Deadly Sins of a Marriage
by: Michael Fuchs
While I am not the world’s foremost expert on relationships, I do know that Sherry and I have a very strong marriage, and have never been more in love.
I’ve failed at marriage before, and learning from my mistakes, is what has helped me become a better husband. I needed to learn these deadly sins of relationships, how to recognize them and how to avoid them. I found that there are things a couple can do to make a marriage work. I wish I had a magic formula, but I don’t.
Here are a few tips that might help your marriage achieve a more God honoring relationship. These things need to be done daily, if possible:
- Spend time together; talking, sharing, and giving attention to each other.
- Appreciate each other by pouring value into your spouse.
- Learn to see your spouse the way God see’s them.
- Be intimate by sharing your dreams, your wishes, your desires and your fears.
- Be affection often.
- Pray for your spouse, and your marriage daily
Purpose yourself to do the things that bring life, joy, growth, and added value to your relationship. Avoid the things that take away, devalue or even cause separation in the relationship. If you can avoid the following, and focus instead on doing the things above, you will be on your way to a happier, fuller marriage. Turn to God for help, strength and wisdom concerning your marriage.
The following needs to be avoided at all cost:
- Resentment. This is a poison that starts as something small (“He didn’t get a new roll of toilet paper” or “She doesn’t wash her dishes after she eats”) and builds up into something big. Resentment is dangerous because it often flies under our radar, so that we don’t even notice we have the resentment, and our partner doesn’t realize that there’s anything wrong. If you ever notice yourself having resentment, you need to address this immediately, before it gets worse. Cut it off while it’s small. There are two good ways to deal with resentment. Start and breathe, just let it go — accept your partner for who they are. Remember that none of us is perfect. Then talk to your partner about it, and try to come up with a solution that works for both of you (not just for you); try to talk to them in a non-confrontational way, but in a way that expresses how you feel without being accusatory. Always make the relationship a bigger priority than the issue. You should ask God to take away any resentment to restore the relationship.
- Jealousy. It’s hard to control jealousy. It seems to happen by itself, out of our control, and unwanted. Jealousy, like resentment, is a relationship poison. When it gets to a certain level it turns into a need to control your partner, turning into unnecessary conflicts, and both parties become unhappy. If you have problems with jealousy, it’s important that you examine and deal with the root issue. It might be tied to your childhood, a past relationship where you got hurt, or in an incident in the past. Ask God to help you with Jealousy to avoid conflict and bitterness.
- Unrealistic expectations. Often we have an idea of what our partner should be like. We might expect them to clean up after themselves, to be considerate, and to always think of us first. We might expect them to surprise us, to support us, to always have a smile, to work hard and not be lazy. We may expect them to make us happy, fix our problems or have the right answers. Maybe not these expectations, but almost always we have expectations of our partner. Sometimes we have expectations that are too high to meet. You should not hold them to perfection— no one is perfect. We can’t expect them to be cheerful and loving every minute of the day — everyone has their moods. We can’t expect them to always think of us all the time. We can’t expect them to be exactly as we are, as everyone is different. High expectations lead to disappointment and frustration, especially if we do not communicate these expectations. The remedy is to lower your expectations — allow your partner to be themselves. Accept and love them for who they are. God tells us to love ‘unconditionally’. Turn to the unconditional love of God, asking Him to supply you with His grace and mercy.
- Not making time. This is a problem with couples who have kids, but also with other couples who get caught up in work, hobbies, friends, family or other passions. Couples who don’t spend time alone together will drift apart. While spending time together with the kids, other friends and family is a good thing, it’s important that you have time alone together. Make time. Seriously — make the time. It can be done. Make spending time with my spouse a priority. Get a babysitter, and go on a date. It doesn’t have to be an expensive date — some time in nature, or exercising together, or watching a DVD and having a home-cooked dinner, are all good options. When you’re together, make an effort to connect, not just be together. Call on God to provide resources in providing time for your marriage relationship.
- Lack of communication. This sin affects all the others on this list — it’s been said that good communication is the cornerstone of a good relationship. If you have resentment, you must talk it out rather than let the resentment grow. If you are jealous, you must communicate in an open and honest manner to address the insecurities. If you have expectations of your partner, you must communicate them. If there are any problems whatsoever, you must communicate them and work them out. Communication doesn’t just mean talking or arguing, rather good communication is being honest without attacking or blaming each other. Communicate your feelings of being hurt, frustrated, sorry, scared, sad, or unhappy without criticizing. Communicate a desire to work out a solution that works for you both, rather than a need for the other person to change. Always make the relationship a bigger priority than the issue. Remember that God gave us two ears and one mouth as a reminder that ‘we should listen twice as much as we talk’. Listening is a very important part of communication. Without listening there is no communication.
- Not showing gratitude. Sometimes there are no real problems in a relationship, such as resentment or jealousy or unrealistic expectations. This lack of gratitude and appreciation is just as bad as the other problems. Without value your partner will feel like they are being taken for granted. Every person wants to be appreciated for what they do. While you might have some problems with what your partner does, you should also realize that your partner also does good things. Do they wash the dishes or cook? Do they clean up after you or support you in your job? Do they take the time to say thank you, give a hug and kiss. This little expression can go a long way. Gratitude, appreciation and value towards each other is what will help your relationship grow. Learn each other’s “Love Language’.
- (see: ‘The 5 Love Languages’ at the bottom of this page)
- Lack of affection. Everything else can be going right, including the expression of gratitude, but if there is no affection among partners then there is an area of concern. In effect, the relationship is drifting towards a platonic status. That might be better than many relationships that have serious problems, but it’s not a good thing. Affection is very important. Everyone wants someone to love. Take the time, every single day, to give affection to your partner. Greet them when coming home from work, with a hug. Wake them up with a passionate kiss. Sneak up behind them with a kiss on the neck. Make out in the movie theater like teen-agers. Caress their back and neck while watching TV. Wink at them and smile. “Every day I ask God to keep Sherry as the most beautiful lady in the world to me”.
- Stubbornness. Every relationship will have problems and argument, but it’s important that you learn to work out these problems after cooling down. Unfortunately, many of us are too stubborn to even talk about things. Perhaps we always want to be right. Perhaps we never want to admit that we made a mistake. Perhaps we don’t like to say, “I am sorry”. I’ve learned over the years that this is just childish. When I find myself being stubborn these days, I try to get over this childishness, put away my ego and make the relationship a bigger priority than the issue. Talk about the problem and work it out. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to reconcile. Then move past it to better things. Ask God to keep you humble.
It has taken, Sherry and I, years of applying these principles to form the marriage bond we have. The first couple or so years it seemed like work. I had to remind myself to do what is good and right for the marriage relationship, instead of what I felt like doing. Now it would seem strange not to pour value into Sherry. It would foreign to me not to daily build to make our relationship stronger. It is as natural as breathing to unconditionally love Sherry for who she is. Doing everything I possible to make our marriage the best it can be for Sherry.
Imagine what it would feel like to be on the receiving side of that kind of marriage.
Now imagine what it would be like if both spouses were on the receiving side of that kind of marriage.
This is made possible through a relationship with God. To find out more about a relationship with God go to:
The 5 Love Languages® profile will give you a thorough analysis of your emotional communication preference. It will single out your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect with your loved one with intimacy and fulfillment.