate relationship. It’s nice to exchange touch, and some spouses need a physical connection to feel cared for and loved.
However, that doesn’t mean every affectionate gesture needs to lead to sex. While it certainly can, assuming that it always will can actually hinder intimacy. It puts a ton of pressure on what a touch means and may cause some adults to shy away from physical contact entirely if they aren’t in the mood for more than a hug, kiss, or hand-holding.
Spend time enjoying physical contact for what it is, and not where you think it should go. If you both want to take it further, that’s great. But, if you don’t, that’s fine, too.
3. Spending Money Without Considering Your Spouse
When you’re married, your finances typically become entwined. Paying bills, handling household expenses, planning for retirement, saving for a house, and much more become joint ventures. It’s that simple.
If one spouse starts spending without consulting the other, this can spell trouble. Disagreements about money are a leading cause of divorce, and spending without considering how your spouse would react or speaking with them first isn’t going to help your relationship.
Once you get married (or, preferably, even before), talk about money with your partner. Find out what kind of spending doesn’t need to be discussed in advance and what does. Get on the same page about your financial goals and how your incomes should be allocated. That way, you both understand what is and isn’t okay, and can act accordingly.
4. Making Big Plans Without Having a Conversation
Plans, no matter what is involved, are an obligation. First, they take up time in your schedules. Second, they require physical, mental, or emotional effort.
Not talking to your spouse before committing to a dinner with friends, holiday with the family, or trip away from home is a bad move. It’s forcing an obligation onto your partner and isn’t respectful of their schedule or physical, mental, or emotional capacity to handle what will occur. Plus, it makes them the “bad guy” if you have to make a change because they aren’t able to attend.
Before you make big plans, talk to your spouse. It’s always best to check with your partner before you commit so that they have an opportunity to make their opinions known before it becomes official.
5. Assuming You’ll Never Spend Time Apart
While you might think that wanting to spend every minute with your spouse is romantic, that isn’t always the case. It can actually be a bit smothering, particularly if you won’t let your partner do things without you or invite yourself to come along to every event.
It’s smart to spend time as individuals. You get enough breathing room to pursue interests the other doesn’t share, maintain other relationships, and handle personal commitments. Plus, it will give you something to talk about when they return, injecting a fresh conversation into the equation.
6. Letting Politeness Go Out the Window
Just because you’re married, that doesn’t mean common courtesies like “please” and “thank you” are no longer necessary. It’s basic decency, and both you and your spouse deserve that.
Without politeness, it’s easy for spouses to feel underappreciated. The offending partner comes off as if they expect certain things to happen, and that those efforts aren’t worthy of recognition.
Whenever your partner does something that benefits you or your household, let them know that you recognize and appreciate your effort. That includes everything big and small. Even a simple gesture like bringing you a cup of coffee should be acknowledged, ensuring your spouse knows you appreciate all they do.