The infamous Joni Mitchell once warned us that “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…” and that can’t be more true in relationships. Too many times we take our partners for granted, doing or not doing the small things that make them want to stay around. We slowly destroy our relationship my chipping away at the threads that are holding it together. We don’t realize the signs, or worse yet, we see them and look the other way. If you recognize the signs and actions that can destroy your relationship, you can take actions to turn it around before it’s too late.
5 Ways to Destroy Your Relationship
Stop talking to each other.
The most fundamental part of a relationship is communication. How did you get to know each other? At some point, conversation had to take place. Talking to each other is a building block for a healthy relationship. It’s the way that you convey your feelings, your needs, your desires, your pain. If you pull away from each other and stop talking to each other, you will chip away at your relationship. Knowing what’s going on in each other’s lives is absolutely needed to keep the bond between you. What was the last sincere conversation that you had with your significant other?
How to improve communication: Running out of things to talk about? Try pillow talk. It doesn’t have to be anything raunchy but take the time to keep discovering each other. Remind yourself of what you love about your partner.
Stop caring about yourself or your partner.
Hate isn’t the opposite of love. It’s apathy. There’s a balance to disagreeing in relationships. There are two different people who are figuring out how to coexist. There will be times when you have a strong opinion that is not necessarily in line with the other person’s. Healthy arguments will be a part of any relationship. When you stop disagreeing, stop caring about what happens between the two of you, or lose interest in the state of things, you start to disconnect. This can be the beginning of the end. Becoming apathetic is a really quick and easy way to destroy your relationship.
How to change it: Ask questions. Listen more. Offer to help in any way that you may. Communicate more to let your partner know if there is an area in your life where you’re struggling. Learn to trust each other enough to be open and honest about what you need and what you have to give to your relationship.
Stop dressing up for yourself.
When I was younger, I fancied high heels and sexy dresses. As I’ve gotten older, my dress has changed a little bit but I still try to keep it cute. My wardrobe pretty much revolves around my multiple pairs of Chuck Taylors, t-shirts, and jeans. Now I’m not saying that your relationship hinges on how much money you spend on clothes but the way you dress is a reflection of the way that you feel about yourself. Life happens. We go through ups and downs and have moods that don’t always reflect sunshine and rainbows. Dressing up is more than looking pretty for an audience. When we go into a relationship, we are attracted to the other person for their personality, beliefs, goals…and looks. Whether it’s the way that you dress or activities you do, what are you doing to remain the person you were?
What you can do: Rectify this by being intentional to take care of yourself. Go get your nails done. Buy a new outfit that makes you feel good about yourself. Get a massage. We often spend so much of our time making taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves. Remember that you’re just as important as everyone else. You can’t take care of people if you’re not around. Make yourself a priority.
Spend too much time on your phone.
Technology is absolutely amazing! We get new phones and new apps and want to play all the games. After a long day of intellectual engagement, it’s easy to fall into the mindless activity of playing a puzzle game to destress and wind down. As our lives get more hectic, the need for downtime becomes more important. Be careful how you choose to unwind. Couples need connection just as much, if not more, than they need to spend time with themselves. If you have an iPhone, you can actually monitor how much time you spend on the phone.
How to hang it up: Set a goal to decrease how much time you spend on your phone and replace it with conversation, reading a book, or a game night in. If you’re going to be on the phone, make the time count with apps that can bring a little fun back into things.
Enjoy too many girls/guys nights out.
Speaking of spending time with yourself… I love a good girls night out! Hubby frequently spends time with his guy BFF having dinner, going to whiskey tastings, and generally being a dude. The problem comes in when it happens too often. Can friends destroy your relationship! They can’t necessarily destroy your relationship but they can absolutely influence and encourage its demise. Remember that scripture that says let no man put asunder? Wait, there are actually two of them…Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9. “Man” is anyone or anything who is not your spouse. Your friends, your boss, your kids…all of those things have the potential to drive a wedge in between you. Preferring to spend time with someone other than your spouse can convey apathy, neglect, disconnection, and a loss of love. It’s important to spend time connecting with your peers, but be careful that you’re not preferring someone or something over your partner. Repeatedly conveying to them that they’re not a priority is a sure way to destroy your relationship.
Bring it back home: There’s nothing wrong with spending time with your friends, especially ones who support your relationship. But be careful that you don’t neglect the one at home. Find different things that you can do together. Take turns participating in each other’s hobbies. Strengthen your bond by having fun!
You Don’t Have to Let Anything Destroy Your Relationship
Marriage is hard work. The effort to create a relationship that stands the test of time starts with you and the work that you’re willing to put into it. The demise over a relationship…or marriage…doesn’t happen overnight. There is always a point where it turns for the worse. If you pay attention and are proactive, you can head any of these things that might destroy your relationship off at the pass. Be intentional about being…and staying…in love.