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We all have habits, whether its biting your nails, your morning coffee, or doodling on the margins of your notebook. There are things in our lives that have been woven into the fabric of who we are by repetition and time that most of us do these things without even thinking about what we are doing. Some of these things are good and they help us stay on track and work to better ourselves. Others can be rather nasty and tear down rather than build us up. We all have work to do individually but as people we can also exhibit habits, good or bad, in our relationships with other people. This is most evident when it comes to the marriage relationship and some of the bad habits we can do without even knowing it can have devastating effects.
Here are three bad habits that can kill a marriage:
1) Poor Communication
Read any marriage book or go to any weekend seminar and communication will be one of the most talked about subjects in marriage, and for good reason! In any good relationship there needs to be good communication. So much of our Bible is filled with tips and teachings on communication; when to speak, how to speak, and what to speak. Look at what James has to say about how we use communication:
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (James 2:5-6)
If we don’t use our communication purposefully and carefully, we can set our marriage on fire, and its not the good kind of fire either. Sadly, this has become the habit of some. They address their loved ones without thought or care and the fail to talk about the things that matter most in their lives.
We live in a very self-serving world. The concept of doing something for another person without thought or care of compensation is rare. The golden rule that Jesus discussed in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,” is hardly practiced in the world and even for Christians this can be a struggle. We are surrounded by a world whose attitude all about self-preservation and self-gratitude this can easily become a bad habit in your marriage. From your time spent in front of a television to your time spent between the sheets, chronic selfishness can absolutely ruin a marriage. The type of love that is supposed to bind a marriage together is self-sacrificing, agape love and selfishness is its enemy.
This could be filed under both categories one and two but for this article I’m going to list it as its own thing. As horrible as this is, in my experience working with couples, there are a lot of lies told in a marriage. They can be as small as, “Yes, dear, you do look great in that dress,” or as big as, “No, I’m not cheating on you.” There is a lot of area to cover in the space between these two statements but I could go on and on with the lies I’ve told in my marriage and other ones that I’ve heard in other people’s marriages. We are imperfect people and we are self-centered and so we lie to cover up our mistakes or insecurities. We all do it. But should we just accept this? Absolutely not. A good friend of mine recently explained it this way: Relationships require trust. Lies break down trust. So, if we want good relationships, we won’t lie to each other. And it really is that simple. If you want a good marriage, then cut out the lies, all of the lies, even the small, habitual ones.
Here’s why this is important. Not only do these habits work to tear down a marriage, they are also the foundation for a porn addiction to take root.
- If you aren’t communicating, then you aren’t practicing intimacy in your marriage. You aren’t allowing your spouse to see and hear the real you. If you can’t talk about the easy things well, then you are going to have a hard time talking about the difficult things when they come up.
- If you are practicing selfishness in your marriage, then when it comes to things like being satisfied sexually only your needs will be considered. This is a double-edged sword here and sexual selfishness needs to address by both husband and wife, but one thing is certain, if you make a habit out of only caring about your own sexual needs it will eventually lead one of you to the depraved land of pornography.
- If you are making a habit of lying in your marriage it will eventually erode what intimacy you have left. Small lies make big lies easier to tell and then all the lies you have to tell in order to cover up the other lies. It will spiral out of control to the point that your lies, big or small, have burned your marriage to the ground. Lying about a porn addiction only adds more fuel, more shame, to the fire and without even trying you are caught in the cycle of shame, regret, and self-hatred.
Do yourself and your spouse a favor, actively work against these habits from taking root in your marriage. Develop some good habits to take their place, and if you need help breaking these habits or climbing out of a porn addiction, reach out. Please let us know if there is anything we can help you with.