Bad Habits Can Hurt Your Marriage

According to a recent study, unwelcomed, unpleasant habits seriously stress a marriage. The bad habits are likely to become more irksome over time if allowed to persist. Relatively minor, unpleasant behaviors may be tolerated at first, but with time they are likely to grow stronger and more bothersome each time they occur. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been married. We all are guilty at some time and in some way, and will need forgiveness. Indeed, most spouses view nasty habits as a lack of respect leading to a loss of romance in the marriage.

In no particular order, here are some major annoying, uncouth, disgusting, and irritating behaviors that can grow into monumental issues if not attended to.

  • Leaving wet towels and dirty clothes on the floor is a biggie.
  • Burping in public.
  • Careless personal hygiene.
  • Refusing to replace an empty toilet tissue roll or do other minor chores.
  • Not picking up after yourself.
  • Laughing at your own jokes that others don’t see as funny.
  • Putting one’s feet on the furniture.
  • Making embarrassing, humiliating, or degrading remarks about your spouse in public.
  • Making negative comments about what your spouse is wearing.
  • Reading emails or text messages while talking to your spouse.
  • Spending too much time on the computer.

Hopefully, none of these are a problem in your relationship. But maybe the process of reviewing the list will help each one takes personal inventory by asking, “Do I do things like this that annoys or hurts my spouse?”

Changing Your Own Bad Habits

Once you realize that you have habits that are legitimately annoying and irritating to your spouse and harmful to your marriage, the obligation to change is clear. Here are some steps:

  • Do an inventory. Be honest with yourself. Do you have some annoying, nasty habits that are hurting your marriage?
  • Forget the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” You can break a bad habit if you really want to.
  • Speak up when something grosses you out. Share your feelings about annoying behaviors with your spouse. Stick to “I” statements such as “I feel uneasy when you do that (whatever behavior you find unpleasant)” or “I appreciate when you put away your dirty towels.” “Thank you for caring how I feel about that.”
  • On the other hand, don’t ignore your partner’s complaints. If the behavior bothers them enough that they speak up, it means that the situation is very significant to them and dangerous to your marriage.
  • Include your spouse as you brainstorm solutions to your bad habits.
  • Many people find that replacing a bad habit with a positive behavior is easier than just stopping the bad habit.
  •  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up now and then. But don’t give up either or continually make excuses for not achieving your goal.

A major component of romantic love is the willingness to accommodate to the needs and wishes of your mate. And do remember that old or young dogs can learn new tricks. Listen and learn from each other.