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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Avoid Marriage Counseling: Break These 8 Bad Habits Today

We'll say it straight up: There's no good reason in the world to hang onto these bad habits; they aren't helping your marriage at all.

1 / 8
iStock/-Izabela Habur

Nagging, nagging, nagging

We know about the squeaky wheel, but complaining loud and long gets you only short-term gains and builds up powerful discontent on your spouse’s side.

2 / 8

Blaming, criticizing, and name-calling

These tactics belittle the person you promised to love, honor, and cherish; let you play angel to his or her devil; and don’t address the responsibility you both share for your marital happiness.

3 / 8

Bullying, rudeness, and selfishness

These ugly power plays tell your partner that he or she doesn’t count at all in your eyes. Watch for these toxic signs of a bad relationship.

4 / 8

Peacekeeping and passive placating

A “whatever you say, Dear” attitude may keep your home quieter but leaves you in the martyr’s role. You’ll end up angry, defensive, and a drudge. What fun is that?

5 / 8
iStock/Johnny Greig

Deploying logic all the time

Life isn’t the Starship Enterprise; playing the dispassionate Mr. Spock not only cuts you off from your feelings but also subtly tells your spouse that his or her feelings don’t count either.

6 / 8
iStock/Petar Chernaev

Throwing up distractions

You’re just having fun, right? Think again. Being hyperactive, fooling around all the time, and refusing to focus—in conversation or in life—often is an attempt to avoid intimacy or difficult issues, which can be horribly frustrating for your mate.

7 / 8


Another stall maneuver, stonewalling stops arguments and constructive discussions cold. Not much can happen when one spouse just won’t talk about it.

8 / 8

Making unilateral decisions about the big things

Sometimes you have to pick the bathroom paint color on your own. But if you’re making major decisions about your money, your time, your kids, and your family life, you’re acting without accountability and cutting off the possibility of joint decision-making and deeper intimacy.

Originally Published in The 7 Stages of Marriage