Often when we think about what damages a relationship our minds turn to money troubles or infidelity, and although those are very real issues for many couples, there are several other things in life that can contribute to the demise of your marriage.
We’ve all heard how maintaining a marriage is hard work. Well, it’s true. But it’s not only about putting in the work. It’s also about keeping an eye out for those day-to-day things that creep up on your relationship and start to become a problem. And typically, these are things that you don’t expect to cause much damage. Sometimes it’s even stuff that you thought was there to make your relationship stronger. But you see, even if something has the potential to make your relationship stronger, it can definitely make your relationship weaker if you aren’t careful.
Here are a few unexpected things that could be destroying your marriage.
Technology. I love technology as much as the next person, but I also know how distracting it is, particularly if it’s a critical part of the work you do. Whether it’s navigating the web, completing a project, or catching up with social media, too much time on your computer can begin to damage your relationship. Consider blocking out times during the week where you unplug and spend more time with your spouse.
Your friends. Friends typically mean well, but that does really matter when their “well-meaning” actions and words start to interfere with your relationship. You and your spouse both need friends, but you also have to think about what role those friends play in your life and in your relationship. How much are you telling them about your marriage? Do you spend more of your free time with them than you do with your spouse? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself to determine if your friendships are strengthening your marriage and not damaging it.
Your kids. I love my kids and so does my husband. But, if you are not careful, a funny thing happens when you have kids. You start to have your life revolve around them and they become the priority—all the time. As a parent, certainly having your kids as the priority seems like the right thing, but your spouse should still be a priority in your life too. Focusing only on your kids and forgetting all about the person raising them with you can become a problem.
Your career. I’m a pretty driven person, and I have no intentions of changing that. But I also know that there is a need to pace myself because I have a husband and kids. If I become consumed by my drive to succeed, I can begin to ignore their needs. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but if he realizes that cheering for me is causing me to forget about him, imagine how he’ll feel? Focusing on your career is critical and commendable, but not at the expense of your marriage and your family.
Your Self-Esteem. Low self-esteem has a negative impact on every area of your life. If you don’t feel good about who you are, you end up in this unhealthy pattern that compels you to look outwards for validation. The problem is, your spouse can’t give you anything that you aren’t willing to give yourself, nor should they have to. You may not realize it, but low self-esteem is one of those things that slowly eats away at the relationships in your life, and your marriage is certainly one of them.