There's a certain degree of give and take required for a marriage to last, and we each have our own individual level of tolerance. For some people, it doesn’t take much in the way of bad behavior to want out. For others, they routinely handle bad behavior with little apparent impact until it inevitably boils over. Either way, there is a point where bad behaviors become a marriage deal breaker. If you want to keep your marriage as strong and healthy as possible, do your best to avoid everything on this list.
Read on for 28 marriage deal breakers.
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 one is clearly in the wrong, each spouse has to be able to take responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof).
A Spouse Who Can't Be Vulnerable
As husband and wife, you should both feel safe enough to share deep thoughts and emotions with each other in order to truly have your needs met. "Allowing ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable is also a tremendous source of strength and the only way we can truly connect in our most personal relationships," says Dianne Grande, Ph.D.
A Spouse Who Doesn't Make an Effort To Make 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 still contributes to taking care of the home and kids, let her know her efforts are appreciated. At the end of the day, we all want to feel like we are seen, heard, and we matter.
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.
A Spouse Who Consistently 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. "Trust is fragile. Secrets and lies jeopardize trust and can damage us and our relationships—sometimes irreparably," says therapist Darlene Lancer.
A Spouse Who Takes the Other Side
In a partnership, it's important to make the other person feel like they are heard and their feelings matter. If they are upset over the actions of another person, it’s your spouse’s feelings you should be concerned about, and vice versa. Neither of you should ever feel ganged-up on.
A Spouse Who Is Jealous of Friends and Family
Jealousy over a partner's relationships or time spent with close loved ones is typically a sign of feeling threatened and insecure. It's important to know that it is considered unhealthy and abusive behavior to actively try to keep someone away from them.
If jealously is an issue you can't seem to work through, considering talking with a therapist.
"Work on yourself. Work on building your confidence in yourself and your relationship," says Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D.
A Spouse Who Constantly Talks About Their Ex
If a spouse is still angry over an ex, they are not emotionally divorced from their ex. It shouldn't be anyone's job to play therapist or attempt to fix past relationship issues. Everyone deserves a spouse who is adult enough to let go of anger and focus on the relationship they are in now.
A Spouse Who Cheats
Cheating is one of the most common causes for a break-up. Unless you’ve agreed, together, to have an open marriage, cheating can definitely cause irreversible pain and damage the trust that is crucial to a strong relationship.
A Spouse Who Hits
The first time a hand is lifted to harm another should be the last time. No questions asked. If you are on the receiving end of physical harm, confide in someone you trust and seek whatever support you can to walk away from the marriage before it's too late.
The Spouse Who Screams, Yells, and Curses
Verbal abuse is as serious and destructive as physical abuse. Verbal abuse doesn’t leave physical bruises, but it does eventually break the other person and, ultimately, the marriage bond. It is always important to pay attention to how the other person makes you feel. If you're on the receiving end of this behavior, confide in someone you trust and seek help.
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 never ignore the other's request. “When you establish your boundaries and are respectful of your partner’s boundaries, you can both feel safe and secure and will more likely experience love toward each other," says Susan Orenstein, Ph.D.
A Spouse Who Doesn't Stay Out of the Other's Business
Privacy is an important need and boundary that should be mutually respected. As adults, we should all be able to fight our own battles and clean up our own messes. There is no need for the other to insert themselves into unnecessary drama that does not directly concern them.
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 it. Remember that marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Focusing on what's working instead of stirring the pot is the best bet for relationship longevity.
A Spouse With Low Sex Drive
It is common to experience dry spells when daily life gets demanding and exhausting, especially when children are in the mix. If sex dwindles to nearly nothing, it is the couple's responsibility to make an effort to spark that fire again. Never underestimate the basic intimate needs of your partner; everyone deserves to have a satisfying sex life.
A Spouse Who Has Poor Hygiene
A common mistake is "letting yourself go" after tying the knot. As hard as it is, try to resist the urge to live in sweatpants and stop bathing. Make the effort to go on regular date nights and occasionally dress up for your partner the way you did in the early days. It's essential for keeping the passion alive.
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 you to chip in and help with the kids while I cook dinner,” just do it. Acknowledging your partner's feelings and desires is a basic form of respect.