Mistakes are an inevitable part of life, and as easy as it is to look past the little things, ongoing mistakes in behavior can threaten the foundations of your marriage, and even lead to its collapse!
Here are six common mistakes that women often make in their marriages:
1. Unclear Expectations
One of the most common complaints among husbands is that they simply don’t know what their wives want or expect. This can lead to all sorts of problems when it comes to household responsibilities, finances, time spent together, or any other aspect of a marriage. Men can sometimes feel blindsided by complaints or problems that they simply didn’t know were occurring – because they did not know what was expected of them. To keep things clear, outline your expectations up front. If you want him home at a certain time, let him know! Don’t expect him to be able to read your mind.
2. Forgetting Affection
Because men are supposed to be the “tough” ones, it may be easy for women to forget that they desire affection, praise, and approval as much as anyone else. Women can make a bad habit of doling out kind words and loving touches to the children, but neglect to do so for their husbands. Things like eye contact, words of encouragement, and physical (non-sexual) contact are important to him, even if he doesn’t say so. Give him a hug or thank him for his help around the house. The praise and affection will help him feel connected to you, and remind him that his efforts are not going unrecognized.
3. Tone Choice
Tone of voice goes a long way, as we’ve all experienced, but sometimes we forget to keep our own in check. A sour or angry tone can build roadblocks for communication no matter the issue. If you’re addressing a problem in your relationship, try to do so constructively – maintain a calm and even tone of voice. If you’re just venting about your day, remember who you are speaking with, and don’t use your spouse for a verbal punching bag.
While strong marriages involve plenty of compromise, there is such thing as being too accommodating. If you are sacrificing your own wants and needs for the sake of your husband’s at every turn, you run the risk of setting a precedent that can only be dissatisfying in the long run. Some women tend to make their marriages all about their husband’s interests, hobbies, and goals, and don’t leave room for their own. Eventually, this can lead to resentment and prevent the two of you from establishing separate, equal identities in the marriage. To avoid this, be vocal about the things you want to accomplish or the interests you want to pursue. Make reaching your individual goals a team effort, with each supporting the other. Working together to handle daily responsibilities will allow you both the freedom to pursue your passions.
5. Communication Barriers
Men and women have different styles of communicating and you must understand that continuing to repeat poor communication techniques only makes things worse over time. If you find that repeating yourself only makes him shut down, or that your “discussions” always turn into arguments, it may be time to reevaluate the way you are speaking to each other. All too often, men complain that their wives “nag” them – this could just mean that while she’s pressing the point, he is withdrawing (neither of which are constructive ways of communicating). You have to work together to find effective ways of speaking to one another. Since women are typically the more active communicators, it may be up to you to make the first move.
6. Sex as A Low Priority
Perhaps the largest mistake women make in marriages is undervaluing the importance of their sex lives. Whether it’s related to stress, fatigue, poor body image, or a myriad of other reasons, many women simply do not see the importance of feeling and acting sexual. Not only is sex a primary way that men feel connected to their partners, it is also a fundamental component of what separates friends from lovers. A good sex life has countless benefits, from increased connectedness and emotional well-being to promoting physical health. For most women, improving their sex lives starts with feeling sexy – so find ways to feel confident and attractive. Furthermore, men often complain that the burden of initiating sexual activity falls upon them. They want to feel wanted too, so go for it as often as possible! Making your sex life a priority in your marriage will be beneficial for everyone, and the more you do it, the better you get.
Even though we all make mistakes, avoiding these major pitfalls could not only save you a great deal of heartache, but actually make your marriage stronger. Have you found ways to overcome these common mistakes? Let us know marriage advice women can use in the comments!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com