4 Habits That Sabotage Your Relationship

Do you blame your husband when things go wrong? It might be time to rethink your actions.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Do you blame your husband when things go wrong? It might be time to rethink your actions.
My Reading Room

Every marriage has its problems now and then. and it is important to look at your own behaviour first when the going gets tough, instead of putting the blame on your significant other. Here, family counsellors reveal some common habits that may be damaging your relationship and how you can break them.


You admired his ambition when you first met, but now you’re always telling him not to work so hard and be at home for the children. Or maybe you adored him for being super sociable, but now you want him to stay in more.

Try This: “Be aware that you’ve been bottling up this dissatisfaction for a while and your outburst may be aggressive and land on deaf ears or draw an equally aggressive rebuttal like ‘you married me for what I am, so like it or not you have to live with it!’,” says ang Thiam Hong, a family coach at private clinic Edora.

“Be prepared to expect an aggressive rebuttal from him, but go along the lines of, ‘times change, circumstances change and therefore our needs and expectations change’. Tell him your needs have changed now that you’re older and a mother and a career woman, and will need support from him.

Express how you are feeling in a sensible manner and seek his cooperation to support you by listening to you or helping out with the kids. Let him realise that the marriage has progressed and adjustments are necessary for the changing circumstances.”


You feel pretty secure of your relationship so you are in cruise mode. you don’t really make an effort to sit down and talk when he gets home from work – in fact you’re too busy checking your Facebook or watching TV. It sometimes feel like you’re both just flatmates. “I see couples complaining that their marriage is boring, predictable, routine, lacks sparks and meaning,” says Thiam Hong.

Try This:  “Talking about this can help both of you face the issue and sometimes consciously or unconsciously motivate one or both to act. If you think you are taking him for granted, have the conversation because communication itself shows that you care about him.

Surprise him and occasionally cook for him, ask him about his work, share something in depth with him (career plans, parenting, health, personal or family goals), and pamper him a bit,” advises Thiam Hong.


You might think that the key to a happy relationship is to iron out every issue. But it isn’t. “although speaking up is helpful, it is equally true that you don’t have to say everything that’s on your mind,” says Thiam Hong.

Try This:  “Not every problem can or needs to be resolved. Discretion can sometimes be more valued over valour. The idea is to weigh your consequences first. However, talking things out can motivate some corrective actions and enhance communication intimacy.

Plus, it shows your spouse that you care for the marriage and feel responsible for the direction you’re both going. Try specifying what you’d like to see different, and highlight possible consequences if things remain the same,” says Thiam Hong.


Whenever you have an argument, you bring up something hurtful he did in the past. “I hear this a lot from husbands, and sometimes wives,” shares Thiam Hong. “When things are dredged up from the past, it gets the other party irritated, angry and defensive, and the tension just escalates to, as you know it, nowhere!”

Try This:  “again, be aware of your tendency to bring up past incidents, and understand that your husband simply won’t like that – especially when the matter’s resolved and he wants to move forward.

During such situations, your husband will likely get angry and worsen the already argumentative mood. and usually, nothing good comes out of a heated confrontation,” asserts Thiam Hong.

My Reading Room
4 Healthy Love Habits

Maintaining a good relationship takes work. Here are four healthy practices to keep the flame alive.

1 Kiss each other every day

A us study shows that couples who kiss frequently argued less, felt more connected and were happier and healthier than those who didn’t. “just a five-second smooch is enough to keep the happy hormones flowing.

During a kiss, our bodies produce dopamine, which is responsible for a rush of elation and craving and can also result in obsessive thoughts that we experience with a new romance,” says fiona herbert, a psychotherapist and counsellor at alliance professional counselling llp.

2 Mind your language

Unfortunately as time goes by, it becomes all too easy to forget your manners and use critical and judgmental words such as “never” and “always”, which only serve to widen the gap between the couple and lead to a vicious cycle of criticism and defensiveness.

“Introduce a sensitive topic at a time when both parties are calm, and label the behaviour with constructive examples and then explain how it impacts you, without name calling or derogatory comments,” advises fiona.

3 Remember why you fell in love

A recent us study found that couples who share laughs and actively reminisce about the good times they’d shared tend to stay together longer and are more satisfied with their relationship.

“Positive memories help to connect a couple emotionally and reinforce differing aspects of each partners’ personality,” says fiona, who explains that remembering the various sides to your partner can also ease tension in times of conflict.

4 Try new things together

“Do things together that are fun and rewarding, such as taking up new hobbies like cycling or dancing.

This helps the couple strip back their various roles as mother or father or employee, and just be a date for the period. It also allows each spouse to see each other in a different light and share a communal experience,” says fiona.