Sometimes clichés are valid and do make a bit of sense – for example, hindsight being 20/20 and “marriages being made in heaven, while maintenance is here on earth.” Very nice!
The facts of married life do include speedbumps. Most speedbumps are cautions that, if handled properly, can keep marriages interesting. Some are jarring. And some are outright serious jolts and risks.
It’s kind of scary, but North American stats are unanimous and warn that the speedbumps of maneuvering marriage are so serious that, sadly, some people just can’t manage. More than fifty percent end in divorce. Some ‘experts’ suggest that the common relationship and marriage speedbumps are actually learning opportunities.
While there are many, many clichés, cheap-shot gender stereotypes — and being stubborn is a gender-neutral fact of life — stats do indicate that men tend to think about marriage speedbumps less than women. Here are 20 marriage mistakes men most commonly make:
1. Ignoring the Top 10 List for partnership
The list is as follows. Memorize it, fellas.
- Financial and physical security
- Demonstrations of affection
- Non-sexual touch
- Need of praise for effort
- Spiritual growth
- Emotional release
- Family togetherness
- Reaffirmation of looking good
- Time alone
2. Me-me-me self-absorption
One of the biggest red flags of a relationship in trouble is a man who spends a lot of time at work — not because he may be having an affair, but simply because his needs are being met primarily in the sphere of work and not in his relationship.
Any time men put work or anything else ahead of their relationship, trouble happens. Properly managing work/life balance is vital.
3. Not listening
A common mistake that married men (and couples) make is not listening to one another.
Perhaps there really is something more interesting on TV, but that can’t possibly be more important than your marriage.
4. Being dishonest
Lies, whether they’re little white ones or huge ones, will eventually wreck a marriage. Even the smallest of lies will create an atmosphere of mistrust in the relationship.
Be honest with each other, no matter how awkward it gets. Your marriage will thank you for it.
5. No time…for each other
A relationship needs nurturing. Not that men are always the culprits, just usually. It’s a reliable factor that couples must make time for the corny but important need to ‘be together.’
With hectic schedules, busy lives, and outside pressures, it’s so easy to take things for granted and slow find yourselves growing further and further apart.
6. Ignored feelings
There are a lot of jokes, jabs, stereotypes and myths. Of course, both men and women have feelings and vary how much or how little they talk about and express them. Yes, women are generally more emotional than men. That’s not a bad thing. And it’s not a good thing. It’s just life.
As a rule, men need to learn to become more conscious and more aware about how complex women’s feelings are, and how they work!
7. Trust: never built it or broke it
It’s more than just a trendy relationship counselor cliché — trust is a key component of married life. Trust is critical for a great relationship.
Trust. No wondering or second guessing. Unfortunately, experience shows that, once compromised or threatened, trust is difficult to get back.
8. Your way, or else!
No one can possibly be right all the time. And no one needs to be! Trying to always get your own way or get the last word will only wear your partner down.
Even without the stereotypes, both men and women have moments of stubborn! Being right almost becomes an obsession. There has to be an element of compromise.
9. Respect as a foreign concept
Marriage does not mean that one partner owns the other. It’s a partnership of equals and both people deserve the respect of the other.
Respect that each person has the right to their own opinions. Respect the right to remain an individual. And respect the right to flourish. Without respect, in most aspects of the relationship, the marriage gets shaky and unstable.
10. The tenderness void
A touch. A tender moment. Maybe it’s a cuddle. Spooning. Maybe it’s sappy. Maybe it’s not.
Maybe it’s a cruel stereotype that guys just don’t get it. Intimacy is not everything in a marriage, but it is vitally important and, like dominoes, rebounds and impacts on many other things.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be all mush and gush. Loving care, tenderness and intimacy draws people closer together emotionally too, and it helps to create a solid, lasting bond.
11. Being selfish
The problem with really, truly selfish people, is that they frustratingly don’t realize, or are in denial, about being selfish. Like we always tell toddlers about most things in life, marriage is definitely, absolutely all about sharing. There’s no room for selfish and greedy.
You share the money. You share decisions. You share good times and bad times. And you share problems and solutions.
12. Unfair fighting
Disagreements and arguments are bound to happen! It happens to everybody. Resorting to unfair fighting, knowing your partner well enough and taking advantage of when and how to push her buttons, listing your partner’s faults or dredging up past arguments is dangerous in the long run.
Resolution is not easy, but it’s worth it — and much more important than a “win.”
You can’t have a meaningful relationship together if you are too often apart from each other.
It’s good to have your own space sometimes, but with all the pressures of work and the today’s hectic lifestyles, people get driven apart when they don’t notice it happening.
14. Refusing responsibility
According to relationship experts, men usually don’t take responsibility. The accusation is that it’s because they are often immature. Studies show that men tend to mature slower than women.
Men must take responsibility in a marriage. Don’t pass it off and blame it on the family, the job, or the circumstances.
15. Reactive vs. proactive approaches to life
Men tend to react to life versus being proactive and making things happen. Too often, reactive men become over-reactive men and force their spouses into making the decisions, rather than discussing, problem solving, and making tough but proactive decisions of their own.
The average woman doesn’t like a controlling husband. But a woman doesn’t want a bump on the log husband, either.
16. Being uninvolved with the kids
Men, more often than women, fall into the trap of parenting from a distance. Those with this bad habit tend to let mom make the decisions and then critique what went wrong.
This is not a good or long-term plan. For various documented reasons, men have more influence over the children than women. Children instinctually gravitate towards dad’s influence. Make it a good one.
17. Treating sex as an event instead of a lifestyle
There are many tacky and easy clichés about the differing attitudes of men vs. women when it comes to healthy sex. Many serious studies show that men often treat sex as mostly a physical fulfillment. But there’s agreement that sex is best when there is emotional and mental involvement.
Physical satisfaction and then rolling over and going to sleep is a no-no. Many therapists say that good sex is a direct reflection of your marriage.
18. Being off in your own world
Too many husbands build islands or foreign lands in their minds, shutting out their wives from their thoughts and imagination.
This is a problem. The man must try to welcome the woman into all areas of the relationship. Dream and plan for the future together.
19. Not prepping for the future
Failing to plan for the future of the marriage — financially, for the children, for vacations – doesn’t send a good message. How secure is the relationship? How stable?
For the woman, the knowledge that you’re thinking about details like retirement, old age, death, when the kids are gone, when the kids are teenagers, when the kids get married, and so forth, brings a feeling of greater security.
20. Engaging in not-funny teasing
Your teasing could be purely innocent, but if it is hurting your partner, then that could be damaging to the marriage.
What you think is playful and harmless can sometimes be a lot more hurtful than you realize, especially if it is repeated over and over again.