Avoid the Typical Pitfalls of Marriage

Before you read an article concerning the pitfalls of marriage, please watch the following YouTube video. It features Chonda Pierce and Ken Davis. This is a “Show and Tell” skit that humorously demonstrates one of the pitfalls of marriage. It’s a matter of not communicating clearly with each other:

And now, for something a bit more serious to help you:


No couple embarks on married life expecting to end up in divorce court. But that’s what happens to more than one million American couples each year. And when they do the postmortem, they often find their marriage was sabotaged by one of these 10 traps:

1. Taking your partner for granted.

That’s like having a garden that you’re not weeding or fertilizing, says Robert Billingham, professor of human development and family studies at Indiana University. “You can’t expect it to continue to thrive.” Let your partner know you appreciate him or her.

2. Forgetting that a good marriage takes work.

“People think that having a happy marriage is a magical, mystical occurrence,” says marriage and family therapist Dr. Leslie Parrott. He is the co-author of When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages (Zondervan/HarperCollins). “We’ve accepted the fact that parenting takes a lot of skill. But we don’t want to accept the idea that romantic love takes a great deal of work, too.”

3. Not talking through conflict.

If you rely on heavy sighs, slammed doors and other non-verbal communication when something is bothering you, you could be playing with fire. As painful as it may be to get the conversation started, you must speak up. “Otherwise, problems start festering and begin to take on a life of their own,” explains Sharon Naylor, author of The Unofficial Guide to Divorce (Hungry Minds).

4. Failing to romance your partner.

“We all want to be made to feel special,” says psychologist Kate Wachs. She is the author of Relationships for Dummies (Hungry Minds) and Dr. Kate’s Love Secrets (Paper Chase Press). “That’s why it’s so important to set aside at least one night per week for you and your spouse. Use this regular ‘date night’ to share your hopes and dreams.”

5. Fighting dirty.

The better you know somebody, the easier it is to hurt that person. “No matter how angry you may be about something,” Naylor says. “You need to resist the temptation to figure out the one thing that will hurt your partner the most and then use that against him.”

6. Fighting over money. A recent study by the Million Dollar Round Table, an international association of life insurance and financial services professionals, found that 43% of married couples argue about money. If money’s becoming a major source of conflict, you might consider sitting down with a financial planner or some other 3rd party that can help come up with a financial game plan you both can live with.

7. Letting the passion fizzle.

“Have sex often. Anytime either of you is in the mood,” Wachs says. “If you wait until both partners are in the mood, you won’t end up having much sex at all. And over time, you’ll end up drifting apart.”

8. Shutting down sexually when you’re angry rather than dealing with issues.

Although withholding affection may seem like the ideal way to punish your partner, you risk seriously damaging your relationship, Wachs says.

9. Failing to understand that marriages have ups and downs.

“It’s OK to expect incredible moments in your marriage,” Parrott says. “Just don’t expect them to happen every day.”

10. Throwing in the towel too easily.

“We’re so accustomed to the concept of obsolescence that we treat our partners as disposable,” says Herb Glieberman. He is a Chicago divorce attorney and author. Vow to rekindle the flames rather than looking for the closest escape hatch.

This article is titled, “AVOID THE TYPICAL PITFALLS OF MARRIAGE.” It is written by Ann Douglas, and was featured in The Chicago Tribune, Jan. 2, 2002.

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Filed under: Grow Your Marriage

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11 responses to “Avoid the Typical Pitfalls of Marriage

  1. (SA)  I agree with the “taking for granted” comment. Too often we take our partners for granted so sometimes they end up feeling unloved – we need to make a point of telling them how much we appreciate and love them.

  2. (NIGERIA)  More often than not, we allow simple things to turn into big problems. Love really is a lot of hardwork and sacrifice. Sometimes it’s better to choose to forgive and let go of the hurt than to retaliate. I agree that we should always look for ways to solve our problems and resolve our differences instead of looking for the next escape route because the grass is not always greener on the other side…

  3. (SA)  I totally agree about taking our partners for granted. But what if romance is not in you because of realising the big mistake you have made? I cannot kiss & make love to my partner because I don’t love him, feeling disgusted when kissing him, not able to have sex with him. I don’t encourage him, always seing the ugliness “wondering what in a world I was doing”, why did I agree to be married to this guy?

    I mixed friendship with love as we were friends first. Before we got married I dumped him cause I realized I couldn’t be with him. I would not be able to introduce him to my friends, I would be ashamed to walk around with him… I told him those reasons when I dumped him and he was so devastated. My sister & brother said I would regret the way I treated him, and he even said “am I the ugliest person in the world?” I felt sorry for him and gave it a try, but deep down I knew that I’m not honest to myself… now it’s eating me a lot.

    The first few years I was just trying not to concentrate on that part, but I realize that it kills me inside… I don’t want to go out with him around friends, I never encourage him and right now it’s worse, I don’t want him around my body. I feel so much joy when I’m alone, around friends and my family. The thing that has kept me in this marriage are my two little girls, cause they love their father & me together. I don’t want to take that away from them. That’s a sacrifice that I took… though it’s killing me inside.

    I’ve lost weight and I sometimes lash out because of anger inside, blaming myself and regrets. Please help me because I’m dying. I’m walking around comparing him with other men, if I chose this one it would have been better, and I know it’s wrong… what shall I do?

    1. (MALAWI)  Vicky (SA) I am very sorry for the way you feel about your husband. What you should know is that every human being is created in the image of GOD. How come this man whom you say is ugly, you have fathered him with 2 children? This means there is something in him which you luv. What I can advise you is to try find something in your husband which interests you and concentrate on that.

      Please find a pastor to pray for you. You should pray hard for God to remove that which is inside you that makes you see your husband as an ugly person. Since this has been printed in your mind you need special deliverance.

    2. (USA)  Hi Vicky, I hope none of this sounds too cliche, but I’m putting it out there because it is true, and I hope it is helpful to you. First, love involves feelings, but love isn’t primarily a feeling. It is an attitude or a posture towards someone which values them and desires their best. Granted, there are different aspects of love, and some of those aspects are unique to marriage, but don’t confuse erotic desire or infatuation (the “pitter-patter” in the heart you get when you are into someone new) with love. They aren’t identical.

      Someone told me, through some very, very tough storms in our marriage, that feelings come and go. It is very true. A few years ago my wife and I almost split. She hated my guts, and I was bitter toward her, too. Today, those feelings are very different -praise God. Your feelings toward him can change. What ultimately matters in marriage is being committed to the other person. As we do that, as we build that commitment and that safety (that intimacy), feelings deepen. They really do.

      I can’t tell you what to do, and I don’t want to minimize how painful and horrendous your situation is, but if you stick it out it can get better.

      But I will be honest. It sounds like you have a problem, not him. I hope I don’t offend you. I’m trying to give it to you straight because I believe if you deal with this head on it will help save your marriage, as well as save you from a lot of pain and anguish (and potentially your husband from being crushed, if he isn’t already). It sounds to me like you have a serious self-image problem that can’t handle having a guy on your arm that isn’t “good looking enough.” So, you are terrified and controlled by what others might think of you, as though people will think you are less than what you are if they see you have an unattractive man beside you. I don’t condemn you, because all of us struggle with various things of that nature, but I will tell you that it is a prison. It is a prison that will control your life and make you miserable, and it already has.

      But it isn’t only the problem of what others think. It is even the idea of being with him, who is so unattractive, that is so hard to deal with. So overall, I think the problem here is that you recoil from his physical appearance because of how it makes you feel about yourself. It makes you feel insecure. And that is partly why you compare him to other men, too. To you, your value as a woman, your “success” and status and worth as a woman = the attractiveness of the “catch” on your arm.

      Let’s use the analogy of a car. Some people really tie their self-worth to the kind of car they drive. If they drive an old, rusted-out jalopy, they park 5 streets over when meeting up with friends for a night out. They make excuses for not driving, like that their car is in the shop, just so nobody will see that it is their car. If only they had a Ferrari… then everything would be better. Or, they kid themselves, maybe not a Ferrari… but at least a brand new car, maybe a nice Toyota. But really the problem is that they attach the appearance and value of their car with their own value and status as a person.

      You are using your man like some people use their cars. You are using him (and if it wasn’t him it would be some other guy) to say “Look. I know I’m someone because of him and how hot he is.” And since your husband isn’t so hot, then you feel like a poor beggar, an embarassed street urchin wearing rags, in a kingdom of princesses. The thing is… if you dumped your husband and found some other guy, it wouldn’t go away. You would still be using your man like that, even if you were happier in the short term. And what would probably happen, if you landed yourself a hottie, is that you would live in a prison of fear because, now, you would have your golden calf and be terrified of losing it rather than lamenting of what you don’t have. You would be miserable again, but only in a different way.

      So…anyway, how do you get past this? Well, if I am right in what I’m saying (I may not be??), then begin by confessing it to God. Circumstances don’t make us sin, a counselor once told me. Circumstances reveal what is in our hearts. Here, in your marriage, God is revealing a real pride problem in your heart, I believe. He is eager and willing and merciful to hear you about it and help you grow through it. Tell the Lord about it. Tell him how you feel, in detail. Find a friend, one close friend who will not tell a soul, and confess it to them, too. Make sure it is someone who is mature enough to encourage you in the Lord. Next, I would find a good Christian/Biblical counselor to help you work through some of these things.

      And finally, I encourage you to actively seek to love your husband, even if you don’t feel like it. That means doing things for him that are for his good -encourage him, pray for him, make him breakfast, tell him when he looks nice (or… nicer than normal), and engage him sexually with the aim of making it about him rather than you. It isn’t hipocrisy if you aren’t 100% into it. It would be hipocrisy if you claimed that you were. Things will change. It will be hard, and it will take time, but they can change. We’re all gonna get old and ugly. :)

      I remember reading an article a few years ago about a woman who had a friend who left her husband for someone “better.” At the time, the friend was elated because she finally found what she wanted. The woman heard through the grapevine that she divorced her husband and eventually married this man. A few years down the line this woman and her friend caught up. Curious, the woman asked her friend how her awesome new husband was. With a dull sigh, she said, “Hairy.” The fantasy wore off. She realized he wasn’t so great. The grass always seem greener on the other side, and the enemy wants us to believe that. But really… it isn’t. One day, the blinders come off and we say, “What have I done!?”

      I hope I’m not being too hard on you, and I hope this really does help you. I pray that the Lord would do something mighty in your marriage so that you can both see how love, real love, can flourish and blossom.

    3. (ZIMBABWE)  Hie Vicky, It hurts to hear what you are going thru right now, but I believe it can soon came to pass. That is, if you want it to and ask God to intervene. The fact that you took your husband as a friend before and you would do everything and go anywhere with him without problems, and you reconciled again after you broke up before the mariage leaves me with a lot of questions.

      Don’t you think it’s just the devil trying to separate you when in actual fact, you guys were meant for each other. Ugliness is nothing when it comes to love. You might leave him for the handsome guys but they will mistreat you and you will forever live to regret it. Whether you don’t move back with him or show up with him, the fact is, people know him as your husband, and will always know. Change your attitude and your marriage will work out. Your husband loves you… and I think he will be prepared to work on himself in order to please you. Think of your daughters, my dear.

      1. Vicky, I agree with what others have said but ask the Lord to show you the good qualities of your husband and to accept the way he is. What matters really, is the heart not the face. The face deceives many people but inside are rubbish. Ask the Lord to make you look your husband with new eyes to look beyond his face. You might be shocked that you have a wonderful husband but you were not seeing that because your were too concerned with his face.

        I pray that the Lord will open your eyes and see that the devil is the one who is trying to make you compare your husband with the others and making you a prisoner. That the Lord will make you to accept your husband the way he is because he was wonderfully made in His own image and not to listen to what people say about your husband but for you to love him and respect him.

    4. Vicky, I am so sorry you are having these feelings about your spouse. I WILL PRAY FOR YOU NOW.