Married or planning to marry? Want to make that marriage as unhappy, bitter and painful as possible? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven easy steps to having a lousy marriage.
1. Make your marriage all about you. This is Lousy Marriage 101. Don’t consider your spouse. Make it all about you, you, you. Forget their interests, needs or love language. Better to not think of them at all. Keep the focus of the marriage all about what you want, what you like and what you need. Is that so hard?
2. Keep a list of all mistakes your spouse makes. Hold grudges as long as possible. Forgiveness is not an option if you want maximum marriage ugliness. Let bitterness build. Bonus points for bringing up their past mistakes whenever they unwisely point out your own shortcomings. Make a list; check it twice.
3. Assume the worst in your spouse. While it is important for you to give yourself the benefit of every doubt, never do that for your spouse. Assume the worst about their motivations. They did something kind? It was probably only to make you look bad. They did something for you? Be sure to respond with a loud, “It’s about time!”
4. Never apologize. Saying you are sorry might lead to a softening of hearts and you can’t risk that if you want a bad marriage. Don’t acknowledge that you might have been wrong. Best to make them apologize (but don’t forgive, see step two) while never admitting you made a mistake. Apologizing will make you seem weak and maybe even that you care. Remember how lucky your spouse is to have someone as perfect as you.
5. Do not say “Thank you”. Many broken relationships have found healing in these simple words. Do not make the mistake of recognizing the work, effort and care of your spouse. Do expect them to thank you repeatedly for every single thing you have ever done, but don’t reciprocate. Love means never having to say you’re sorry– or something like that.
6. Sulk but don’t talk, or talk, but don’t listen. Either of these can work to keep your marriage in permanent pain. These are wonderful strategies for feeding dysfunction and animosity. Choose whichever strategy best fits your personality. Whatever you do, don’t have honest, open and loving communication. How can bitterness build in an environment like that?
7. Don’t pray together. This one matters most. Prayer might make you begin to think about God’s will and not yours. It might keep you from self centeredness and unforgiveness. If you want a terrible marriage, don’t bring the Lord into it. He might want you to change something. He might want you to show compassion. The Lord might want you to love like he loves. Remember, bad marriages can’t risk unconditional love!
Now, on the off-hand that your goal is a good marriage instead of a bad one, you might have to reconsider these steps. Perhaps you will need to reexamine how you think, act and love. You might want to start by seeking the Lord’s help in changing your own heart before you do anything else.
But, if you want a marriage that brings pain and suffering (And who doesn’t?), then, by all means, follow these simple steps.