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1.    Over-commitment and physical exhaustion: In a society that is infatuated with accolades and achievements, competition has never be...

1.    Over-commitment and physical exhaustion: In a society that is infatuated with accolades and achievements, competition has never been fiercer in the work environment. Today both men and women find themselves working incredible hours as they look to keep the family’s balance sheets in a healthy state. Most couples do this at the expense for their children and quality time together. Soon, they begin to grow apart and before they know it, they wonder if they still need their partner. In some cases, some people begin to take interests in the people they work with; people they spend the most time with at the expense of their spouse/family.

2.    Excessive credit and money troubles: In the age of credit cards, more families are finding themselves in huge debts. Living above your means is likely to run you into money troubles that will only end up putting a wedge between you and your mate. Spend within your earning. Avoid debt as much as possible!

3.    Selfishness: If you are married to a taker and you happen to be a giver, it is only a matter of time before you begin to wonder what you are getting out of your marriage. Couples should take time to do thoughtful things for each other. Let your wife or husband know if they are in the habit of being thoughtless towards you. It conveys the message that you are worthless and no one appreciates that. Some people do not realize how selfish they come across until someone points it out to them. You can’t do it all in your marriage. Let them know. If you are more on the taking end of the spectrum, you need to realize that there is a limit to how much your spouse can give. Her bank account will soon run into the red. Take time to replenish his/her account. 

4.    Unhealthy relationships with in-laws: In-laws can be either great or your worst nightmare. You and your mate need to determine which of the two scenarios your respective families are to your mate. Draw some lines to help protect your relationship at home if necessary. 

5.    Unrealistic expectations: Some people go into marriage with the idea that marriage is a movie or a romantic novel – they see rose-covered cottages, endless happiness and bliss. Marriage is a union between two imperfect people so to expect perfection in marriage is a heavily flawed expectation that is bound to set you up for failure. Have a healthy expectation of your mate. Accept the fact that he/she will drop the ball every now and again, and try to accommodate their human nature. Irrespective of how great you two are, there will be challenges on different fronts. Don’t throw in the towel at the first sight of difficulty and quit on marriage. Marriage is not a romantic illusion. It is real life, and life is by no means easy; so marriage should not be. 

6.    Clinginess: Love must be free and confident! Do not suffocate your mate with love and demands for your own concept of love. Extreme emotional dependence on your mate chokes them. It takes the fun out of your marriage and instead of looking forward to being with you, they dread being around you. Enjoy being in your own skin and allow your mate to be themselves. Consistent nagging and demand for your brand of love, which often reflects extreme neediness strangle your marriage one day at a time. Desist from extreme emotional dependence on your mate. 

7.    Sexual frustration: The grass is always greener on the other side, although most people forget that it takes a lot of manure and water to make it lush green. Further, what often appears green may be a mirage. Make time to work through your sexual needs with your mate rather than seek out a ‘sidekick’ in an effort to meet your needs outside your marriage. 

8.    Business issues: Colossal collapse of a business can put an immense financial strain on marriage. Some people have walked out on their mates after their living standards dropped drastically following the ‘demise’ of a once flourishing business. On the flip side of that gigantic success in business can reveal the demons in people. Often, men begin to keep a hoard of mistresses as soon as they begin to roll in money. It is important to keep in mind where you started and who you are. Both husband and wife should keep their relationship first by making time to work through their failures and successes without being swept away from their vows by the winds of change. 

9.    Getting married too young: A maddening rush into marriage at a young age often leads to crash in marriage. The maturity and wisdom that marriage requires are lacking in younger folks. Young people should resist the urge to head down the aisle at the behest of impulse and emotions that almost always disappear when the turbulences of life reveal themselves. Maturity and wisdom come with age. Don’t try to beat the natural progression of life. 

10.    Alcohol and substance abuse: Substances that are capable of intoxication such as alcohol have the capacity to take hold of your mind. When we dwell in them or they dwell in us too often, they come between us and our mates. Alcohol often leads to men beating their wives and so do most drugs. They also diminish our ability to function efficiently, thereby affecting us negatively at work. Most substance dependents lose their jobs with dire consequences at home. The best way to beat substance dependence is to avoid experimenting with them at all. Counseling comes in handy where one finds themselves hooked to a substance. 

11.    Pornography: Research has shown consistently that pornography destroys marriage. Today the internet offers a deluge of pornography, thereby bringing it well within the reach of just about everyone. Pornography creates a virtual world that slowly but surely supplants natural sexual appetite and in so doing, destroys the viewer’s desire for their mate. Like drugs and alcohol, pornography is heavily addictive leaving the viewer in constant need for new and uncharted worlds, which only take him further away from his mate. Couples should make frantic, consistent efforts to desist from the trappings of pornography by all means. 

Adapted from Complete marriage and family: home reference guide by Dr. James Dobson and critically analyzed by Victor Chinoo.

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