Dad Under Fire is learning the hard way how easy it is to lose a marriage. He wants you to learn from his mistakes.
I woke up one day and looked around the house. The four bedroom home that was once filled with kids noises and my wife’s banter was now so quiet it was eerie. I looked at myself in the mirror and questioned how it all came to be. How did we get ourselves in this situation and what could we have done differently? I realized it came down to five things.
It’s that easy to lose your marriage. See for yourself how it’s done and maybe learn a lesson from our mistakes.
Don’t give your spouse gifts. Give money instead.
When it’s time to find that birthday/anniversary/holiday gift, there’s no need to waste time thinking about your significant other’s interests or hobbies. Nobody is perfect, so don’t try to find the perfect gift. Give money instead, without a card because that’s an extra $4.50 you can add to the gift. Just say they are better suited at finding that perfect gift than you are.
Express route: Don’t even hand it personally. Just suggest the shared account or credit card.
Don’t celebrate your spouse as an important individual in your life.
Be sure that when you and your better half are out around other people, you treat him/her like anyone else. Don’t give any extra attention. In fact even when it’s just the two of you, try not to treat him/her special in any way. If you’re not going to hold the door open for your buddy, you certainly shouldn’t be doing it for your spouse.
Express route: Don’t treat your spouse as an equal. Your marriage will reach its demise all the faster.
Sure, you could just upgrade your Queen mattress to a King but let’s be honest—you can still feel them right next to you. No one wants that nonsense keeping them awake at night.
Start off slowly. Don’t go to bed at the same time. Find an excuse to stay up later, maybe to catch the news or watch the end of some sport. Slowly, your spouse will learn to sleep without you. Better yet “accidentally” fall asleep on the couch once or twice or nine times. Make your way to the guest bedroom one night and use the excuse that you didn’t want to disturb him/her with your snoring. Before you know it, you won’t even be missed.
Express route: Suggest to your kids they should go sleep in your bed and then tell your spouse there’s no room for you in the same bed. This is totally legit.
Get yourself a smartphone.
This is by far the most popular. If you find yourself stuck in endless conversations about how your day was or what you should do for the upcoming weekend, get yourself a smartphone. There are many suitable options, but get one that has a good battery life. This device can act like a “cone of silence” to all of those around you. You can browse the internet, start a Twitter account, familiarize yourself with Pinterest, or catch up with your friends on Facebook—not to mention all the fun there is to be had on Instagram. Any time you feel trapped, you can pull it out, swipe the screen, and away you go. It’s like a whole new world. Don’t worry about those around you, they won’t mind at all.
Express route: Put a password on that device ASAP. Whether you are hiding something or not, there’s no need to appear like an open book. Secrets are awesome.
Quit Showing Appreciation.
This is best saved for last. Get your game face on and make sure you let your spouse know that you really don’t care anymore. Stop giving compliments and enough with the warm fuzzies already. You need to appear as if you have given up on life without actually giving up on life. Do they cook dinner all the time? Don’t thank them or exclaim how delicious it was. Do they keep a tidy home and generally succeed at keeping everyone happy? No hugs or pats on the back. Showing you care is sign of weakness. Stay strong.
Express Route: Complain about all the good things your spouse does. Find a way to turn a positive into a negative.
If you DO enjoy the person you’re with, and you ARE happy with your spouse, well then, let this be your guide for what not to do. Learn a lesson from us. If you enjoy being in a loving, caring, and balanced relationship with the person who shares your thoughts, interests, fears or dreams, then show them. Every day. In ways large and small, show them what they mean to you. Hold hands. Share your emotions. Listen to and enjoy one another. Life is more fun when you grow with someone alongside you.
I’m not an expert, but I am a casualty of a failed marriage. Take it from me. It’s easy to lose a marriage. Harder to keep one.
Photo: banjo d/Flickr