1. Create an atmosphere that no one would want to come home to in the evening. Do nothing but stare at your television night after night. Complain. Gripe at her or him for mistakes. Go to bed angry and resentful. Repeat the next day.
Constant carping, complaining and whining can destroy the atmosphere of a marriage.
2. Use pornography. This is an ever increasing temptation not only for men, but women as well. You can lose yourself in a make believe world. Pornography creates the illusion that sex is basically about the enjoyment of one person, instead of the mutual service of two people. You don’t have to grow. You don’t have to mature. You don’t have to work at the give and take of relationship.
Pornography can destroy intimacy in marriage.
3. Be passive-aggressive in the way you relate to one another. She asks you to stop by Target on your way home from work and pick up a few items. You indicate that you will do this. Then on your way home, you decide you don’t want to do this errand. You get home and say, “Oh I forgot. Do you want me to go to Target now and get these items?” (Knowing that she is going to say “No” now that you are already home.) Instead of being honest, you play a passive aggressive game.
There are other ways to play this game. Don’t speak when he speaks to you. Make your spouse spend time wondering why you are not speaking. What is wrong? DId I do something wrong? Play the game instead of relating to him as an adult.
Passive agressive behavior can destroy real honesty in marriage.
4. Use your temper as a weapon. Explode in rage if he or she displeases you. Make her feel as if she must be very, very careful about what she says. When you are angry, punish her. Use the right words to attack her vulnerabilities. Sometimes a spouse is treated in a way that no one else would put up with.
A quick, hot temper coupled with pointed, hurtful words can destroy any sense of safety and security in a marriage.
5. Win at all costs. Maybe she wants go out to eat at the Mexican food restaurant. You want to go to the new Italian place. Consequently, you make up a story about the poor food service at the Mexican restaurant hoping to discourage her wanting to go there. The self-emptying life of Jesus is given a back seat to your dogged determination to win.
The determination to win at all costs will destroy the trust in your marriage.
I am not suggesting that these behaviors necessarily lead to divorce. A couple can participate in the murder of their marriage and never legally divorce. They can actually drain the life and joy out of their relationship while they live with one another for decades.
I am writing this because young couples can quickly fall into very destructive behaviors toward one another. God designed marriage to be joyful and peaceful. For this to happen, a couple will need to be very serious finding life in Jesus and being willing to die to nasty, self-centered behaviors. Marriage is a call to grow up and to give your spouse a mature partner.
(to be continued)
What would you add to this list?