Top 17 Most Common Mistakes That Ruin Marriages

By David Small •  Updated: 05/25/20 •  12 min read

Are you able to recognize the common mistakes that ruin marriages? If you can’t, then you are in the right place.

No matter how perfectly you start off in your marriage, you are bound to make mistakes.

Common Mistakes That Ruin Marriages

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However, you should never allow inevitable mistakes to fester. If you do, then you will only make the environment in your marriage hostile.

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None of you will feel comfortable and safe enough to continue with the relationship.

As Carolyn Bushong says in The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make, you should recognize and avoid these mistakes.

Every time you notice anything that could damage your marriage, quickly weed it out. Seek to create peace for a happy marriage.

The following are the top 17 common mistakes that may ruin your marriage.

  1. Being Disrespectful

In a marriage, you will bump heads and get annoyed with each other. Make sure you avoid disrespecting each other.

Avoid insults. When insults happen daily, then there is no way you will save the marriage. Don’t sift through your spouse’s personal items in the search for clues of cheating.

Not only are you disrespecting your partner, but you are invading his or her privacy.

How will he or she trust you again? Psychology Today suggests 25 ways you can show respect to your partner. For example, you can talk about your concerns together.

Respect your spouse’s beliefs and have him or her respect yours. With respect, you will acknowledge and live with your differences.

  1. A Lying Tongue

Couples lie to each other about all sorts of things. However, lies can only work as long as you can sustain them.

If your partner discovers how much you have been lying to him or her, the marriage won’t stand.

Your spouse will start suspecting that you have been lying about much more than the issue at hand.

The little trust that existed between the two of you will be lost. You can avoid lying by practicing honesty.

Be open about everything, even if your partner may not want to hear some things. Don’t be surprised if your spouse becomes more honest with you.

  1. Forcing Your Partner to Change

Big mistake! Many people believe that they can change their partners once they marry them. What they forget is that people enter marriages having already built their fundamental beliefs and values.

For that reason, The Huffington Post enumerates several things you cannot change about your partner. They include their temperament, religious beliefs, hobbies, and so on.

No matter how hard you try, he is not going to change. Insisting on it will only make your partner resentful. If you genuinely love your partner, why would you want them to change?

Subconsciously, you are trying to have your partner to change to fulfill your needs. Not theirs! That will backfire and ruin your marriage.

  1. Criticizing Your Partner

Some people are tough to live with. Even before you say something, you already know they are going to criticize you. They have no qualms criticizing you when they think they know better.

Constant criticism can hurt a spouse to the extent of vowing never to forgive you. To avoid that, learn to tolerate different opinions and interests.

Tolerance is key. For a healthy relationship, accept your spouse the way he or she is. You may have different opinions and interests but still, be compatible with each other.

If you keep criticizing your spouse, he or she might withdraw emotionally from the relationship. With that, your marriage will be ruined.

  1. Lack of Forgiveness

Some people find it very hard to forgive their spouses. When a mistake goes unforgiven, you will keep referring to it whenever you disagree. You will keep blaming your spouse for any small thing.

In the book Forgiveness in Intimate Relationships, Shahrzad Siassi says a lack of forgiveness can significantly endanger your marriage.

To make a marriage work, you should learn to forgive each other. After all, no one is infallible. Forgiveness shows you are willing to overlook the past and focus on the future growth of the relationship.

However, the spouse on the wrong should be ready to never repeat the mistake. If a forgiven person keeps making the same mistake, then it becomes a mockery to the forgiving party.

Related Article: 31 Day Marriage Challenge That Will Improve A Marriage.

  1. Denial of Sex

Are you one of those people who use sex as a weapon against your spouse? A marriage that has little or no sex is unlikely to survive.

Sexual intimacy is so essential to a marriage that you cannot afford to use it as a weapon. While it is understandable that you may disagree and feel bitter towards each other, always work to restore intimacy.

According to author Ed Wheat, you don’t need a perfect marriage to have sex. For the sake of your marriage, accept your spouse’s sexual overtures even when he or she doesn’t deserve it.

A bedroom life that works appropriately will automatically lead to a stronger marriage in other aspects. So, have sex to restore and heal your marriage.

  1. Preventing Your Partner from Having a Social Life

When you got married, you didn’t cut off your other social connections. Each one of you is likely to have maintained a separate tight circle of friends who you meet regularly.

For example, the man is likely to have buddies he drinks regularly. Allow him to meet his friends since they help him to ventilate and release steam.

Similarly, the woman should keep seeing her girlfriends. You don’t have to stay with each other 24/7 to have a successful marriage. If you try to prevent each other from seeing friends, how will you handle the resultant stress?

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

At the start of a marriage, some people unrealistic expectations about their spouses. For example, expecting sex all the time is a big mistake.

If you aren’t sufficiently fulfilled as an individual, there is no way marriage is going to help you. You will only end up always feeling unhappy.

To be happy, you should realistically reexamine yourself. Would you be happy if you were married to yourself?

Your spouse can only complement the reality you have already built for yourself. The more you appreciate who you are, the happier you will be.

Importantly, you will be happy regardless of what your spouse does or doesn’t do.

  1. Being Miserable and Unhappy

Do you always spend time sulking? That could spell a death knell to your marriage. In marriage, you should experience happiness and peace.

So, be happy. Work on your happiness. Don’t let circumstances or other people dictate how you feel. It is up to you. If you want to, you can be happy or miserable.

Also, you don’t need to express your bitterness, anger, and resentfulness. Own your problems and take responsibility for your happiness.

For a marriage to work, what you put in is better than what you get out. If you want peace, strive to be peaceful. A successful marriage doesn’t come easy.

  1. Focusing More on Work

Everyone needs to make a living. However, there has to be a balance between your career and marriage. When you neglect one of these aspects, one of them will suffer.

In fact, putting to must time in your work can ruin your relationship. Avoid spending too much time at work if you want your marriage to work. You have to create time to spend with your spouse. Failure to do so will lead to unnecessary friction and bitterness.

Luckily creating time is easy. You can try asking your spouse out on a date regularly. Arrive home early enough to have dinner with your spouse. Go to bed at the same time. Sit down and talk about issues in your marriage.

  1. Neglecting Your Responsibilities

Once they get married, some people end up leaving all responsibilities to their spouses. A marriage is a partnership and requires the two of you to work together. You need to share responsibilities.

If both of you are working, then you should contribute money to your upkeep. You could divide the bills or pool your resources together. Don’t forget to share household chores.

Things like washing dishes, cooking, and caring for children should be shared. If that’s not done, then one spouse may feel overwhelmed, leading to friction in the marriage. After all, you are a team!

  1. Lack of Self Esteem

Do you often feel like you aren’t good enough for your spouse? Instead of relaxing and enjoying your marriage, you are always worrying about what your spouse thinks about you.

That is one of the mistakes that ruin marriages. It is like you are always expecting your spouse to reject you. In the process, you will begin to do things that jeopardize your marriage.

It is called self-sabotage. So, don’t work hard to earn your spouse’s love. The more you try, the worse you will feel. That takes us back to the point where we said you need to love yourself first.

As Dianne Grande Ph.D. suggests in an article in Psychology Today, you can improve your relationship by building your self-esteem. So, learn to be your own friend to attract others.

  1. Always Spoiling For a Fight

Some married couples don’t seem to be tired of fighting. They thrive on jumping from one crisis to another. Such people think that annoying their partners is the best way to know if they care.

Others have grown up with parents who fought all the time. To them, that’s how a healthy relationship should be. Some get a “high” from fighting.

They seek to be in control or dominate their partners. If that’s how you love, then you will ruin your marriage. Domination is hurtful and abusive. It cannot be equated to love. So, stop to be always ready to fight!

  1. Failure to Voice Your Needs

Your partner is not a mind reader. There is no way he or she can know your needs if you don’t voice them. Expecting your partner to know what you need is foolish. It is one of the mistakes that ruin marriages.

For a relationship to thrive, there should be open, truthful communication. Luckily, you can learn how to communicate effectively. If you need anything, say it. It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat yourself.

Marriages are built through open communication. Know what you want and ask for it.

However, you should be prepared to get a “yes” or “no” answer.

Related Article: Top 50 Amazing Secrets for A happy Blissful Relationship.

  1. Fantasizing About another Relationship

Do you often fantasize about hooking up with someone else? Are you caught up in pornography? If you said “yes” to any or all of these questions, then there is a problem. You cannot be happy in your marriage if you keep thinking it could be better elsewhere.

The first consequence is that you won’t have great sex. That’s because you don’t trust each other. Another common source of fantasy is social media.

Instead of concentrating on your marriage, you end up rekindling feelings for old flames. On social media, people seek to bring out their best. So, they never show their true self. Fantasizing about them is foolish.

  1. Putting the Children First

In the first few years of your marriage, the two of you were very close. When the children came into the picture, you began to grow apart.

That’s expected. According to, the arrival of children affects how you relate. For example, you will be taking a lot of time to care for the children instead of building your marriage.

Taking care of kids can be stressful. It reduces the time the two can spend together and work on their marriage. If you are in that situation, you need to make time for each other.

Plan a regular date night for the two of you. Ask a relative to pick the kids for a whole weekend so you can be together. Neglect that, and the marriage will collapse.

  1. Thinking You Married the Wrong Partner

After several years of marriage, people tend to grow apart. When in conflict, you start thinking you made the wrong choice.

The problem is that most weaknesses tend to come up once you start living together. You begin to notice that your spouse snores in bed. That she isn’t great in the kitchen.

For the man, you can’t forgive him for leaving socks all over the house. That’s to be expected.

However, you should learn to be candid about the things you don’t like. Communicate your concerns with love. Avoid being judgmental. If you have to correct your partner, do it with love.


In marriage, people hardly realize or know it when they make the mistakes we have discussed above.

Now you have no excuse. We have shown you the common mistakes that ruin marriages, and you should do something about it.

If possible, discuss it with your spouse so that you are reading the same page. If you diligently avoid them, your marriage will be healthier and more fulfilling.

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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