She was hot, and she knew it. Blonde. Her long, tanned legs were complemented by a short skirt and accented by soaring silver stilettos. She had sparkling blue eyes and a beckoning little smile. It fed her ego to flirt, to gauge the mens’ interest and admiration. She turned heads (including mine) as she floated across the room to talk with my husband. Before she walked away, she gave his arm a lingering (almost massaging) touch with her long graceful fingers…
Immediately he looked at me, shrugged, and smiled. We had a good talk about it—and a good laugh.
That was a few years ago, but earlier in our marriage, I might have felt threatened by her or been afraid to mention it. Now I do not hesitate. It’s important to talk about things (and people) that could kill our marriage because there’s a lot at stake—our marriage, our family, and our entire future.
There are forces from within and without just waiting to take couples down. To preserve marriage, it is essential to fight attacks as a team and to work at keeping the love alive. Marriage is the most deep and meaningful relationship that we have with another person on this earth.
So in the name of protecting marriage, here are a few killers you should avoid:
I have always laughed at my husband, ever the accountant, for turning off the lights to save money. As a result of not upholding him even in this small way, my kids never turn off the lights, even when they are leaving. Belittling or disrespect happens when you put down the feelings, preferences, or actions of your spouse, and it’s no joke. It’s a killer.
2) No Appreciation
Verbal affirmation and praise is important to give each other. Intentionally communicating gratitude breathes life into marriage. Ungrateful people have short memories, but appreciation requires you to remember what your spouse has done well. Recognizing things you are grateful for in the past helps us treat each other with more grace today.
It’s easy to put the marriage on hold to answer more pressing calls. But we all want to be desired, pursued, and valued, don’t we? Setting aside a date night or a romantic weekend is like giving water to someone dying of thirst. Marriage is not maintenance free; it requires time and attention to flourish. Ignoring your marriage will kill it.
4) Keeping Financial Secrets
Being financially responsible and trustworthy is vital for keeping a marriage alive. Hiding shopping bags (as I’ve done before), using several credit cards to pay, or going on spending binges is not teamwork and it isn’t honest. Financial problems can ruin a relationship, especially if someone is making secret purchases.
5) Flirting With Danger
Once you’re married, you can’t talk or think like you’re single. The days of casual, fun, flirting are over—sorry. And gawking or talking about other women or men you know as hot or sexy is inappropriate. Affairs can begin if you don’t use safeguards. For example, if my husband has to go to lunch with a woman for work, he tells me beforehand, and I don’t text other men unless it’s something specific. Not because of a lack of trust, but to actively protect our relationship. No marriage is immune from temptation. Not one.
6) Sizing Up
It’s not okay to compare your husband to the man down the street who brings his wife breakfast in bed and does the laundry, or your wife to the size two, smart witty girl at work. None of us want to be compared, judged, or hear “Why can you be like him or her?” Each marriage looks different. Be at peace with your own.
7) Being Clueless
Red flags like the super jealous husband, the wife that avoids romance, or the husband that cuts his wife down shouldn’t be ignored. Don’t be oblivious. There are symptoms of trouble long before a marriage dies. Find the root cause behind negative behavior and address it before it gets out of hand.
8) Keeping Score
Tallying offenses can become a strangely enjoyable habit, even a crutch at times. Marriage isn’t a game of who did what, but of who you are—a team. Lists and score cards of “all I’ve done for you” just cause wounds. Don’t put off forgiveness. It won’t kill you to apologize, but it could kill your marriage if you don’t.
9) Lack of Prayer
There is wisdom in the old adage, “prayer makes you care.” Praying with and for someone helps you love them more. It bonds you together on the spiritual level. Prayer enlists the power of God in protecting and giving life to your marriage.