As I’ve interacted with couples from all over the world, I’ve found that many of the issues that ultimately lead to infidelity and divorce creep in unintentionally. People don’t usually set out to sabotage their marriage and wind up in divorce court, but small choices can ultimately lead to big disasters. Subtle poor choices along the way can pile up like a snowball rolling down a hill until it’s big enough to start an avalanche of consequences.
Below are seven of the most common intimacy killers that can harm a marriage (sometimes without even realizing it). Avoid these and you’ll go a long way toward safeguarding your marriage.
(In no particular order):
1. Not wearing a wedding ring.
People might just not be into jewelry or not think it’s a big deal, but wearing a ring can be a first line of defense against adultery. When you meet new people, one of the first things they’ll notice about you is whether or not you’re wearing a ring. They’ll make assumptions about your “availability” based on the presence or absence of a ring.
I’ll admit it: sometimes I give my iPhone more attention than I give my wife! Do your best to keep screens turned off as much as possible when you’re together with your spouse. Talking with your spouse is always better than texting with somebody else (or playing Candy Crush, or checking Facebook, or…).
3. Inconsistency in parenting.
Raising kids is one of the most sacred duties on earth, but it can also harm your marriage if you don’t have a unified approach with your spouse. Ashley and I don’t argue much, but many (if not most) of our disagreements have come out of miscommunications about parenting.
This one is two-fold, because we harm our marriages when we STOP flirting with our spouse or when we START flirting with anybody else! Flirting within marriage is always helpful, but flirting outside of your marriage is always harmful!
5. Porn and/or graphic romance novels.
Many couples think porn and/or reading graphically sexual novels are a harmless fantasy that can actually spice things up in the bedroom if they do it together, but the truth is that these things are an enemy of real intimacy. Don’t just be physically monogamous; be mentally monogamous as well. And I’d encourage you to add some accountability and porn-blocking software on your devices to protect your marriage and family. Check out the resource at www.X3watch.com.
Cable TV companies give their best rates and service at the beginning but then treat you much worse after the “promotional period” expires. Sadly, many marriages look like this. We give each other our best at the beginning of the relationship, but then get into “autopilot” and stop giving each other our best. Don’t take each other for granted.
7. Negative friends.
Your friends have the unique ability to encourage your marriage or to discourage it. Make sure you’re hanging out with people who love you AND your spouse. Choose friends who will strengthen your character, and remove yourself from people who would tempt you to compromise your character.
Even if you’ve found your marriage falling into some of these “intimacy killers” don’t lose hope! Make a decision to change course, and in time, your marriage can become more vibrant and fulfilling than ever before.
Don't give up on your marriage. It is worth the effort and investment. If you feel like your marriage is struggling, or even failing, there is hope. There is healing.