8 relationship habits to kick before getting married

Published: November 15, 2017
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PHOTO:FILE

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When you finally start getting comfortable with your significant other, it becomes easy to develop bad relationship habits which, if left unchecked, can crack the foundation of your partnership.

Now, the winter wedding season’s right upon us so we thought we’d share some much-needed relationship advice with all you lovely bride-to-bes. As compiled from Yahoo!, here are some negative patterns you should break before you walk into marriage.

1) Expecting your partner to read your mind

“Stop thinking you should get things you want without having to ask. Yes, it’s nice when your spouse anticipates your needs. But none of us is married to a mind reader. Though we have no guarantee that we’ll get everything we ask for, it’s our job to ask. In fact, asking is a sign of strength,” says Winifred M Reilly, a US-based marriage and family therapist and author of It Takes One to Tango.

2) Trying to make your partner jealous 

“Getting married is all about building a secure base for both of you. When you try to make your partner jealous as a punishment or as a way to get their attention, you undermine the security of the relationship,” suggests psychologist Ryan Howes. Why not try talking about your frustration or need to be seen instead of playing this game?

3) Constantly asking your partner if they love you

“It cheapens the expression when it’s not given freely and spontaneously. You can say ‘I love you’ and hope he or she says it back. You can say, ‘One reason I love you is… ’ and hope for some reciprocity,” explains Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology.

But asking to be told that they love you all the time can make you seem insecure – which you probably are anyway. “It also pressures your partner in a way that may stifle the genuine moments of wanting to express love. If you have a partner who is a bit miserly with the ‘I love yous,’ talk about that, but don’t ask for it.”

4) Getting stuck in a boring routine 

PHOTO:FILE

PHOTO:FILE

So you met someone, dated for a while and are now planning on marriage. ‘Fun’ for the two of you has become hanging out and watching TV, going to the occasional movie and maybe a weekend getaway once in a while.

“I interviewed hundreds of long-married people for my book 30 Lessons for Loving, and according to them, that’s not enough,” shares Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University. “Before you get married, start having adventures. Break up the routine, try adventures where you are forced to step out of your comfort zone. Think a camping or canoe trip, a few weeks on your own in a foreign city, or, even better, a week or two of volunteer service together.” Anything will do…

5) Playing the blame game 

“Some couples are in the habit of blaming each other for their own mistakes, no matter what. This is toxic because when people are so busy defending themselves and blaming their partners, they lose the chance to be kind to each other and feel close,” Samantha Rodman, a psychologist and dating coach explains. The mature way out of this is taking responsibility for your own actions.

6) Checking your phone too much

PHOTO:FILE

PHOTO:FILE

According to Winifred, two people gazing into their phones when they’re eating together or snuggled up on the couch are a sign of a major disconnect. “Together time can be in short enough supply as it is. Make the time you spend together count.”

7) Threatening to leave when things get rough 

“Some people threaten to leave the relationship, especially when they’re losing a fight or wrestling with difficult issues. But once you’re on the road to marriage, you need to drop that tactic and view the problems as issues for ‘us’,” says Ryan.

Of course, there are exceptions to this, like when abuse is the problem. But generally, if you say you’re ready to commit to marriage, you are agreeing to stick around through everything. And that means you can’t threaten to leave as a bargaining tool.

8) Grilling your partner about where they’ve been and with whom

PHOTO:FILE

PHOTO:FILE

“If they want to share, they will. If you are suspicious, then something sordid is at stake, and trying to catch your partner in a contradiction, badgering them or asking questions like a prosecuting attorney will just make matters worse,” opines Pepper.

Why not back off and try to have proper conversations about what your partner may have done during the day, and not seem as if you are trying to control their life? “If you are really getting paranoid, then just be watchful. But quizzing only makes your partner angry, defensive, perhaps insulted and maybe a better liar.”

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