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Something well-meaning couples do that can lead to divorce

“I do.”

When two people say those two little words on their wedding day, they’re agreeing to a special kind of bond.

For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish
As long as we both shall live.

I’ve never met someone who doesn’t want to be successful at living out those words.

Is it hard? Yes.
Do marriages sometimes end badly? Also yes.

But we always want it to go as well as possible.

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With that in mind, I think there are things well-meaning couples do that lead them toward divorce. Since they don’t know what these habits are, they slowly suck the life out of their relationship without knowing it. Like a silent carbon monoxide leak in their home, it injects a growing poison into the invisible contours of their relationship.

Here is one of those poisons:

Gossiping about your spouse.

Here’s a definition. Gossip is speaking negative and unhelpful half-truths about someone behind their back.

So let’s apply that to a marriage.

Every relationship has challenges. Payments, busy schedules, health crises, kids, and work stress (to name a few) put a strain on things. And since your spouse is a flawed human (just like you are), they’re not always at their best.

They do and say things that annoy you. They make bad decisions. They’re sometimes selfish. So it’s tempting to gripe about them when you’re with your friends or co-workers. And it’s tempting to do it in a way that is negative, unhelpful, and only partially true.

But you need to re-think that strategy.

When you gossip about your spouse you do three things:

First, you don’t treat them as you want to be treated. (Would you want your spouse gossiping about you?)

Second, the more you gossip, the more you create and perpetuate an attitude of negativity toward your spouse.

Third, you play the victim and stop taking a proactive role in making your marriage strong.

And for the Christians among us, we’re supposed to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). The man submits to the woman and puts her first, and the woman submits to the man and puts him first. It’s hard to live self-sacrificially if you’re always sacrificing the other person on the altar of gossip.

Think about the implications for a minute… about not treating someone as you would want to be treated, about creating and perpetuating an attitude of negativity toward your spouse, and about playing the victim and not playing a proactive role in making your marriage strong.

Why on earth would we want to be a part of that? And how on earth is it supposed to make a relationship better and not worse?

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Gossip chips away at the other person. And since you and your partner become “one flesh” when you get married (Genesis 2:24), you’re also chipping away at yourself and what you’re building together.

I realize there are times when you need to talk to someone about your marriage. But talking to a friend, colleague, pastor or therapist in a constructive way with a goal of improving your relationship is different from gossiping. Gossip is meant to be negative and hurtful. It’s pulling someone else down as you try to prop your sorry self up.

A healthy marriage isn’t built on hurtful habits.

A lot of couples read 1 Corinthians 13 on their wedding day. It says that love is “not self-seeking” and “keeps no record of wrongs.” Instead, “it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

If we all did that, the world would be aglow with awe-inspiring marriages.

Let’s encourage, support, love and lead.

A healthy marriage isn’t built on hurtful habits.

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