I field many questions in my day job as a marketer, usually with couples. Yesterday, I was asked, "what happens if we move forward and then decide to get divorced?" On the surface, the couple seemed happy, however, the question made it appear their relationship was in hot water. My silver wedding anniversary is a little more than a year away. Like most couples, we have had our share of good times and challenging times. Here are ten relationship mistakes to avoid if you desire to stay with your partner for life:
- Swimming in the shallow end. What are you afraid of? Sharks? You see your spouse taking on new challenges, however, the deep end of the pool makes you uncomfortable. Learn to swim together and stay close to each other.
- Living in two time zones. This is not necessarily related to geography. You can live in the same house and be disconnected to each other. If you go to bed and wake up at different times, this can add strain to a relationship. I learned to give my wife quiet time in the morning. She has a ritual that includes reading from three different books. If I interrupt the routine, it spoils her time zone and the rest of her day is like having jet lag.
- Spouse attention-deficit disorder. Your spouse needs your time and attention. Any lack of attention will add stress to your relationship.
- Separation anxiety. If you never allow your love to spend time on a hobby or a passion because the leash is too short, they may lose a part of themselves and become like a vegetable. Time together is important. The time apart allows both partners to grow.
- Lack of commitment. Were those vows you said to one another real? Remember? In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. Commitment covers the whole spectrum, it's not a la carte.
- Wrong answers. These usually come from questions like, "Does this outfit make me look fat?" My answers are always meant to make my wife feel good about herself. Try saying something like, "honey, you look great but I think the new dress you bought last week brings out your beautiful eyes much better."
- Your goals need a front-end alignment. If you drive a car too long without a front-end alignment, your tires wear out too soon. Same thing with goals. Your relationship will be much smoother and last longer if you align your goals so you are both moving in the same direction.