By Dr. John Dobson
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 if given a place in your lives. Here is a list of them and comments for a few:
1. Overcommitment and physical exhaustion.
Beware of this danger. It is especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a 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 overcommitted 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.
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.
3. 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.
4. Unrealistic expectations.
Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks down primrose lanes, and uninterrupted joy. This romantic illusion is particularly characteristic of 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.
5. Alcohol or substance abuse.
These are killers, not only of marriages but of people. Avoid them like the plague.
6. 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