HomeBalanceRuin a Marriage in 19 Ways (plus 1 Way to Save It)

Ruin a Marriage in 19 Ways (plus 1 Way to Save It)

One month ago (9/15/20) Kristen and I celebrated 19 years of marriage. I shared a list of 19 reasons why I love my wife and we had a great 24-hour getaway in Austin without kids. On the surface, everything seems great with my wife and I. And thankfully, it is (below the surface as well)! But, I would be remiss to act like we always have it together and everything in marriage is perfect bliss.

In the middle of writing the blog post about how great my wife is, we got into an argument about a few minor issues. We quickly resolved it later that night, but the irony was not lost on me. As I reflected on all the reasons why I do love my wife and am grateful that I’m married to her, I did think through how easily it could all just wash away. We’ve all seen couples who look like they have it all together end up divorced or in misery.

When a couple goes through marriage problems, it’s typically not an overnight problem. It’s usually, emphasis on usually, a slow fade that comes from a series of poor decisions. In today’s post, I’m sharing 19 ways I could ruin my marriage. I share this not to be morbid, but partly to help keep me aware of the small decisions and slow fade that could ruin an incredible thing.

My hope in writing this post is that you also would make the time to consider how to both keep your relationship strong and to help you become aware of the small things that could take you in the wrong direction. This is a true “list post” without an explanation of most of the points. Many of these are self-explanatory, but I will expound on any that need more clarification. Keep reading to find out how you can get a free marriage book to help you not destroy your marriage.

19 Ways to Ruin Your Marriage

1. Fear of man.

I could say “yes” to the wrong things and “no” to the right things because I worry too much of what others might think of me and how I don’t want to disappoint them or let them down. See Galatians 1:10.

2. Food.

No, it’s not food in and of itself, but an addiction to and obsession with food. I could literally eat myself to death and ruin my marriage with my health decisions.

3. Idolatry of my children.

We don’t want to the couple who looks up one day when the kids are gone and the nest is empty and wonder what we do with ourselves now that the kids are gone.

4. Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/YouTube TV/fill in the blank with your favorite TV/Cable provider.

I could literally watch The Office all the time, non-stop. Enough said.

5. My stupid iPhone.

Have you watched The Social Dilemma yet? Highly recommended but it will mess with you. I have a great, fully functioning phone, but something in me craves the new iPhone 12. Been there before, and I’ll probably be there again.

6. Greed and the pursuit of more, bigger, and newer.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with the proverbial Jones’ and all their stuff. Greed leads me to work too much, to focus on selling more books, to finding more speaking gigs, and to keeping my eye on anything other than Jesus. This guarantees a ruined marriage in the long run.

7. A check the box mentality in my time in the Word.

I pray the Word of God CHANGES you and me in every way. May it never be something I do to simply check the box. I want God’s Word to transform me, my marriage, and my family.

Read Next on Thriving Marriages  Attunement: This Odd Word Can Save Your Marriage

8. Other people.

People are great. God’s Word says to love and pursue others. I just want to make sure the “other” I pursue foremost is my wife.

9. A busy schedule filled with good things while I say “no” to the best things.

This is slightly different than #1 in that it’s not just things I say “yes” to, but those commitments we have for our whole family (i.e., sports, youth group, band). These are all good things, but when there are too many of them on too many nights, they can become bad/distracting things.

10. Unchecked and unconfessed lust.

I recently thought of a friend who is now separated and near divorced from his wife. One day he checked a girl out who wasn’t his wife and thought in his head that he wanted to get to know her. That look turned into lustful desire that led to a full-blown affair.

11. Boredom.

When we’re bored we look for fun outside of marriage. One of the common characteristics of couples who have an affair is that they’re bored in their marriage. Have fun. Date your spouse.

12. Stop having sex with each other.

God gave married couples the gift of sex for our good and for the glory of God. It’s a great gift; don’t waste it!

13. Quit talking to each other (and instead talk about each other to others).

If you want to tank your marriage, complain about your spouse to others, and don’t address the challenges with each other.

14. Keep secrets from each other.

Hiding purchases, passwords, and online conversations with someone of the opposite sex who’s not your spouse is a surefire way to ruin your marriage. My friend Rick Smith did a great marriage talk about marriage and technology. Check it out!

15. Threaten divorce.

In our house, we NEVER speak the “D-Word.” It’s not in our vocabulary and we don’t casually or jokingly throw it around. Remove the word (and the option) from your vocabulary.

16. Make decisions without discussing with your spouse.

A reminder: You’re one-flesh with each (Genesis 2:24), which means all decisions you make affect you AND your spouse.

17. Isolate.

The couple who isolates themselves seeks their own desires and fights against all sound wisdom (Provers 18:1). Rather, hang out with the wise and grow wise (Proverbs 13:20).

18. Nag your spouse and don’t encourage them.

A lot of scriptures come to mind here: Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24, 27:15. Here’s a better one—encourage each other, day by day, so that we’re not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). Your spouse needs you to encourage them. Seek to encourage, not nag.

19. Try to win every argument and discussion.

You might win the battle but you’ll lose the war.

As always, after a post like this you can probably think of many more reasons. Therefore, your list probably does not match up with mine. Remember, the purpose of this post is to help you become aware of ways you can destroy your marriage. As a result, when you become aware of what they are, you fight like crazy against them. I’m cheering you on and praying for you.

Giveaway: I’ve got a few marriage books I’d love to give away. Leave a comment below, share what can take you down, and I’ll give away a few books from those who comment below. Let’s help each other, friends. There’s too much at stake.

Your Turn:

What are some ways you find yourself drifting away from your spouse?

What are some ways you fight/combat the drift?