28 Marriage Deal Breakers that Will Land You in Divorce Court

Updated 04/12/19
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Creative RM/Getty Images

Living and doing life with your spouse is great, but it can also be like having a mirror reflecting all of your ugliest moments. There's a certain degree of give and take required for marriage to last, and we each have our own individual level of tolerance.

For some, it doesn’t take much in the way of bad behavior to cut and run. For others who are more patient, they routinely handle bad behavior with little apparent impact. Either way, there is a point where bad behaviors become a marriage deal breaker. Here are 28 marriage deal breakers that could land you in divorce court. 

1. A spouse who doesn’t have your back.

Does your brother treat you like dirt in front of your husband, and he says nothing? Does your mother criticize your husband, and you allow it to continue? It’s your job to have your spouse’s back.

2. A spouse who doesn’t take responsibility.

Whether it’s a refusal to change a diaper, take the trash out, or say “I’m sorry” when you are clearly in the wrong, each spouse has to be able to take responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof). 

3. A spouse who can’t be vulnerable.

As husband and wife, you should both feel safe enough to share your deepest thoughts and emotions with each other. 

4. A spouse who doesn’t make an effort to help you feel special.

We all want to be cared for by the one we love. If your husband washes the dishes, but doesn’t wipe down the countertop, thank him for washing the dishes. Don’t criticize because he didn’t wipe down the countertop. If your wife works a full-time job and takes care of the home and kids on top of that, let her know her efforts are appreciated. 

5. A spouse whose behavior causes you doubt.

Does he say he’ll fix that leaking faucet but, three months later, it is still leaking? Does she say she’ll try harder to show an interest in sex but after time, she is still withholding? It’s the seemingly small behaviors that promote the growth of major mistrust in a marriage—don’t let the small things take root.

6. A spouse who doesn’t account for their whereabouts.

There is no need to check in every hour on the hour, but,if you’re going to be two hours late getting home from work, let your spouse know. Stay in communication throughout the day.

7. A spouse who can’t hold a job.

It it takes two incomes to run a household, these days. Find a job, commit to it, and stick with it. Do your part and work.

8. A spouse who constantly lies.

You stopped off for a few beers with the guys on the way home from work, but you told her the boss asked you to work late. She went shopping and spent way too much money and hid her purchases in the trunk to keep you from knowing. Small lies eventually come out, and when a spouse deals with one lie after another, don’t be surprised when you find yourself married to someone who doubts everything you say.

9. A spouse who takes the other side.

You should side with your spouse whether they are wrong or right. If they are upset over the actions of another person, it’s your spouse’s feelings you should be concerned about. Do what you can to keep your spouse from feeling ganged-up on.

10. A spouse who constantly breaks promises.  

 If you promise your spouse something, keep your promise. Don't claim you never made one, either, to get out of something.

11. A spouse who brings outside influences into the marriage.

Don't go to friends and family to show your spouse how wrong they are. Keep outside influences out of your marriage.

12. A spouse who disrespects your property.

Just because a possession of your spouse's is inconsequential to you, doesn’t mean you get to treat it as if it is inconsequential to your spouse. Be respectful.

13. A spouse who refuses to socialize with your friends and family.

If friends and family hold a special place in your spouse’s life, you should attempt to connect with them also. 

14. A spouse who is jealous of your friends and family.

Not only do you not want to associate with your spouse’s friends and family, you don’t want your spouse to either. Normally this is a sign you feel threatened and insecure. Work through those issues with a therapist.

15. A spouse who constantly talks about how evil their ex was.

If your spouse is still angry over an ex, they are not emotionally divorced from their ex. It isn’t your job to side with your spouse against another person, and it isn’t your job to attempt to fix the issues between them and the ex. You deserve a spouse who is adult enough to let go of anger and focus on the relationship they are in now.

16. A spouse who walks away from arguments.

Problems don’t get solved if your spouse is unable to engage in conflict and work with you to find a solution. It’s a bad sign when one spouse is unwilling to stand their ground and fight for the relationship. 

17. A spouse who cheats.

This needs little explanation. There is no room in any marriage for infidelity. Unless you’ve agreed, together, to have an open marriage, cheating is definitely a deal breaker.

18. A spouse who hits you.

Let your spouse know that the first time they lift a hand to harm you, will be the last time. No questions asked. The first time you are hit, you need to walk away from the marriage.

19. The spouse who screams, yells and curses you.

Verbal abuse is as destructive to your spouse as physical abuse. Verbal abuse doesn’t leave bruises, but it does eventually break the marriage bond and your spouses self-esteem. The person you are screaming, yelling and cursing at will one day set some boundaries with you. 

20. The spouse who doesn’t respect your personal boundaries.

We all have personal boundaries and deserve to have those respected by a spouse. It can be a small thing, but by ignoring your spouse's request, you disrespect them.

21. A spouse who doesn’t stay out of your business.

 Every conflict your spouse is a party to, is their conflict. There is no need for you to go in and clean it up.

22. A spouse who forgets birthdays, anniversaries, or special holidays.

Put some effort into showing your spouse you’ve given them some thought on special days. 

23. A spouse who is addicted to drama.

Some people live and die by how much drama is going on in their lives. If there isn’t any drama, they will manufacture drama. Focus on being happy instead of stirring the pot.

24. A spouse who threatens divorce often.

A spouse who constantly threatens divorce needs to bolster their conflict resolution skills. 

25. A spouse who drinks too much.

Alcoholism and marriage do not go hand in hand. It’s destructive behavior so, don’t put up with it.

26. A spouse with a low sex drive.

If sex dwindles to nearly nothing once the vows are said, you married someone who used sex to manipulate you into marriage with someone you don’t know. 

27. A spouse who has poor hygiene.

If your spouse feels the need to reach for a disinfectant before having sex with you, take a shower. Hygiene and appearance are as important after marriage as they were before marriage. 

28. A spouse who dismisses your thoughts and desires.

Marriage is a partnership, treat it as one. If your husband tells you, “No we can’t afford a new car,” take his concern over finances seriously. If your wife says, “I need to chip in and help with the kids while I cook dinner.” Just do it.

Want a happy marriage? Knowing each other’s marriage deal breakers will help keep you from engaging in behaviors that could risk the health of your marriage and lead to divorce. 

Related Stories