9 Ways You Might Be Unknowingly Destroying Your Marriage

A combination of two articles: 5 Ways You Are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Killing Your Marriage by Katelyn Carmen and 4 Things That Are Hurting Your Wife and Killing Your Marriage by Matt Walsh. See below for details.


Mrs. Carmen: When I got married, I was amazed at the instant, overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt to love and care for my husband. Suddenly, a huge part of someone else's well-being and happiness was largely affected by my choices and actions.

Women, we need to be careful about how we are caring for our husbands and marriages. Don't let the small stuff ruin the things that will bring you the greatest happiness in life.

Here are just a few ways you might be unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage (as a caveat, please understand that although this article is directed toward women, it applies to men as well):

1. Living outside of what you can afford (Mrs. Carmen)

A wise old woman once advised me: "The best thing you can do as a wife is to live within your husband's means."

Wives, show sincere appreciation and respect to your husband by carefully following a budget and making the most of what you have. Be wise about your finances.

Constantly complaining about not having enough when it comes to purchasing things you "want" rather than "need" can be a poor way of saying "thank you" to a faithful spouse who works hard every day to provide for the family.

Yes, you may not have enough to buy that designer bag you've had your eyes on for months, but your husband will love and appreciate the fact that you honor him and are grateful for what he provides.

James Russell Lingerfelt: A wise business person told me once to strive to live off one spouse's salary, and then use the other salary for investments. An emergency fund and a vacation fund should be in the leading budget.

Mr. Walsh: I won’t bother with a ‘this could apply to women, too’ disclaimer, because if you can’t figure out that such things are always implied, I don’t know what to do with you.

2. Porn (Mr. Walsh)

There probably isn’t a more efficient way to make your wife feel betrayed, used, and violated than picking up a porn habit. Porn is poison. There’s nothing harmless about it. Nothing innocent. Nothing fun. It’s prostitution by proxy.

Speaking of which, I’ve always wondered why we draw a distinction between a prostitute and a porn star. The former is paid to have sex, the latter is paid to have sex. The only difference is who pays and how much. Same can be said for the Johns. A guy watching porn is paying to be sexually gratified by a (probably abused and drug addicted) young woman. Whether he pays through a subscription or pays just by clicking on the website and helping to drive revenue, he pays.

The man with the hooker in the Motel 6 is also paying to be sexually gratified, but in a more direct manner. In some ways, you might say that the prostitute and the John are at least honest about what they’re doing. The porn star and the porn viewer hide behind screens and in front of cameras, but it’s all the same.

There are a lot of reason to hate pornography, but one of the reasons certainly has something to do with how delusional it makes us. Many married guys insist there’s nothing wrong with it, but I doubt they’d say there’s nothing wrong with sitting in the same room as a woman and watching her have sex.

They might go to strip clubs, but they’d probably admit that it’s not a place a married men should be going, either. And whether they do it or not, they’d likely admit that they shouldn’t be sexting or flirting with other women. Yet spending hours viewing graphic sex on their laptop is substantively different from all of these things.. how? Because it’s a fantasy? No it isn’t. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s physically happening. The act is facilitated by modems and internet connections, but it’s happening.

This brings up a whole new conversation, I suppose. The experience of watching something on TV or doing something on the computer is so passive and effortless that we think it doesn’t ‘count.’ Imagine the cyber troll who types the most vicious and hateful things in the YouTube comment section, but would never dream of breathing a word of any of it to anyone in ‘real life.’

He thinks, perhaps subconsciously, that the internet is a moral no-man’s land. He rationalizes that what he does and says there won’t impact people, including himself, the same way it would in three dimensions. There’s no basis for this rationalization. It makes no sense, yet we all fool ourselves into thinking it, for one reason or another. Still, despite the lies we tell ourselves, a woman who discovers porn on her husband’s computer will feel just like a woman who finds out about her husband’s affair. And that feeling will only be made worse by the fact that her husband will claim it’s ‘no big deal,’ and much of society will echo those sentiments.

This says nothing of what porn does to us as men. It becomes an addiction just like any other. It lessens us. It pulls us away from our families, away from our wives. It makes us liars and hypocrites. I think any man’s porn compulsion comes wrapped in a thick layer of guilt, but that must especially be the case for men with daughters. It might be a cliche to say ‘that’s somebody’s daughter’ but she is somebody’s daughter, and that does mean something. I cringe particularly when I think of older fathers who look at porn involving women the same age as their own children. It’s perverse and disgusting. These men are not bad people, but they are doing a bad thing — a bad thing that, to make matters worse, has been dressed up as innocent and playful.

It’s definitely not an easy time to be a virtuous man. Everywhere we look there are words and images trying to grab our attention and send us into a spiral of lust and sexual greed. You really can’t even scroll down a Facebook newsfeed anymore without seeing blatant or borderline pornography. The entire world, it seems, is out to exploit our weaknesses. It’s easy to give in, but we have to fight it. We owe ourselves that much, and more importantly we owe our wives. Porn is adultery. Porn will wreck your marriage, guaranteed.

3. Constant negativity (Mrs. Carmen)

You hate your hair, the messes around the house, the neighbor across the street, your dumb co-worker, the old dishwasher, and everything in between. As soon as your husband walks through the door, you launch into action and dump every negative and angry thought that's crossed your mind throughout the day, with a to-do list to go with it.

Can you imagine having to carry that burden? Negativity is draining. Men like to fix things, and constantly being hounded with complaints makes it difficult for him to help solve your pains. With his pressures at work, family drama, and everything in between, home needs to be a place of peace and rest. 

If there is one thing I've learned from marriage is that a good man wants you to be happy, and if he can't help you do that, he blames himself. It's okay to have a bad day once in a while, that's totally understandable, but don't make it a way of life.

4. Laziness (Mr. Walsh)

I’ve always said that men can be hugely benefited from spending a few years living on their own before getting married. On their own as in alone, not ‘on their own’ with their roommates on campus, or ‘on their own’ with their live-in girlfriends. On their own alone, paying all the bills, running all the errands, taking care of themselves and their affairs without any help from mommy and daddy. I did this for five years before I met my wife, and I still think it was one of the most valuable periods of my life.

With that said, there are some pitfalls. One of them, for me anyway, is that I got very good at living like a bachelor. I learned to streamline things. I learned the shortcuts. I learned to live in relative filth and disarray, because, hey, it’s just me and my imaginary friend here, and he doesn’t care about the mess. Eventually, like any self-respecting bachelor, I started using only paper plates and plastic utensils to avoid washing dishes. I would buy new packs of socks and underwear to avoid going to the laundromat. If something broke, I would just stop using it, problem solved. I got used to being lazy. And then I got married.

I try to fight off the lazy urge, but it’s been a struggle. I do ‘help around the house,’ but I’m probably illustrating the problem by writing that I ‘help around the house’ like I deserve credit for it. I’m as much responsible for the dirty dishes as my wife is, I’m just as capable of changing a diaper as she is, and there’s nothing written in the heavens saying that only she should vacuum the carpet. So I know that when I don’t do these things, I’m sending a message that I should be allowed to check out and enter into some kind of vegetative state while she continues working until the work is done.

Families take effort, so when I refuse to exert it, I am to some extent refusing to be a part of the family. It makes sense that our wives get upset about that attitude. It make sense that something as ‘small’ as not ‘helping around the house’ could ultimately destroy a marriage. It destroys it because we aren’t participating in it. We have no right to be lazy husbands. Family is work, marriage is work, life is work, and it’s our job to do it all without complaint.

5. Putting everything else first (Mrs. Carmen)

When your children, mom, best friends, talents, or career in front of your husband, you send a clear message to him that he is taken for granted. Imagine having that message sent to you every day for many years. What would that do to your self esteem?

Put your husband first.

Although it sometimes seems counter-intuitive and counterproductive, I think you'd be amazed to find that it's often the key to the greatest happiness in marriage. So many couples get divorced these days, because they neglect to care and love one another and put each other first. Remember, this must be reciprocated by both spouses.

If you choose to put each other first, you will find a lot of joy.

6. Passiveness (Mr. Walsh)

I guess all of these things are connected. The lazy man is likely a passive man, but not definitely. He could put plenty of effort toward doing chores and keeping everything in order, but be otherwise apathetic to the spiritual and emotional welfare of his family. I do believe, despite modern sentiments to the contrary, that men are called to be leaders in the home. We can’t sit back and allow things to just happen, leaving a leadership void that must be filled by our wives. Wives who, no matter how feminist or progressive they consider themselves, really do not want a man who won’t lead. No woman does.

I’m learning a lot about being a leader for my family. I’m learning about it the hard way, mostly. I guess when I was younger there might have been a time — despite the awesome example of true leadership that my own dad provided — when I thought of ‘the man leads’ as a sort of arrogant privilege. It’s tempting to see it that way, especially before we actually get married and have kids and feel the burden of carrying their physical and spiritual well being.

What I’ve come to understand is that leadership is a responsibility, not an entitlement. It’s something we are called to do with humility and love, as servants, not as emperors. I’ve learned why men are tempted to pass the buck on to their wives or even their children, and I’ve learned why that can be such a devastating choice. But I’ve also learned the joy of embracing that leadership role, however imperfectly, and accepting the vocation that all husbands and fathers are called to.

The truth is, I worry all the time about my family. I worry about keeping them fed, and housed, and comfortable; I worry about their salvation; I worry about their happiness; I worry about their safety. I worry that I’ll fail them, that I’ll disappoint them, that I’ll drop the ball at the most important moment. These anxieties can be suffocating and overwhelming, and I sometimes feel like I’m not cut out to be what I irreversibly am; like I’m not qualified to be the leader of anything, much less a family. But the good news is that I’m right: I’m not qualified. I don’t have what it takes. If I try to be dad and husband all on my own, I’ll falter. It’s fortunate, then, that I’m not doing this alone — God is here. He is the true leader, and in the end my only job is to point us in His direction.

So in my worries, I know that He is the Answer. And if I ever stop searching for Him amidst all of this, if I become passive and apathetic, I will have finally failed my wife, and our marriage will be in dire straits.

7. Withholding sex (Mrs. Carmen)

Men crave and need it with their wives. When you constantly decline this, it wears on them. It's not just a desire. It's in their biological and psychological wiring.

Sex should not be used as a tool to control your spouse; it should be viewed as a sacred tool to draw you closer to one another.

It is a great blessing to be wanted and needed by a loving, romantic husband who wants to share something so beautiful and important with you -- and you only. Even though you might not always be in the mood, it's worth it to give in (when you can) and spend that time bonding.

8. Immaturity (Mr. Walsh)

I’ve run afoul of the ‘gaming community’ on more than one occasion, so I hope this doesn’t get me in trouble with them again. But it must be said that our wives married grown ups (allegedly) and grown ups should moderate the amount of time they spend playing with toys. I’m not suggesting that we husbands should never play video games, although I myself rarely feel the urge. We all have hobbies and recreational activities we enjoy, and if video games are your thing, great. Godspeed. Go in peace.

But as opposed to other recreations like, say, jogging or reading books, it seems that some men tend to get lost in their games for hours and hours and hours on end every day. Video games are pretty unique in their capacity to take hold of men and swallow up a grotesque amount of time and energy.

There are many women out there — and I know this because I’ve heard from a number of them — who are absolutely miserable in their marriages because hubby comes home from work, turns on the Xbox or whatever people are playing these days, and enters into a video game cocoon for 7 or 8 hours, emerging only to eat dinner and then finally to sleep, just to start it all over again tomorrow. Maybe it’s a little limiting to completely chalk this up to immaturity, but immaturity undeniable has something to do with it.

A child’s life might be dominated by a desire to play with their toys and other frivolous pursuits, but as men we need to develop interests in deeper things. Our tastes should mature right along with the rest of us. Is it fair to our wives when we put her in a situation where her husband is just as obsessed with toys as her children are? Is she supposed to feel a great desire for a man who ignores her in favor of TV and Xbox? How is she supposed to relate to a man who hit 6th grade and has yet to graduate from it?

There’s a strange thing happening in our culture today. We seem to have decided, in my generation particularly, to drag our childhood with us into adulthood. That’s why we’re just as adamant consumers of video games, comic books, cartoons, and superhero movies as we were in 1994. It’s not that we should reject these things outright, but with age ought to come a certain perspective, and that perspective ought to help us shove these things to one corner of our lives. Something to indulge in, if we want, from time to time as a means of escape, but not a lifestyle. Not an overpowering, overarching, overwhelming distraction that consumes us and turns us into shiftless, lethargic overgrown juveniles.

If you want proof of everything I’m saying here, pay attention to how some people react to it. Keep in mind, all I’ve done is suggest that mature men should not be so obsessed with toys, including video games, that it takes over their lives. This statement is so true and so self evident that it shouldn’t need to be said. But there are some men who take their video games so seriously, who are so enraptured with them, so wrapped up in the so called ‘culture,’ that any criticism of video games at all, whatsoever, will be met with rage and indignation. Again, this is how a child might react when you take his toys away. For a man to lash out in such a way is disturbing, to say the least. But it will happen because it always happens. In fact, criticizing video games might be among the most controversial things you can say anymore.

I make this point, and the points before it, not from a position of superiority, but as someone in the thick of it and fighting to be a better man. I know that I desperately need to be a better man, a better husband, a better father — this is the single most important goal in my life. As men, we have to help each other in that quest to improve ourselves. Helping each other starts here, with a bit of brutal honesty. I’m sure you found yourself somewhere on this list. I certainly did.

But we can do better. We owe it to the women we married.

9. Not speaking his language (Mrs. Carmen)

Women love to drop hints. (I think it's part of our DNA.) But men just don't get them. (I think that is a part of their DNA.)

Don't waste your time giving subtle hints that he won't understand: Speak plainly to him. Be honest about your feelings, and don't bottle things up until you burst. If he asks you what's wrong, don't respond with "nothing" and then expect him to read your mind and emotions. Be open about how you really feel.

Remember, effective communication is key in marriage.

Read another popular post: Don’t Ever Apologize For Loving Someone – Not Ever!

This is a combination of two articles: 5 Ways You Are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Killing Your Marriage by Katelyn Carmen and 4 Things That Are Hurting Your Wife and Killing Your Marriage by Matt Walsh. Click on their names to follow them on the social networks!


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