Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Ten Surefire Ways To Louse Up A Perfect Marriage

January 6, 1997

What’s that you say - not enough trouble in your life? Are you looking for big time marital problems? You’ve come to the right place. Here are ten tried and true ways, tested by many couples, for creating exquisite pain and unhappiness.

  • Be selfish. Put your own wants, needs, ideas, work and agenda consistently ahead of your spouse’s. Expect love but don’t give it. Toss out a few crumbs once in a while when the pressure is on but quickly revert back to being Master or Mistress of the Universe.

Make all major decisions alone. Stall. Flat our refuse to cooperate. Refuse even to discuss it. Keep everything on your terms.

You can get away with being a jerk for years, and by the time your spouse finally decides to pull the plug, he or she will have concluded that you aren’t capable of anything else. Now all your kind, loving, sensitive acts will be taken as pure manipulation. Don’t expect him or her to believe your desperate attempts to change.

  • Be stubborn. Right is right, by darn. You don’t have to compromise. Never. Protect your ego at all costs. Don’t back down. It’s hard being perfect in an imperfect world. Shift the blame if you need to. When in doubt, attack.

Don’t respond to criticism. Refuse to change. So what if you have an uncontrolled problem with alcohol, swearing, temper, spending or some other self-destructive and obnoxious habit. There is no truth you can learn about yourself, least of all from someone who is supposed to take you "as is."

  • Shut her out. (For men only.) Women have a big hang up with communications and feelings. That is their problem. Clam up. Keep your problems to yourself. Go it alone. Being a good provider is enough. You don’t have to listen to her. Come home tired. Read the paper. Watch TV. Go to bed early. Avoid anything personal.
  • Don’t solve problems. Don’t learn how to listen. Interrupt. Bring up the past. Save something juicy for a tough spot. Change the subject. Blow up. Easily. Stomp out of the room. Refuse to talk about a problem. Criticize your partner’s ideas. Argue and argue without trying to understand your partner’s point of view.
  • Bear a grudge. (For women especially.) Never forget an injustice. Cite chapter and verse of every detail of five or six horrid examples of brutish behavior. The past is important. He was, is, and will always be indisputably guilty of extraordinary insensitivity. Imply that nothing has changed. If anything appears remotely connected, trot out your proofs.
  • Act like nothing happened. (Men pay attention.) Never say you’re sorry. Act as though anything you did longer than five minutes ago is ancient history and not worthy of comment. You don’t have to explain anything. Imply that any mention of anything you may have done in the past is grossly unfair. You don’t have to listen to that crap.
  • Take him or her for granted. There is no need to be considerate or appreciative. Withhold your expressions of love. Never say a kind word. Tear down when necessary. Don’t respond to requests. Let your relationship dry up out of a lack of attention. Don’t go out of your way. Settle into a routine. Bridle at the mention of romance. Let time take its toll.
  • - Be angry and abusive. (Partner A) Try to solve your problem immediately, no matter how angry you are. Take it as an insult if your partner tries to cool off or discontinues the argument. Vent your feelings. Don’t worry about what you say in anger.

(Partner B) Walk off at the first sign of trouble. Nurse a grudge. Give the silent treatment. Wear down your partner by refusing to deal with him or her in his or her angry state. Make them feel like jerks for bring up problems. If you’re lucky, you can stay in control of the marriage.

If you want to speed up a disaster, get physical.

  • Assume your partner’s needs for affection are not legitimate. Your way is the right way. Your partner is either a sex maniac or cold cucumber.

(For men) Any touching or caressing can mean only one thing. The bedroom. Right away. Don’t pay attention to mood, loving behavior or nurturing the relationship. Take any rejection as a personal affront. Keep the pressure on.

(For women) Don’t go out of your way to please your partner. He doesn’t need it. Withhold favors. His tough male ego can handle it. No big deal.

(For both) Persistent problems with premature ejaculation, impotence and incomplete arousal can be solved on one’s own. Let time take its course. You’ll both get so frustrated, it will be a relief to get away from each other.

  • Don’t seek help. Don’t go for counseling. Let your pride get in the way. It is better to lose a marriage than face that brand of humiliation. Pointedly refuse to go until your partner is on the absolute verge of divorce and then go. At that time, complain to high heaven and everyone else who will listen that you are not being given a chance.

There you have it folks. Ten surefire ways to raise hackles in your marriage. It is amazing how many folks stumble into these principles without half trying. See you in counseling - if you make it that far.