Does anyone marry with the intent to poison their marriage? The answer is probably no, yet it happens every day; some couples don't even realize they are doing it. If you find yourself putting any effort into the following 5 steps, you are headed toward a poisoned, unhappy marriage.
Perhaps the easiest way to poison your marriage is to act as if you forgot you have a spouse. This can easily happen in several different ways. Thinking only of yourself and what you want. Refusing to sacrifice your own needs for your spouse. Making big decisions alone and buying costly items without consulting your spouse. Constantly asking yourself, "What am I getting out of this marriage?" or "Why aren't my needs being met?" or telling yourself, "I need to be happy." Never letting yourself consider what your spouse needs or wants in order to be happy. As soon as you have become the most important person in your life, your marriage is poisoned.
Never be the first to say 'I'm sorry'
Couples argue; it's a fact. Some argue a lot and some argue little, but two different people are always going to have differing views about something, especially when those two people are as different as a man and a woman. If you want to poison your marriage, make sure you are never the first one to say 'I'm sorry' after a disagreement. It doesn't really even matter who started it–be prideful enough to refuse to admit any fault at all, and that pride will help you poison your marriage.
Practice your fault-finding skills
If you enjoy looking for the faults in others, by all means, apply this skill to your marriage and it won't be happy for long. If you allow it, marriage between two imperfect people can easily become a breeding ground for fault-finding and criticism. The way your spouse brushes their teeth or how they leave their dirty socks around the house are things you can start a fight over. These little fights can make your spouse feel like they will never measure up. To take the fault-finding to the next level, be sure to share and discuss your spouse's many faults with all your friends...in front of your spouse.
This one requires you to keep a file in your brain titled, "All the things my spouse has ever done to hurt or annoy me". All you have to do is keep all those hurts and annoyances tucked away for quick reference later on. For ruining your marriage, there's nothing like a good past hurt to toss into your spouse's face when they've managed to hurt you again. This step is particularly useful during an argument that you feel you are losing. It may turn the tide in your favor temporarily, but be prepared for the poisonous consequences.
Don't date anymore
This step might not bring results very fast, but if you forget to date your spouse sooner or later poison seeps inot your marriage. Failing to keep the romance alive with little things like love notes, one-on-one time or heart-to-heart chats are ways to make sure this happens. Once you stop dating your spouse, take things a step further and spend all your time with girlfriends or buddies instead of spending time together. You can also stay at work extra late or put all your focus on the kids. This tells your spouse that he or she is no longer your highest priority. Forget the romance and soon enough your spouse will feel forgotten, taken for granted or even unloved.
Now that you know the 5 easy steps to a poisoned, unhappy marriage, you also know how you can turn things around and enjoy a thriving, happy marriage. Simply take those 5 steps and do the opposite. Always put your spouse first, be the first to say "I'm sorry", look for the good in your spouse, let go of faults and be forgiving, and never stop dating. It might take a little more work and effort, but you won't regret the results.
Christine Sedlacek earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Utah. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles have appeared in the Deseret News print and online, KSL.com, and other internet sites.