This is, by far, my most read post over the past fifteen years, and it has little to do with our work. I thought I would repost it (modified a little).
Over thirty years, I have became aware of some common, destructive behaviors that we married folks (me) commonly engage in and I wrote the following list (in no particular order). It is not exhaustive (please add your own), and nothing is new or profound, but perhaps it can serve as a healthy reminder and a means of self-evaluation (not spouse-evaluation!).
I am guilty of practicing almost all of these at one time or another, yet today I have the opportunity to make choices in my relationship with my – chosen – most significant person in my life. Perfection is an impossible goal, but of great value is practicing behavior that builds up our partner/relationship while avoiding behavior that is destructive to our spouse/marriage. The first step in this process, of course, is awareness.
62 Ways to Destroy your Spouse/Marriage
Live independently of your Father and His “still small voice” of direction, guidance, etc
Point out your partner’s flaws.
Devote more time and energy to your work/kids/hobby than your spouse.
Don’t praise your partner.
Don’t highlight your partner’s accomplishments/strengths.
Do nothing that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Keep your partner humble, grounded.
Don’t show your partner courtesy, respect or honor.
Joke about your partner’s flaws, weaknesses, mistakes.
Speak negatively about your spouse to others.
Don’t share with your spouse what is bothering you about him/her. “Stuff it.”
Express discontentment more than contentment.
Seek to improve/better him/her.
“Encouragement is not my gift.”
Highlight, dwell on, and think about the negatives about yourself, your partner, your relationship and your life (express your negative thoughts and keep your positive thoughts to yourself).
Watch TV, movies, live on the “web”.
Don’t forgive. Remember past offenses.
Be critical/analytical of your partner.
Make your spouse always initiate affection/conversation.
Verbally admire other men (wives) and women (husbands) more than you verbally admire your spouse.
Go to bed at different times.
Do something else (read newspaper, surf online, make dinner, talk to the kids, etc) when your spouse is speaking with you (in person or on the phone).
Don’t touch outside the bedroom.
“Pornography won’t negatively affect my relationship”.
Look your best especially when you leave home.
Don’t share with your spouse what’s going on inside.
Pay no attention to what you are communicating nonverbally.
Don’t pray with/for your spouse.
Speak without thinking.
Emotionally bond with another man (wives) or woman (husbands).
Compare your spouse/marriage to another.
Go out with your friends (or kids) more than you go out with your spouse.
Consider honesty more important than sensitivity and love.
Consider physical affection and sex insignificant.
Your perception/opinion is more important/wise than that of your spouse.
Speak more than listen.
Fantasize about being married to another.
Forget and minimize the importance of your vows.
Share more with your friends/parents than you do with your spouse.
Don’t look your spouse in the eye when he/she is speaking with you.
Don’t take care of your own health/body.
Consider your home the place where you can “let your hair down” and be yourself, without regard for your partner.
Be a different person at home than in public.
Live without consideration for your roommate
Develop expectations for your spouse.
Always express what you are feeling, when you are feeling it.
“I’m only looking.”
Pay more attention to how you are being loved than to how you are loving.
Don’t submit to your spouse.
Don’t talk with your partner about your relationship.
“I would never be unfaithful.”
Use often “should” when speaking of your spouse or your relationship.
Love him/her in ways that you desire be loved rather than as he/she desires to be loved.
Let how you feel dictate how you respond to your spouse.
Don’t get away together as a couple.
“I am who I am. I can’t/won’t change”
Don’t share with your spouse about your challenges, failures, successes.
Be possessive/controlling of your partner’s time, spending, and affection.
Consider your partner “yours”.
As you consider this list, think of your spouse’s behavior rather than your own.