When I began working as a teenager, I quickly realized most of my learning was going to be in reverse. I learned how not to do things by seeing them done poorly. The tyrannical boss taught me what not to do if I wanted to pursue high performance. It would be many years later, mostly by books at first, then by using life as my own laboratory before I’d learn things in a more positive fashion.
This formula works effectively in lots of areas. For instance, you can ask somebody what they want and deal with lots of hesitation as they attempt to figure it out. Or, you ask them what they don’t want and instantly get a lengthy answer. Turns out we can more easily identify what we don’t want. Or things we hate. Or things we know won’t work.
That’s why I decided to craft today’s show by looking at the negative. By looking at marriage in reverse rather than leaning into a more positive approach. I suspect we’ll all be able to flip the script during the episode and figure out how we might be able to improve our marriages – if we’re even interested in such things.
This is far from an exhaustive list. Try to add to it. Use your imagination. Or your own real life, if it applies. I hope it doesn’t, but the reality is many marriages are in serious trouble. Others are just there, like a tepid pool of water.
You can read a ton of information about marriages, including what makes for great marriages. And why marriages fail. I started to link up all the many sites I visited in preparation for this episode, but the list is so extensive…I’d suggest you just Google whatever interests you, then devote however many hours you’d like to the effort. You’ll become exhausted before you exhaust your search results.
Permit me to offer you this preface – some of these ways are generic and others are more specific. The goal is to provoke you to elevate your willingness to help your marriage become great. If you’re unwilling, then prepare for the worst. Our willingness is trait number 1, required for success in anything, including our marriages.
1. Don’t initiate. If your spouse doesn’t initiate, just wait until they do. And if they don’t, well, that’s how life will be.
Here’s a major generic way to wreck your marriage. It applies to EVERYTHING.
2. Stop having fun. Stop showing off.
We’re prone to stop wooing our spouse. That includes showing off – not just something men do, but women, too. Being comfortable is a great thing. Complacency isn’t.
3. Stop kissing each other good morning and good night.
Just stop it altogether really. Sometimes it happens for a variety of reasons, but I suspect they’re all selfish. Truth is, selfishness is the biggest enemy to our marriages. But it happens. Sometimes. Or all the time. We get to choose how often – or how little.
4. Give up. Stop caring.
Resign yourself that this is how it’s gonna be and there’s little to nothing you can do about it. Give up.
Bonus ones mentioned:
5. Judge your spouse on your default behavior, not theirs.
6. Never apologize or admit you’re wrong.
Thanks for listening,