9 Ways to Ruin Your Marriage

9 Ways to Ruin Your Marriage

Everybody wants to know the secrets to a happy marriage, but it can be just as important to know what leads to marital conflict. By understanding what you’re doing to mess things up and how your brain is involved, you’ll know how to turn it around to make marital magic.

Here are 9 Ways Spouses Can Sabotage Their Marriage

1. Saying everything that pops into your head

Anyone who is married knows that it’s best to keep some thoughts to yourself. When activity in your brain’s frontal lobes is low, however, it lessens impulse control and makes you more likely to blurt out things that are hurtful to the one you love.

2. Not getting enough zzzz’s

When you skimp on sleep or suffer from chronic insomnia, your brain can’t function optimally, and it can affect your mood, memory, and decision-making. If you’re in a rotten mood, don’t remember your anniversary, and decide to go out drinking with friends instead of being there for your spouse’s birthday, it’s going to lead to big problems.

3. Holding on to past hurts

When you can’t forgive or get beyond problems from the past, it can be a sign of an overactive anterior cingulate gyrus, an area that acts as the brain’s gear shifter. When your ACG gets stuck, you tend to get stuck on old hurts. In addition, if you don’t take responsibility for your own part in those past problems and you blame your spouse for what went wrong, you’re headed for bigger trouble.

4. Not focusing on what you want

What is your ultimate goal in your marriage? Is it to prove that you’re right all the time? Or is it to have the best relationship possible? If you don’t know what your overarching goal is, you won’t be able to focus on the behaviors that help you achieve it. And you’ll be more likely to engage in behaviors that sabotage it.

5. Playing “let’s have a problem”

Being conflict-driven and creating problems to add some “excitement” to your marriage isn’t helpful. People with ADD/ADHD tend to have a need to stir things up as a way to activate areas of the brain that are low in activity. There are better ways to activate the brain.

6. Hanging with the wrong crowd

If you surround yourself with people who constantly complain about what’s wrong with their marriage, guess what? You’ll probably start complaining too. When you focus on the negative, you train neural networks to look for what’s wrong, rather than noticing what’s right.

7. Having an extramarital affair…with your phone!

Staring at your phone so you can scroll through your social media feed while you’re having lunch with your spouse is a relationship killer. The inability to resist the lure of your phone can also be a sign of attention problems or even vulnerability to addiction issues.

8. Being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or anything else

If you’re drinking too much, doing drugs, or obsessed with pornography, it means you probably aren’t paying attention to your partner and aren’t really present in your marriage. Unhealthy obsessions and addictions damage the brain, increasing the chances of other bad decisions and destructive behaviors.

9. Ignoring mental health/brain health issues

Mental health issues—such as depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and PTSD—are really brain health issues. They are all rooted in brain function and when left undiagnosed, untreated, or mistreated, they can destroy a marriage. For example, when you’re depressed, you can’t think of anybody but yourself, and that can create a disconnect between the two of you. When one spouse doesn’t understand that their partner has a brain health issue, they can take bad behavior personally and feel like their partner doesn’t love them, is being mean on purpose, or is quite simply a jerk. Getting help increases understanding so the healing can begin.

Find out more ways your brain can ruin your relationship and the simple strategies to reverse brain health issues and strengthen your marriage on the 4-part series on How to Ruin Your Marriage on the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast.

At Amen Clinics, we have helped thousands of couples overcome marital conflict and mental health/brain health issues so you can mend relationships and heal past hurts. If you and your significant other need help, call 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.


  1. Is there a clinic in NC , if so , where ?

    Comment by Stephanie — July 22, 2019 @ 6:12 AM

  2. I suffer from PTSD, and other mental issues. I take my medicine on a regular basis, I have a great support team. But I’m finding out that I’m experiencing major rage/ anger issues. What can I do for them??

    Comment by Shara — July 22, 2019 @ 7:09 AM

  3. While many of the points have merit , number 3 is too general and severely Flawed .
    Hurts can be remedied IF issues were acknowledged and some form of sincere apology made .
    However . . . People who are rude , abusive , lie or use others & just brush off the issues cause things to fester .
    Unless a person Acknowledges a bad behavior & indicates a willingness to Change ,
    They can Not be trusted going forward .
    If they Never sincerely acknowledge things ,
    it is Reasonable to be wary about them Repeating the same bad behaviors in the future .

    Comment by Mary — July 22, 2019 @ 10:09 AM

  4. So all these things can ruin a marriage,

    what happens if your husband is just an a******

    Comment by Joy — August 10, 2019 @ 8:13 AM

  5. And that is what I am in currently. My wife is totally narcissistic and will never be able to make a honest introspective look in the mirror.
    I agree that some people aren’t able to honestly apologize and change. They continue in the same behavior patterns for life never realizing the damage they are always repeating.
    Not able to forgive and communicate in a healthy relationship is not in the DNA of these personalities…..

    Comment by Kenneth — December 18, 2019 @ 2:01 PM

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