I once had a mentor who said “whatever you want in this world find someone who has what you want and find out what they did to get it”. Another mentor said “…you could also learn from those that have failed. Learn what they have done and avoid doing that”.
So here is what I see couples doing that I strongly suggest you avoid doing.
Couples who are in trouble struggle to communicate, and they are focused on trying to be right losing sight of what they are really trying to achieve.
They actively look for problems in the marriage, picking on each others weaknesses, doing all they can to make sure they block attempts to become close.
They enjoy spending time apart because this is where they feel better. Friends, work, hobbies, family anything they can find that means they don’t have to spend time together. They don’t communicate that their needs are better met outside the relationship, but they know they are really.
The also try to control each other, manipulate situations, actions, some are outwardly aggressively and some passively.
They usually brush any emotional problems under the carpet hoping they will go away.
Their intimacy has usually been dead for a while, they blame each other for this.
They see very little pleasure in spending time together, any time they do spend has little emotional value and is usually functional.
They side with external family members ignoring their partner feelings.
They have never built a plan of how their finances are going to be used to build a future together, in fact they don’t have a plan for their future.
They have lived together for years yet don’t really know how to meet each others needs and now they can’t be bothered to meet their partners unless there is something in it for them.
They use punishment as a means to correct their partner behaviors.
They judge and criticise their partners behaviors.
They don’t put their partner first and are self focused.
They believe that relationships should just work and if it doesn’t they are incompatible.
They believe that changes are impossible because they have tried all they can to fix the marriage.
They also seem to have little empathy for their partners emotions.
These are just a fraction of the many problem behaviors that present themselves to me every day.
At the end of the day please be clear on your goal. If you want your relationship to survive find growth orientated ways to connect with each other.
If you don’t know how to do that please don’t repeat destruction because you’re out of ideas. Become resourceful and creative, find the answers. Become curious about what you don’t know.