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As any married couple can attest, keeping a marriage healthy and happy takes a lot of work. Typically, when it comes to doing the little things that help keep a relationship strong, we men have a tendency to make a number of common mistakes. Of course recognizing these mistakes and taking the time to correct them can not only help to improve your marriage, but also improve your health and that of your spouse.

However, when left unaddressed, negative feelings can develop between a couple that can negatively impact a person’s physical and psychological health. When stress develops in a relationship, it can lead to anxiety or depression in one or both partners. With that in mind, here are a few mistakes men commonly make in a marriage, how we can recognize them, and, most importantly, how to fix them.

Failing to Show Empathy

According to relationship experts, empathy is by far the most important part of any healthy relationship. When it comes to the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings, women tend to be better at it than men. This can create tension in a relationship when a woman begins to feel that her emotions aren’t being understood or validated by her spouse. Men have a tendency to rationalize behavior and try to understand a way of fixing a problem. But when your wife explains how she feels ignored or taken for granted at work, she wants to know her spouse understands her feelings rather than talking about the facts of the situation and listening to how you think she can fix the problem.

Spending Money Recklessly

How a couple decides to manage their finances is entirely a private matter. However, men do have a tendency to view themselves in a leadership role when it comes to a marriage. This belief often entitles men to make large purchases without first consulting with their wife. So while going out and buying that new car or boat might not seem like a big deal, your wife might not view being kept out of a the loop on such a major financial decision that same way. Finances ranks second behind only infidelity as the most common reason couples get divorced.

Incorrect Listening

You’re probably saying to yourself that there is only one way to listen, but that’s not necessarily true. There’s a difference between listening and actively engaging in a conversation with your spouse, and listening while formulating a list of suggestions you think will help solve your wife’s problem.  Much as it is with showing empathy, your wife isn’t discussing her problems so you can offer up a suggestion on how she can patch things up with her sister or get a little more respect around the office. She wants to talk through the issue and know that you’re listening to what she has to say, not just waiting for your turn to speak.

Hidden Feelings

The classic male stereotype states that we men are thuggish brutes that believe showing emotion is a sign of weakness. While the truth may be that men aren’t always stoic robots who were not programmed to feel, many men do have problems opening up to their spouse. Not sharing your feelings can be very troubling to your wife, and she can begin to feel as if the two of you don’t share a meaningful connection. Many men may feel that if they open up to complain to their partner, it’ll be interpreted that they are not happy, and that the relationship is in trouble. Studies have actually shown, however, that women appreciate when a man opens up, even if it’s to voice his displeasure over something, because it demonstrates that he is emotionally committed to the relationship. So speak up and tell her how you feel.

Power Trip

Just because you’re the man in a relationship doesn’t mean that you’re in charge of the relationship. Trying to assert your dominance over your spouse by making demands or trying to overpower her will only cause your wife to pull away from you emotionally. The healthiest relationships are the one built on reciprocal support, caring, and trust. Keep in mind that your marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Jeromy Dixson, a dentist in Longview, WA.


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