When I first got married four years ago, an activity at my bridal shower included a clear shower curtain hanging on the wall where the girls could write advice to me and my fiancé in marker. I remember reading the curtain over and over during the first few months of our marriage when I had it on the shower curtain rod for a while.
The advice was cute, like "fight naked" and "Tell him he has a cute butt every day." And while the little bits of advice proved to be healthy tidbits to our marriage, I quickly learned some especially important pieces of advice were missing from that shower curtain.
These are 5 things that can easily creep in and leave lasting scars:
1. Mentioning divorce
Crazy things can come out of all our mouths when we're angry. And although we regret it, a lot of things that are said can't be taken back simply because they cut so deep and will always be remembered. Mentioning divorce is one of those things.
Mentioning divorce, or leaving, will cause insecurity in your partner that will last for a really long time. Before you speak during an argument, take a breath and wait a while before making any quick statements or decisions.
2. Reminding him or her of past mistakes
Your spouse is the one person in the world that you eventually have ALL the dirt on. You know past relationships, past mistakes, and the things that have happened to him or her that have caused deep pain, regret, or issues. Safeguard that information. Don't use it against your spouse in an argument or to "bite back" when you feel offended or attacked. Mentioning past "offenses" will make your spouse feel like you look down on them and judge them for the things they entrusted you with.
3. Placing blame
It's easy to do. You never take the trash out! You always expect me to know what you're thinking! You are way too sensitive! You don't do anything around the house!
Sound familiar? All of these nagging, biting, callous phrases don't convey love to your spouse, instead it tells them you don't appreciate them, they aren't who you want them to be, and you're unsatisfied with who they are. There are so many other ways to communicate issues without placing blame upon the one you love the most and causing them to feel bad about themselves.
Do you tell your mom about all of your fights? Is there a co-worker you dish to? Whether you realize it or not, telling others about your fights or your issues will cause deep pain and scarring to your marriage, cause trust issues, and make the relationships between your spouse and your family and friends strained and unpleasant. It's good to have a circle of people you can talk to, but your marriage is the most sacred relationship you'll have, and you have to protect it.
Deeply confiding in others of the opposite sex can also lead to emotional affairs that take you away from the love and support of your spouse.
5. Unrealistic expectations
We don't live in a Nicholas Sparks' novel, although the hopeless romantic in many of us would like to. After the wedding festivities end, and the dress is put away, life kicks in, and although there is so much joy and so many things to look forward to— it also takes work.
The movies and the books don't talk about the morning breath, the health issues that arise, the fights over kids, the way he puts his dirty clothes beside the laundry basket rather than in it. Don't judge your spouse according to the unrealistic expectations that Hollywood paints, and don't let the little mistakes and bumps in the road convince you it's not meant to be. Because like it's been said many times before, once you choose your love— it's all about deciding to love your choice every single day.