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Life is full of change, and relationships take part in that — sometimes in small steps and sometimes in large leaps. If you're not moving forward, you're losing ground. Stay out of these six danger zones to grow closer to your spouse as your marriage matures.
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, and it can be especially destructive to a marriage. Pride keeps us from apologizing — a pretty common event in a lasting relationship. When we disagree, it is our pride that makes us want to be right, which usually means the other person has to be wrong. To rid your marriage of pride, focus on the good things about your spouse and your relationship and express gratitude. And become really, really good at giving and accepting genuine apologies.
Pornography hurts marriages. In a 1988 study on pornography, researchers Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant concluded pornography "decreased satisfaction with partner's sexual performance, affection and appearance." In the years since, pornography has become more common and readily available through technology, but the harmful effects have not changed. Pornography creates unrealistic sexual expectations and emotionally violates the promises made to your spouse at your wedding. According to Fight The New Drug, pornography is also said to be equally as addictive to many hard drugs like cocaine.
Unmet expectations account for a great deal of our unhappiness — even if those expectations are unrealistic. Discontent has very little to do with external forces and everything to do with our attitude and approach. If you're finding that everything your spouse does annoys you, try some of these techniques to bring contentment into your life — and your marriage.
In the beginning of a relationship, your focus is solely on the other person. You make it a priority to be together. After the honeymoon stage has faded — even if they still deeply care about the other person — many people get caught up in kids and work and other obligations. A plant that is not consistently watered and nourished will wither. The same is true for relationships. Make time for fun in your relationship. Send flirty texts to each other during the day. Guard your date night.
5. (Mis)-assigning meaning
There is a level of comfort in marriage. The better you know someone, the more you can anticipate how they feel or what they think. But, be careful — especially when you are assuming something negative — not to put words in your partner's mouth. Effective communication remains important through all stages of a relationship.
Nobody owes you happiness. Nobody can give it to you. You don't find it, you make it. Some days — weeks or years — will be better than others. Don't expect your spouse to make you happy. If you want your marriage to work, choose to be happy as an individual and bring that happiness to your marriage. It may be a lot of work, but marriage should be a lot of fun.
This article is brought to you by Del Sol. Del Sol's merchandise changes colors in the sun. The science is different for marriage, but the principle is the same — relationships can change. Let the sun shine down on your marriage as you change for the better.