No matter how much “in looooove” you think you are, the odds are still against you. Fifty-three percent of marriages end up like a sad Country Western song. What’s up?
Who goes into marriage plotting to destroy it? No one, you’d think. But, there’s a divorce every 36 seconds in this country. That’s less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn. Has marriage lost its bling? Or maybe we wander off in search of something new when we hit a rough patch. Marriage takes work. We could’ve easily been a statistic (or a sad Country Western song). . . if it hadn’t been for the Colgate Pump. Yep, I’m talking about toothpaste.
We couldn’t settle on a toothpaste-squeezing philosophy. As if marriage doesn’t come with enough problems. He squeezed it from the end; I squeezed it in the middle (or wherever I picked it up). Drove him nuts. The way I see it, toothpaste still comes out no matter where you squeeze it.
Enter the Colgate Pump. Push the trigger on top. No squeezing involved. And, here we are, happily sharing toothpaste 30 years later. I can’t tell you how to divorce proof your marriage. But I can tell you how your marriage will end up like a sad Country Western song.
Here are 8 sure-fire ways to guarantee your marriage will fail:
1. Be a Super (Control) Freak
It’s your way or the highway. If that’s the way you think, he’s going to start looking for the nearest exit. Our struggle really wasn’t about toothpaste. It was about control. Who would prevail. If you always want things your way, you’ll get your wish, when he hits the road and you have the whole house to yourself.
2. Take That Women’s Lib Thing Over the Top
The movement was long overdue, but somewhere between the bra burning women of the 60’s and the sexual revolution of the 70’s, the feminist movement took a wrong turn.
- Male bashing‘s a recreational past time for many women.
- TV, movies, and female Internet bloggers perpetuate the image of the goofball husband or boyfriend.
- We either want to be treated like men or we want men to behave and think like us.
Can’t have it both ways. We aren’t designed to be like men. We’re equals in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways we’re not. I can’t let my husband be a man when it suits me. If your husband doesn’t want to assume the position, that’s a whole ‘nother set of problems.
3. You Do Your Half and I’ll Do Mine
Fifty/fifty sounds like a great model for marriage. It never works. I bought into it myself because it sounded reasonable and fair: He does his half; I do mine. We meet somewhere in the middle. The problem is someone always feels like they’re the one who’s always stuck watching the kids or cooking the meals or picking up the toys. When I have a 100/100 mindset, my focus shifts from receiving to giving.
4. Be a Lover Never a Fighter
Being a lover is great, but eventually you’re going to run into a problem. Conflict’s no fun. But it’s going to happen in a marriage. And when it does, deal with it. It’s easier to ignore the elephant in the room rather than face it head on. When I harbor unresolved conflict, it festers and morphs into something nasty. It doesn’t go away. It grows. Learn to disagree in a constructive way.
5. Cold, Cold Heart
Hold on to that grudge, girl. Let the offenses pile up. He hurt you. Make him pay. Sometimes the cost is your marriage. Un-forgiveness breeds bitterness. As the offenses pile up, everything else breaks down. Way down. When working things out, I’ve got to be quick to forgive or find some way to move on.
6. Never Give Him His Props
He knows you love him and appreciate him. He doesn’t need to hear it again and again. No matter how confident he may seem, he still needs to hear that I appreciate the effort he puts into providing for our family. If he doesn’t get them at home, he’ll find someone who appreciates him. If you’re the breadwinner, tell him you appreciate what he does at home or with the kids.
7. Stupid Boy
This is one way to end up in divorce court faster than you can say “He’s a lowdown dirty dog.” Respecting your husband is counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, and counter everything woman in today’s culture. Respect is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE for men. Unfortunately, we girls don’t get it. Disrespect comes in ways you’d never imagine.
Words enter his brain filtered through testosterone. And that filter doesn’t work the same way ours does. You innocently say something and end up scratching your head when he’s all ticked off. Disrespect is a sure-fire way to drive him away and shut him down. When you respect your husband, you’ll reap big returns.
8. He’s Got to Pay to Play
Yes, I’m talking about sex. Make sure he knows that he’s got to pay to play. Using sex as a bargaining tool? Not a good idea. Men need physical affection and if you use it as a bargaining tool or a way to control him, he may go someplace where he doesn’t have to work so hard.
Toothpaste is a silly thing. But toothpaste wasn’t the root of the problem. I wanted my own way. When the goal becomes winning instead of loving, a silly thing like toothpaste can squeeze the life right out of your marriage . . . and here comes good-bye.
This first appeared on Real Moms May 28, 2015