In the game of Jenga, each block you select could either help build the next level or cause the entire tower to crumble. It's the same with marriage: each action can draw you and your spouse closer together or further apart. To keep your marriage from becoming a shaking tower, here are seven things you should always avoid:
Sex allows a couple to become closer emotionally and physically. Withholding sex can leave your partner feeling confused and rejected. This can diminish the daily communication and intimacy that builds sexual and emotional connection.
"A marriage without sexual intimacy and friendship will eventually sputter and die," said Cathy Meyer, certified divorce coach. Instead, solve your problems in other, more effective ways to keep your marriage healthy and happy.
2. Being too friendly with your coworkers
A few inside jokes probably aren't harmful, but when you start coming up with goofy nicknames for each other, teasing each other too much or hanging outside of work alone, then you are a little too close. Your intentions might be innocent, but your spouse may feel otherwise. Respect your partner by setting and keeping boundaries with other people.
3. Siding with your parents
You and your partner should try to always be on the same page. Siding with your parents in an argument or putting their needs before your spouse's needs can cause distrust and lessen genuine intimacy in your relationship, according to marriage experts Gary and Joy Lundberg. Don't push your parents out of your life, but make sure your sweetheart's needs and wants come first.
"When you put your spouse first, your parents and your spouse will recognize how important your marriage is to you," the Lundbergs said.
4. Putting your friends first
Your parents aren't the only people you might be putting before your spouse; your friends might take priority, too. Just because you're married doesn't mean you can't go out with your pals anymore. But when you are spending more time with your buddies than with your husband or wife, it's time to reevaluate your choices.
Watch out for other ways you are putting your partner second. Your job, video games and cellphone are common culprits that can come before your spouse without you even realizing it. Relationships need nurturing. Continue to date your spouse to keep the spark in your marriage.
5. Too much nagging
Husbands and wives nag on each other occasionally. Jim might nag Susan about taking out the baby's dirty diapers, and Susan might nag Jim about replacing the light bulbs. Your spouse can feel discouraged when you nag too much and don't give enough appreciation. Remember to praise your partner, no matter how small the action (and try to nag sparingly).
You don't have to ask for permission every time you want to buy a $2 muffin from the bakery on your way to work, but you should talk to your partner about big purchases before opening your wallet. It's their money, too, even if you are the breadwinner of the house.
Keep your spouse in the loop about where you are and what you're doing. You don't have to give them a step-by-step replay of your day, but keeping them involved in your life is a big sign of trust and love. Give your spouse a general idea about what your plans are and when you'll be home in order to foster trust in your relationship.
7. Making assumptions
You might think you know your spouse, especially if you've been together a long time, but it is dangerous to make assumptions. There are direct and indirect assumptions; both can be toxic to your relationship. Direct assumptions are thoughts you have, and indirect assumptions are information from someone else that you assume to be true.
Instead of assuming information, go directly to your spouse for the truth. It could save your relationship.
Just one of these issues can destroy your relationship, so don't shrug off them off as something that's not worth your time to fix. Your marriage is worth your time. Build a marriage full of love, trust and happiness by avoiding these seven things.