You’ve heard of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but have you heard of How to Lose a Marriage in 26 Steps? While our series won’t feature starlet, Kate Hudson, we can offer you a step-by-step guide to saying, “I don’t.”
Perhaps you’re a perfectionist or like tackling projects head-on. If this is the case, we suggest you start with one of the tried and true methods of marriage destruction: lack of communication. Lack of communication is one of the leading causes of divorce in America. However, keep in mind, the effects are not seen over night. Rather, lack of communication deteriorates strong marital bonds over time, like worn-down soles of well-loved shoes.
If you are dedicated to long-term destruction, however, the following steps may be able to help:
1. Have Uncommunicated Expectations
Psychological and interpersonal relationship guru, Brené Brown, instructs us, “disappointment is unmet expectations.” Even the most compatible of couples consist of two independent human beings with individual experiences that shape how they see the world. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that partners may from time to time deviate from expectations, even without malintent. By communicating expectations, one spouse is able to help the other understand what is important to that person and why. For these reasons, uncommunicated expectations may prove a solid foundation for relationship unraveling.
2. Only Communicate During Busy and Distraction-Filled Times
By not scheduling time for active listening, spouses cultivate a petri dish for miscommunication. Setting aside undistracted (read: no phones!) time not only shows your partner you care about their wants, but also provides a safe environment for active and productive listening to take place. Therefore, to facilitate lack of communication, bring up important conversations in busy and rushed environments, such as your child’s soccer game. Bonus points for interrupting your partner!
3. Don’t Take Responsibility and Focus on Your Partner’s Faults
When approaching a topic negatively and beginning statements with “you,” people are psychologically more likely to be on the defensive. In contrast, when you focus on your own feelings, responsibilities, and needs to frame a conversation, your partner may be more receptive to change. For example, your partner may be more receptive to “I would like to spend more time with you and I feel like I need more quality time to feel satisfied in our relationship,” than “You make me feel sad because you don’t spend enough time with me.” In order to deteriorate a relationship, then, do the opposite!
While these steps may seem daunting, don’t fret. They’re much easier to do than you think! In fact, most of the time, you may not even realize you’re doing them.