Marriage counselors are privy to a host of different secrets as they help couples work their way through the trials and tribulations of married life. They've seen a lot and they also know a thing or two about what makes relationships truly successful. Redditor Zorra got the ball rolling when they asked: "Marriage counselors, what are the most common mistakes couples make?"
"Expecting one person..."
Expecting one person to be everything for them. You need friends, coworkers, a support system, and hobbies.
Keeping secrets or lies.
Failure to communicate effectively - this can be taught.
Keeping score. A partnership is a team, not a competition. Whether a person keeps score of everything they have done, or everything their partner has done, it is a death knell for the relationship. This is one of the most common causes of resentment in a relationship, and you see it often when people use absolute terms to describe themselves or their partners (I.e: I always..., she never...). Remembering that each person has his/her own needs, abilities, skills, and boundaries is essential to a healthy couple.
Expecting that because your significant other knows you better than others and is around you most, that they are aware of all of your thoughts and feelings. Your partner is not psychic, and no matter how often they are around you or how well they know you, they cannot pick up on every nuance to determine how you are feeling and how they should respond. That is called emotional babysitting, and it cascades into a host of problems and unnecessary hurt.
"This is what I spend the most time..."
Not listening, most people listen to respond and don't listen to hear. This is what I spend the most time teaching couples how to do!
Blaming their partner for all issues in the relationship and not taking ownership of their own role in dysfunction/issues.
Not giving intimacy in their relationship enough attention. This includes but is not limited to sex. Many relationships start with the "hot and heavy" phase where intimacy can come naturally. As this phase diminishes many couples do not spend the time and energy to consider how to maintain a healthy level of intimacy now that it doesn't just come naturally.
"If you're marrying..."
Talk. About. Money.
Talk. About. Sex.
If you're marrying someone with a shitty credit score, you should know how and why they ended up with it, lest you find yourself in their shoes very quickly. A credit score can cost thousands and take Y E A R S to rebuild. Know if they have any tax liens or liability.
Are they paying child support and do they have any kind of garnishment? Who is going to be responsible for managing the finances? How many credit cards does the other person have and what are their balances? I've seen money kill a lot of marriages.
Another one a lot of people don't think of is actually talking about sex, not just having it. Do you enjoy the sex you have? Would you like to have more of it? Less? Would you like to see it change? Do you or the other person have any weird kinks? Just have the talk. Different sexual wavelengths can be difficult to reconcile.
"As soon as couples..."
As soon as couples stop being on the same team, fighting all the bullsh*t of life together, things fall apart. Get on the same team. Get behind each other's goals. If you're not on the same team, you're just going to wind up annoying the fuck out of each other. All that bullsh*t of life is going to be beating you down and your life partner is just going to be part of it instead of a refuge.
"When your significant other..."
When your significant other brings something to your attention, that they need/want, don't react harshly if it's something they've refused to bring up sooner. Getting loud or defensive "Why didn't you bring this up sooner!" will make them shy away from bringing things up again due to negative reinforcement/backlash.
This is especially true if they've been victims of any kind of abusive relationships.
Getting married because they wanted a wedding, not because they wanted to be married.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.