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Keep secrets and tell lies (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

If safety is the foundation of a healthy relationship, trust is the bedrock of that foundation. Marriage relationships can survive many storms and weather some neglect. Long term lack of trust though, weakens its very foundation, destroys the institution and leaves a mere shell of a relationship.

A VERY effective way to begin the slow weakening of your marriage is to keep secrets from your spouse and lie to them about small as well as important things. The longer you continue to abuse the trust that your spouse has likely placed in you, the more difficult it will be to repair the damage that you have done when you are found out – and you will be found out for sure eventually.

Here are five ways that secrets and lies lead you down the slippery slope of marriage destruction:

1) When you continue to lie and keep secrets, you will ensure that your spouse will develop a nagging feeling that something is not quite right. They will have a lingering feeling that you do not truly love...

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Refuse professional help when you need it (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

If you could have solved certain issues in your relationship, you would have done it by now. If your spouse is requesting (begging) for you or the two of you to seek professional help, it is likely because the both of you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship pattern which you have been unable to move beyond. Or you have gone through something that is tearing your relationship apart.

In order to destroy your relationship, Pat Love suggests that you say a version of the following to your spouse when they request you to accompany them to therapy:

"I know more about me than any therapist"
"Those guys are crazier than their patients"
"I don't need some jerk poking around in my private life"
"It's pouring money down the drain"
"You're the one who needs a shrink"
"I just don't believe in it"

Saying things like the above will ensure that your spouse feels not only frustrated and helpless but also loses hope in the future of your relationship together.

If you want to turn your relationship...

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Be abusive (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

We have been talking about "How (not) to ruin a perfectly good relationship" this past month. We have covered lots of ground about what builds and destroys relationships.

It is now time to talk about some more serious things that destroy a relationship. These are "the biggies" - the behaviours that you really should stay away from if you want to keep your relationship healthy. They are also those that are harder to recover from without intervention and support.

Please note that the posts this week are of a sensitive nature. Some may be difficult to read, especially if you or someone you know is going through this stuff. And yet, these are very things that we really do need to talk about if we want to strengthen our relationships and transform relationships within our community. I encourage you to read them even if you think that they do not apply to you. Please feel free to share (discretely) with anyone who might benefit.

So today's edition of How to ruin a perfectly good...

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Make the bed a battle ground (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Physical intimacy is what differentiates the marriage bond from other close relationships. So a very effective way to destroy your relationship is to use this special and sacred bond as a weapon of war with your spouse.

There are SO many ways to do this. Here are the top 6:

· Don't prioritize it – use kids, work, your to-do list, stress or any number of other excuses not to enjoy intimacy with your spouse.
· Withhold it as a punishment for other issues in your relationship. Hold onto unresolved grievance from the past as the reason. Insist that 'other issues need to be sorted out before we can be intimate'.
· If you are the partner with the lower desire, insist on controlling the frequency of your interaction. Give your spouse the cold shoulder when they make advances. Pretend to fall asleep or to have a headache. Fall for the modern myth about 'not doing it unless you really want to'. Make your spouse wrong for their desire. Say things like: "that's all you...

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Phub your partner (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Here is a modern way to destroy your relationship: keep "phubbing" your partner: snub your partner by showing them that your smart phone is wayyy more important to you than they are. Be distracted by your cellphone while in the company of your spouse and refuse to change your behaviour when they protest.

According to two recent studies, phubbing is a really effective way to create conflict in the relationship, to lower relationship satisfaction, to lower life satisfaction and to create depression in your spouse.

Here are some ways to perfect the art of phubbing:

· Check your phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night – before and after you greet your spouse.
· Always bring your phone to the dinner table and during meals with your spouse, make sure to pull out and check your cell phone.
· Places your cell phone where you can see it when you are together. Keep glancing at it expectantly as if you save you from an intimate moment with your...

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Be a psycho-pest (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

In this day and age, we get relationship advice from many places: friends, family, Google, books, lectures, workshops and therapists. Many of us become familiar with psychological concepts and are very adept at using psychological jargon.

If we are using this information for our own growth and development, with the intention of improving our relationships, it can be a very good thing.

Very often, however, once we read a book or learn a concept, we become REALLY good at identifying how are significant others are falling short and could do with a psychological tune up. We even begin diagnosing our loved with various psychological issues based on our newly acquired expertise.

We gently and not-so-gently remind them how they are not great at communication or are not practicing effective relationship skills. If we are in therapy, we might remind our spouse that they are not following the therapist's recommendations.

This is a fun and easy way to ruin a perfectly good relationship as our...

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Look down on your spouse (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

A really effective way to destroy a relationship is to think that you are better than your spouse. You get bonus points for conveying it to them through words and body language.

This kind of looking down or contempt in relationships has been found to be the number one predictor of divorce by Dr. John Gottman in his many decades of relationship research.

How can you show contempt for your spouse? There are so many ways, verbal and non-verbal to be truly mean and show disrespect and contempt for others:

Mocking
Using sarcasm
Name calling
Hostile humour
Mimicking
Sneering, eye-rolling,
Making light or belittling what matters to them
Invalidating their thoughts and feelings

Saying things like: who does that? Everyone knows that not the way it is done. What's wrong with you? Etc. etc. etc.

In whatever form, contempt is very destructive to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It's virtually impossible to resolve a problem or feel loving towards the other when your partner is getting the...

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Refuse to discuss issues (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Another easy way to destroy a relationship is to shutdown or stonewall your spouse when they are trying to discuss an issue which is of importance to them.

Stonewalling can look slightly different in different people: being unresponsive, walking away, tuning out, ignoring, turning away, turning to technology, acting busy or saying "I will not talk about this".

When your spouse is making an effort to address a problem, whether attempting to talk about something that is upsetting them, explaining their feelings about an ongoing area of conflict, or trying to reach a resolution or a compromise, and you are pretending that they aren't there, they are likely to reach a level of upset or anger so high that unless this issue is addressed, it is almost guaranteed to destroy your relationship. Here is some research on the impact of stonewalling on relationships.

A word of compassion for you if you are the stonewaller: you are likely engaging in this behavior because you are going through an...

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Be defensive (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

An easy way to ruin a perfectly good relationship is to NEVER EVER accept responsibility for anything. If your spouse makes a complaint, counter that with a counter attack or criticise them for bringing up the issue.

When we do this, it pretty much guarantees that our significant other will stop bringing up issues that bother them. The issues will fester and grow and impact other areas of our relationship.

For some of us, our defensiveness is truly unconscious. We immediately and impulsively refute or rebut whenever our spouses bring up actions and behaviours that are causing a problem in the relationship.

If we do not want to ruin our relationships, however, we do need to pause when we feel the urge to be defensive. Pausing allows us to reflect on what our spouse is truly saying and asking of us. What part of it can we take responsibility for? What can we acknowledge and commit to changing?

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Be critical (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Complaining is great for relationships but criticism is very destructive.

What's the difference?

When you are complaining, you are focused on an issue which is bothering you and you are giving your spouse information on what bothers you, why it bothers you and how to make it better.

This is what a complaint sounds like:
"When you leave your socks on the floor after you change your clothes, it frustrates me since I like to have the floor free of clutter. Please put them in the laundry basket instead."

A complaint involves taking ownership of the way the issue makes you feel and it invites the other to support you through a clear request of change in behaviour.

Criticism on the other hand, involves attacking the other person's character or personality. It does not give information for change and causes defensiveness in the other person.

"You always leave your socks on the floor. How selfish can you be? You don't care that I spent so much time clearing up. Why can't you pick up after...

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