“Marriage is a mistake every man should make.”

-George Jessel

Making mistakes is a regular part of married life.  Why else would patience, forgiveness, and understanding be such popular wedding vow themes?  I’ll be the first to admit that I make mistakes in my marriage.  Yet, I vowed to myself when I walked down the aisle that I would always be willing to humbly accept responsibility for my mistakes and do my best to avoid repeating them.

Always one to look on the bright side, I believe that my experience of making mistakes in my own marriage has enriched my ability as a relationship coach to help couples break their own unhealthy patterns of error.  Start with my top three list of marriage mistakes.  It’s okay to admit that you’ve made them!

Marriage Mistake #1 – Staying in the rut

Cycles are comfy.  After a while, patterns feel safe and familiar, no matter how unhealthy they may be.  However, contrary to popular belief, dogs of any age can learn new tricks.  Don’t let your marriage stagnate by cementing bad habits.  Couples make Marriage Mistake #1 when they find themselves in a rut and stay there.  You and your spouse can avoid making Mistake #1 again by examining your marriage for conflict-causing cycles and committing to changing them.

Marriage Mistake #2 – Playing the victim

When a conflict heats up at home, it is natural to feel temporarily blinded to your partner’s position.  However, you make Mistake #2 when you regularly maintain your martyrdom instead of listening to your spouse’s side of the story.  Self-righteously closing yourself off to your partner’s perspective is a mistake because it immediately shuts down your lines of communication, making conflict resolution nearly impossible.  Don’t make Marriage Mistake #2 twice.  When you feel yourself playing the Poor Me card, step outside yourself and step into your spouse’s shoes, instead.

Marriage Mistake #3 – Disrespecting your spouse

O, the Oprah Magazine recently ran an article on marriage traps, pointing to a popular trap that shouldn’t surprise too many married couples:  eye rolling.  Citing a University of Washington study, O pointed out that eye rolling is a small facial expression that conveys huge disrespect, the fulcrum of this particular marriage trap.  I’d be shocked to meet a married couple that hasn’t exchanged a rolled eye or two.  Marriage Mistake #3 is exceedingly common, but exceptionally dangerous.  Disrespect tells your partner they are not valued.   When repeated, this message often leads to disengagement, infidelity, and, ultimately, divorce.     If respect is an issue in your marriage, address it by fixing your body language first.  Step #1 – No more eye rolling!

As long as you’re married, you can expect to keep making mistakes.  The secret to maintaining a healthy, resilient relationship comes down to how you manage your mistakes as you make them.

p.s. Need some 1-on-1 coaching to support your marriage? Click here to apply!

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