People usually expect that marriages die due to very traumatic hits on trust, love etc., however I am of the opinion that some little things can cause even worse rifts between married couples. In reverse too, small seemingly insignificant things can also become stands of wool coming together to form stronger cords holding a couple together.
I’d like to discuss some of those little habits that can cause a couple to drift apart:
- Secrets: No matter what’s being kept hidden, I am of the opinion that building a wall in the heart for whatever reason is bad to the unity that should exist between married couples for a stronger and more lasting marriage. Certain private codes and passwords do not necessarily constitute “secrets”, however, knowing something the other should know and hiding it from the person is what we mean by keeping secrets. Every day should present a fresh opportunity to know and be known; to be more open and exposed; to be more “naked” in the eyes of each other. Once each person tries to protect themselves, they begin to break away from this “unity” from this “oneness” which the Sacrament of Matrimony works in them.
- Forming emotional bond with another: This one constitutes “cheating". We know that to so many people “cheating" means having extramarital affairs. However, anyone who understands marital love knows that forming emotional bonds with another person other than your marital partner constitutes cheating as well, which act greatly threatens the unity of the couple. Do not engage in soft, sensual talks with anyone other than your marital partner. Do not call someone at odd hours, engaging in heart-to-heart talks since that position should already have been filled by the one in whose life you’ve vowed to share for life. If you have family members who have issues you can talk to them freely, this does not count, but no friend, no colleague, no ex-girlfriend or boyfriend’s emotional issues should ever become a subject of secret and long discussions, especially when such friends are people of opposite sex and such conversations could lead to the development of some kind of fondness that should exist between man and wife.
- Apologize properly: have you done anything to hurt your marital partner? Don’t simply say “sorry", really show it. Do not leave the person alone until they accept your apology. To so many people, the more silent you are after doing something wrong, the harder it is for them to accept your apology later. Do not be defensive, do not argue, do not give silly excuses, when you do not know or didn’t mean to hurt them you can say that, but NEVER give reasons to justify what you did. As long as the other has taken offense for some good reason, help them out of sadness first before you tell them about over reactions or before engaging in self-defensive if you think this is absolutely required. But I always advise against it.
- Don’t play god: don’t let the other person do everything for you, take little glory and take all the blame when some issue comes up. It is important to know that as long as marriage is concerned you two are equal; each person must be willing to play the fool from time to time, to accept responsibility from time to time, and take care of each other’s feelings and emotions. Whenever pride creeps into the heart and one does something they shouldn’t, they MUST apologize and make up for their flaws. It is vital to remember that humility helps cover up our bad pasts. You could promise a million times to never repeat something, as long as you’re really humble and honest about it, your marital partner can live with it. As long as the “thing" isn’t some mortally bad thing. Should you over react sometimes by shouting at your marital partner when they wrong you, you must humble yourself and apologize, admit you did overreact and try to grow.
- Gossips: never discuss your marital partner with outsiders. Whatever the issue be, talk with either your partner or a priest who can help you. You are allowed to discuss your marital partner when there’s a big issue you two cannot handle, you can either decide together to consult someone, or one person can talk gently to their parent (if this will help). Never discuss your partner in a way that simply exposes their flaws to others, or simply reporting them to people. Every discussion must be necessary and constructive, you must admit your own flaws to someone competent to counsel you both and seek growth. Again, never believe negative things people say about your marital partner, do not even listen to them at all. If you have any doubts simply ask your partner for clarification. Trust is an essential part of your love, once doubt is born; your love begins to crack. Secrecy, gossip, doubt all target to damage the love between couples.
Do not lie to your partner, even things that they’d find distasteful, tell the truth anyway. There can be NO justification for lying to your partner. Unless it’s for health reasons, maybe they’d not handle for instance the death of a parent properly; such news could be put off for a later time. However, aside cases such as this, I doubt I could support any other motive for lying especially when those motives are selfish.
Do not neglect your partner when they’re unusually quiet. Never leave them alone. Ask what the problem is, keep “pestering" them gently and lovingly, even when they keep saying “nothing" or “am okay", give them a hug and a kiss and reassure them of your love and care. Do all you can to cheer them up without chocking them.
Do not make them cry, and when you do, NEVER leave them alone. Apologize and make up immediately.
They should never pass by you tens of times without receiving a gentle touch or a playful tap on the back. When they walk with you, hold their hands once in a while. Hold each other in bed once in a while, physical contacts such as these help to deepen love and trust between couples. When you love, and they love, and each of you has faith in the love you share, nothing can break you apart.
Tell each other your daily experiences. There must be something to talk about in bed, do not just jump in bed every night and sleep off (You could in extraordinary cases where both of you are seriously tired, but try saying a word or two still). Some couples allow their mobile phones to usurp the place of heart-to-heart bed-talks in their marriages. You must be mindful of this; it doesn’t mean that you MUST engage in long talks every night, but you must discuss something no matter how brief. Something fun and exciting if any or just your emotional state at the time or throughout the day. This provides opportunity to receive and give emotional support which engenders closeness between couples.
These are the few I could think of, have any more? Add them below!
God bless and prosper your marriages!