It can be mind-blowing to watch a happy couple go from giddily saying their “I do’s” to signing divorce papers a few years down the road. Though no two marriages end in the same way—and often there are situations where the couple shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place—relationships break down when one or both members of the couple are unhappy or dissatisfied with the marriage in some way. So, how do you avoid unhappiness in your relationship? You can start by avoiding these eight mindless habits that could potentially be ruining your marriage.
1. Forgetting to Give Compliments
When you first started dating, it was so easy to give a quick compliment and say “You’re so beautiful” or “You make my days so much better,” but now that you’re married, don’t let that practice fall by the wayside. You may think it’s obvious that you think your spouse is wonderful, but reminding them every once in a while will make them feel appreciated, loved, and they’ll likely return the favor.
We’re all guilty of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when we’re lounging on the couch, but try to be more present when you’re around your significant other—especially when you’re out in public together or eating dinner. Phubbing, or ignoring your partner to pay attention to your phone, is one of those annoying habits that starts to wear on your spouse, so put the phone down and pay attention to that cute face across from you.
3. Not Giving Full Attention in Conversations
There’s nothing worse than talking to what feels like a brick wall. You will inevitably not be able to give your 100% full attention to your spouse at every moment of the day (we all get hungry, tired, or distracted), but routinely not giving your full attention in conversations can be irritating to your partner. It sounds simple, but when your spouse starts to chat with you, always try to do your best to be attentive, listen carefully, and respond when they ask you questions.
4. Neglecting Date Night
If you have kids or a demanding work schedule, it can be difficult to fit in a date night, but this could be detrimental to your marriage. There’s no need to pull out all the stops to have a successful date night—you can simply take the time to order a pizza and watch Netflix on the couch together. Setting aside time to be together, laugh together, and do something besides participating in the minutiae of everyday life is crucial in a marriage.
5. Letting Stress Get the Better of You
In times of stress, we lean on our partners for support—but letting it get the better of you can be bad for your relationship. For example, if you’re going through a stressful time at work, don’t let that be the only thing you talk about every evening at dinner. Don’t forget to ask them about their day, how things are going at work, and most importantly, don’t forget to try to have a little fun every so often.
6. Not Having Physical Touch
Sexual intimacy is important in every relationship, but it’s not the only kind of physical touch that’s necessary to sustain your affection and attraction. Holding hands, giving each other a hug, or giving a foot rub at the end of a long day is just as important as being intimate in the bedroom. Make it a habit to regularly touch each other in some way to stay connected.
7. Venting to Friends and Family About Your Marriage
It’s an easy habit to fall into: your spouse did something annoying and you spill all of the dirty details to your girlfriends. But this mindless habit can get your marriage into trouble. While it’s perfectly okay to vent occasionally, talking to your friends and family about every little disagreement that you have may raise some flags about your relationship—and possibly even make your friends or family dislike your spouse. Plus, your husband or wife won’t likely appreciate your dishing all of the details on your latest fight. Some things should remain private between the two of you.
8. Forgetting to Discuss Finances
There’s no need to discuss every purchase you make with your spouse, but you should be communicative about any big ticket items you want to save up for or purchase, about any debt you’ve incurred, or about bills you’ve forgotten to pay. Forgetting or neglecting to discuss finances is always identified as one of the top issues in a marriage, so just as long as you’re open and honest about money, you shouldn’t have any issues.