I just copy-pasted this from the Ebooklet, Building a Marriage that lasts by Dr. James Dobson. I’ve seen marriages got by even in the presence of other identified marriage killers. But having both a great and lasting marriage requires constant and conscious hard work. It’s not automatic. So here you go.
It is true, of course, that the society in which we live actively mitigates against marital stability. There are dangers on all sides, and we must defend ourselves with all our energies. In fact, I think it would be healthy at this point to name the great marriage killers. Any one of the following evils can rip your relationship to shreds. Here is a list of them and comments for a few:
Beware of this danger. It is especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a marriage.
1. Overcommitment and physical exhaustion.
profession or in school. Do not try to go to college, work full-time, have a baby, manage a toddler, fix up a house and start a business at the same time. It sounds ridiculous, but many young couples do just that and are surprised when their marriage falls apart. Why wouldn’t it? The only time they see each other is when they are worn out! It is especially dangerous to have the husband vastly over committed and the wife staying home with a preschooler. Her profound loneliness builds discontent and depression, and we all know where that leads. You must reserve time for one another if you want to keep your love alive.
2. Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent.
We’ve said it before: Pay cash for consumable items or don’t buy. Don’t spend more for a house or car than you can afford, leaving too few resources for dating, short trips, baby sitters and so on. Allocate your funds with the wisdom of Solomon.
There are two kinds of people in the world, the givers and the takers. A marriage between two givers can be a beautiful thing. Friction is the order of the day, however, for a giver and a taker. But two takers can claw each other to pieces within a period of six weeks. In short, selfishness will devastate a marriage every time.
4. Interference from in-laws.
If husbands or wives have not been fully emancipated from their parents, it is best not to live near them. Autonomy is difficult for some mothers (and fathers) to grant, and close proximity is built for trouble.
5. Unrealistic expectations.
Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks down primrose lanes, and uninterrupted joy. Counselor Jean Lush believed, and I agree, that this romantic illusion is particularly characteristic of American women who expect more from their husbands than they are capable of delivering. The consequent disappointment is an emotional trap. Bring your expectations in line with reality.
6. Space invaders.
This killer will be difficult to describe or understand in such a brief context, but I’ll try. By space invaders, I am not referring to aliens from Mars. Rather, my concern is for those who violate the breathing room needed by their partners, quickly suffocating them and destroying the attraction between them. Jealousy is one way this phenomenon manifests itself. Another is low self-esteem which leads the insecure spouse to trample the territory of the other. Love must be free and it must be confident. (If more information is needed, read my book Love Must Be Tough.)
7. Alcohol or substance abuse.
These are killers, not only of marriages but of people. Avoid them like the plague.
8. Pornography, gambling and other addictions.
It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. It has a tendency to get hooked on destructive behaviors, especially early in life. During an introductory stage, people think they can play with enticements such as pornography or gambling and not get hurt. In actuality few walk away unaffected. For some, there is a weakness and vulnerability that is not known until too late. Then they become addicted to something that tears at the fabric of the family. This warning may seem foolish and even prudish to my readers, but I’ve made a 20-year study of those who wreck their lives. Their problems often begin in experimentation with a known evil and ultimately end in death . . . or the death of a marriage.
9. Sexual frustration, loneliness, low self-esteem and the greener
grass of infidelity. A deadly combination!
10. Business failure.
It does bad things, to men especially. Their agitation over financial reverses sometimes sublimates to anger within the family.
11. Business success.
It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business. The writer of the Proverbs said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (30:8). Edward Fitzgerald
said it another way: “One of the saddest pages kept by the recording angel is the record of souls that have been damned by success.” It’s true. Those who profit handsomely sometimes become drunk with power and the lust for more! Wives and children are forgotten in this process.
12. Getting married too young.
Girls who marry between 14 and 17 years of age are more than twice as likely to divorce as those who marry at 18 or 19 years of age. Those who marry at 18 or 19 are one and a half times as likely to divorce as those who marry in their 20s. The pressures of adolescence and the stress of early married life do not mix well. Finish the first before taking on the second.
These are the bloody marriage killers I’ve seen most often. But in truth, the list is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in your sidewalk. If you are going to beat the odds and maintain an intimate, long term marriage, you must take the task seriously. The natural order of things will carry you away from one another, not bring you together.