Top 10 ways to destroy a marriage

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Keep your marriage happy by paying heed to this list of don'ts
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Find out what not to do if you want a healthy marriage.

We've all read the self-help articles that tell us how to keep our marriage healthy and strong the list of things to do. What about a list of don'ts? There are some things that you can do to almost guarantee that your marriage will fail. In case you want to know what to avoid, here is a list of the top 10 ways to destroy a marriage.

The Biggies

1.    Have an affair. This will, of course, spell instant death to any trust between you and your partner. It will probably mean an immediate end to your marriage. When you got married, you promised to be faithful. Keep your promise.

2.    Have a non-sexual affair. Many people wouldn't call this an affair, but it is almost as hurtful to a marriage as physical adultery. If you are spending a lot of time with a person of the opposite sex, and that person is giving you the communication, affection, and attention you should be getting from your spouse, you are on dangerous ground. It is not a big leap from a non-sexual affair to a sexual one.

3.    Have a secret addiction. You may think your gambling, alcohol, drug, or pornography addiction is not affecting your marriage because your spouse doesn't know about it, but you're wrong. The secret will eventually come out, and it will be a relationship-killer. While you are keeping the secret, it will have an effect on the way you treat your spouse and on the way you communicate. Don't keep secrets. If you have a problem, confess it and seek help.

4.    Have a baby in order to fix a troubled marriage. A baby is a human being, not a marriage patch-kit. It is troubling how many people think that a troubled marriage can be saved by having a child. I love my kids, but a baby especially during the first year of life is a major source of exhaustion and tension. If your marriage is already in trouble, having a baby will hurt not help your relationship.

The Rest

5.    Keep financial secrets. I have heard so many examples of marriages where one spouse was seriously in debt, and the other spouse had no idea until complete and utter financial devastation hit. It is fine to want to have your own accounts, but you should be up-front about how much debt you are incurring. Have a set amount that you both agree is acceptable to spend without consulting the other. Any major purchases over that amount should be discussed.

6.    Don't communicate. A marriage cannot survive with merely superficial conversation. It is easy to get too busy; then you find that your only conversations are about the kids, the house, and the day-to-day business of running your lives. If you're not communicating on the deeper level of feelings, hopes and dreams, you're not truly communicating.

7.    Quit dating. Saying "I do" doesn't mean that you should stop dating your spouse. You still need time together time away from home, work, the kids and other responsibilities. My husband and I try to have a bi-weekly date night, and a once or twice-a-year weekend away without the kids. Even though we see each other every day, we need time to just concentrate on each other.

8.    Pour all your energy into your kids. Kids undoubtedly need time and attention. But parents often focus all of their energy on their kids and ignore each other. Then, when the kids grow up and leave home, they're left with each other and realize that they have become strangers. Nurture your marriage so it will last.

9.    Be a workaholic. Have a career that you love, but don't have a career that you love more than your spouse. You're not going to come to the end of your life and think, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Let work be a part of your life, not the entirety. Your spouse needs more from you than a financial contribution.

10.    Live as roommates with benefits. It is always surprising to me how many marriages are like this. Two people live completely separate lives and only interact when it comes to sex. A person needs more out of a marriage than sexual release. This may not directly lead to a divorce, but it certainly will not give you a happy marriage. If you are going into your marriage thinking, "I'll keep my financial accounts, my friends, my hobbies, my life nothing has to change," then don't plan on being married very long.

There you have it: the top 10 ways to destroy a marriage. Think of it as your not-to-do list unless, of course, you're looking for a quick divorce.

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