15 Marriage Mistakes that Women Make
While some people prefer the single life, anyone who craves partnership can tell you how good it feels to finally find “the one” and feel like the awfulness of dating is behind you. However, by viewing marriage as a milestone that once achieved can subsist on love alone without work or attention, we are setting ourselves up for failure, or rather, divorce.
We hate to get all “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” on you, but psychologists agree that men and women generally have different approaches to relationships and have certain traits that each tends to bring to a partnership. While men are certainly not blameless, here are 15 common marriage mistakes that women sometimes make that can lead to breakups.
Being too accommodating
Modern day feminism is all about choice. If you prefer to take a back seat to him when it comes to household decisions, you do you. If you enjoy being a homemaker and waiting on your man, go for it! However, some women can be too accommodating in their quest to maintain their marriage which can not only affect their sense of self, but allows resentment to fester. If you make it all about him, don’t be surprised when he does too.
Having unrealistic expectations
Much like how pornography affects how men approach sex, romantic comedies have impacted the way women view relationships. Women are told that once they’ve found their soulmate they will remain in a permanent state of newly-wedded bliss, and if they don’t, they should question if he’s really “the one.” Stephen Arterburn, author of The Seven Minute Marriage Solution, advises that this approach is a set-up for disappointment. By accepting that your marriage is a complex “series of seasons” that both partners must work at, your union will become stronger and more rewarding in the long run.
Not making your expectations known
Another aspect of the “soulmate model” that so many people unrealistically aspire to is the idea that true soulmates should be able to know what the other thinks, feels, and wants without having to ask. But in reality, your partner isn’t a mind reader and can’t possibly live up to your expectations if they haven’t been properly communicated. Discuss with your partner what each of you wants from the other and work together to meet those expectations.
Underestimating the importance of tone
What you say to your partner matters, but studies show that how you say it is even more important. Coloring your communication with hurtful tones like sarcasm, disgust, anger, and disdain can have a negative effect on your partner’s emotions and self-esteem, and can affect your chances of staying married in the long run. Saying the same thing in a kinder way will still get the message across with getting his hackles up.
Not making time for sex
It turns out the old myth that women “just aren’t that into sex” might be rooted in more truth than you’d think. Studies have revealed that women’s libidos tend to decrease not just with age but in long-term relationships. It may be normal for a couple’s sex life to cool off as the years pass, but making a little effort in the bedroom department can still go a long way. Be honest with your partner and talk openly about how the two of you can work together to bring that old spark back.
Trying to change your partner
We should all work towards becoming the best version of ourselves over the course of our lifetime, however change must come from within. Many women make the mistake of believing that their wife-status will somehow give them the authority to force their partner to change whether it’s their appearance, their personality, or their habits. Spoiler alert: it won’t. Instead lead by example and focus on becoming your own best self; your spouse might just follow suit.
Saddling him with your insecurities
A good partner should lift your spirits when you’re feeling down and make you feel like the most desirable woman in the world. But constantly relying on your husband for reassurance will wear him out, especially if your insecurities revolve around jealousy and fidelity. Lean on him when necessary, but remember that only you can be held responsible for your own happiness and self-esteem.
Comparing your relationship
It’s natural to measure yourself against others, but comparing your marriage with that of your parents or friends is a dangerous game. Nothing is as it appears and their “perfect” relationship probably isn’t. To cut down on comparisons, start viewing the two of you as more of a unit and practice what psychologists call “self-other overlap.” This practice will make you more likely to protect the two of you from outside influences and will bring you closer together.
Not appreciating your partner
Whether it’s housework, looking after the kids, or paying the bills, it’s easy to get caught up in what your husband isn’t doing. Instead, try to focus on what he is bringing to your partnership. If the balance is way off, that should be a topic of discussion, but try to find ways to appreciate the things he does for you. It will let him know he’s valued and possibly inspire him to do more.
Putting everything and everyone else first
Life as a modern wife can be hectic, especially when a career and kids are thrown into the mix. It’s easy to put everything else first and your partner last. After all, they know how busy you are so they should understand, right? However, prioritizing your relationship is a key element in maintaining it; connect with him and schedule couple time whenever you can. Putting him first when you can will hopefully make him want to do the same.
Not having your own life
While you should try to view you and your partner as a unit, that doesn’t mean you should lose all sense of self when you enter into a marriage. Maintain your own friendships and hobbies, and encourage him to do the same. Spending time apart with your own friends or even just by yourself is healthy and in the long run, it will make your time with him that much sweeter.
Making assumptions instead of asking
You know the old saying, “when you assume you make an ass out of you and me.” Is your husband acting a little distant? It must be something you did! He’s late coming home from work? He must be out with someone else! Just as it’s important for you to communicate your thoughts with him, ask him for his. Instead of making assumptions and imagining scenarios, just ask!
Being overly jealous
Most relationships have to weather a little jealousy from time to time, but if you’re barring him from speaking to certain co-workers or flipping out because he smiled at the checkout girl, you just might find yourself single one day. If your husband hasn’t given you any reason not to trust him, you should take him at his word and not police his interactions with other women.
Not choosing your battles
Not every issue is worth fighting for, particularly in a relationship. Before blowing up at your spouse, ask yourself: will you remember this issue tomorrow or a year from now? Are you nitpicking? Are you in a bad mood? Is this a bad time for your partner and will fighting over this just make him feel worse? Before you react, reflect and decide if it’s really the hill you want to die on.
Rehashing old arguments
Actress Marlene Dietrich put it best when she said, “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.” Bringing up settled arguments or past wrongs may help you prove whatever point you’re trying to make, but it isn’t helping your marriage. Let go of the past and instead try to focus on the issues at present. If your husband feels like forgiveness is impossible, he’ll stop seeking it.