Phillip and Elaine have been married for nine years. They own a home in Tualatin, Oregon. They are dedicated parents and consistently sacrifice for the needs of their children. Their vacations are often spent driving the kids for their traveling sports teams.
Phillip and Elaine are also very disciplined with their spending. The couple follows their budget religiously. They pay their bills and save for retirement. Their desire to save for the future has caused them from avoid getting away for a weekend celebration since they have been married.
Recently, however, the relationship has felt distant.
The couple has had a tough time with communication. And they don’t know how to rediscover the passion they once shared. And they are starting to consider marriage counseling to get some assistance.
There's no way around it. Good relationships require sacrifice. There's some give and take in every relationship. And as the song goes, “You can’t always get what you want.”
Nothing that Phillip and Elaine are doing are evil or wrong.
They are dedicated parents and trying to be wise with their future planning. And they want their marriage to last.
But some of the good things they are trying to do might be hurting their marriage.
What might be some good behaviors that can be harmful for marriages? Here are just three:
Good Behaviors That Hurt Your Marriage #1 — Putting Your Focus on the Kids:
One of those good things that you might be doing that can hurt your marriage is putting all the focus on your kids.
Phillip and Elaine spend all their weekends and much of their money on traveling for their kids’ sports teams. Sometimes they would spend weekends entirely apart if the kids had to be in different areas for their team.
The couple wasn’t left with much time to simply sit and be together.
Wanting the best for your kids is not a bad thing. Supporting your child’s development should always be encouraged.
But when you place all your focus on your kids, you've got nothing left to give to your spouse.
Or even for yourself.
And, so, the marriage suffers.
Put your energy towards your marriage and your kids will benefit, rather than give your kids all your energy and have nothing left for your marriage.
When your marriage is getting the attention it deserves, the entire family will benefit from it.
Good Behaviors That Hurt Your Marriage #2 —Saving Up for the Future
If you're putting all your emphasis on the future, you're putting off enjoyment now.
Couples skip out on going on vacation now in hopes of getting that promotion.
Or putting as much into savings as possible at the expense of going on dates or finding a babysitter.
The thinking is that they will be able to squeeze time for one another in the future when life slows down. And the future never ends up coming.
They consistently keep pushing enjoyable things off. And doing this behavior long enough can cause anxiety in a marriage relationship.
While I certainly believe it is important to save for retirement and work hard, there is a balance that is necessary.
Have some fun now.
Enjoy your spouse now.
Enjoy your life now.
Don't push everything off into the future.
Appreciate what is happening in your life now.
If you’ve got an amazing spouse, enjoy some time with that person. Now.
Good Behaviors That Hurt Your Marriage #3 —Keeping Peace Around the House
Not too many couples enjoy getting into a fight.
In fact, many will do whatever they can to avoid a conflict.
It can be a positive choice to care enough for your spouse to not argue.
And when you're avoiding conflict that means there's hard conversations that aren't happening.
Or you're stuffing emotions down and important topics aren't being discussed.
You want to be able to have important conversations. Even if they are contentious.
You want to be able to engage in those conversations. They're so important for a marriage.
Attempting to keep peace around the house can come at the expense of facing the conflict that can help a marriage stretch and grow.
Use good communication skills and have the conversation.
There is a lot of internal pressure to do things right. And in our attempts to do it all correctly, we are often willing to sacrifice. That sacrifice often comes at the expense of our marriages. We tend to believe that those will find a way to be okay.
And while I want to commend all three of the above actions, I also suggest that doing those three consistently at the expense of your marriage relationship will potentially cause a divide.
If your marriage could use a little help to get back on course, marriage counseling provides some great benefits. Consider finding a marriage counselor to assist in getting the relationship back on track.